The Bible is full of men and women who dreamed dreams and saw visions. But they didn't stop there. They had faith, they were people who saw the impossible, and yet their feet were planted on planet earth.
Vision, integrity, articulation, courage, and a thick skin—all are the basic requirements for leadership. Other requirements could be added; for the follower of Christ, godliness is essential. Whether in government, business, education, ministry, or the home, these six traits form the foundation of successful Christian leadership. These qualities do not come through osmosis but through disciplined study and practice, often marked by failure. However, the greatest leaders are not deterred by hardship and failure. Theirs is a high calling with deep responsibility.
If you are in a position of leadership—and chances are good that you are—you may need to sharpen your vision for the future, strengthen your integrity, and find new sources of courage. Insight for Living, by introducing you to godly leaders of the past, is committed to encouraging you in this pursuit, as well as challenging you to grow in godliness.
With the confidence and deliberateness of a veteran returning to the heat of battle, the seasoned warrior tightened the belt on his toga and took charge. He covered every base necessary for quality communication.
Nehemiah refused to let problems conquer him. Intensely desiring to please the Lord, Nehemiah took sin “by the throat” wherever he found it. But nowhere is his indomitable spirit more obvious than in his response to the four serious problems recorded in Nehemiah 13. From his example, we will draw several timely, applicable principles for our own realms of leadership.
Following the completion of their immense task, the Jews responded with joy—intense happiness. Instruments of music blended with the celebration scene as the triumphant tone of rejoicing was heard from afar (Nehemiah 12:43). In this uplifting message, we’ll attempt to recreate that happy scene in our minds and glean from it several practical lessons about joy and celebration of God’s mighty works.
In Nehemiah’s day, when the people of Jerusalem prayed, they meant business! They did not offer mere words—they signed their names to a sealed document (Nehemiah 9:38). The document contained an agreement that was prepared and established before God. In it they promised to pattern their lives according to His truth, to put first things first.
After God’s people had heard and obeyed His Word by observing the Feast of Tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:13-18), they met for a time of corporate prayer. The celebration brought them to an understanding of both the holiness of God and the depth of their sins, which led to an expression of deep sorrow and humility. The Israelites’ example provides guidelines for the discipline of prayer that are meaningful, logical, and relevant for us today.
In search of a solid foundation in the Law, they returned to Ezra, seeking insight—wisdom that could be built into their daily lives. They committed to clear away the rubble of wrong thinking and their old patterns of living, replacing them with obedience to the Lord and His Law. This biblical method for spiritual renovation is an excellent model for rebuilding our spiritual lives today.
Once the walls and gates were finally completed (Nehemiah 6:15), Nehemiah organized Jerusalem into a well-guarded, stable body of people (7:1-73). The beginnings of spiritual revival were taking place. And the potential for revival is always present in our own lives, if we just know where to look.
For months, Nehemiah led the project of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls in spite of constant opposition, both subtle and overt. As the walls neared completion (Nehemiah 6:1), threatening foes once again assailed this leader. But this time the attack was much more insidious than before—the enemy attempted to intimidate Nehemiah through several frightening plots.
Using Nehemiah’s own experience as the basis of our study, we learn how to pass the test of integrity that comes with a promotion.