When Nehemiah and his construction team were busy rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem they were faced with various challenges.

All of us have to face real challenging circumstances when we serve Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

When the walls were half way up the workers were confronted by criticism and sarcasm.

It did not become any easier when they came to see that the task was much bigger than they first realised – there was a lot of rubble lying around that needed to be dealt with if they were to move around more easily.

But some began to doubt their own ability – and that can have drawbacks.

This can cause a sense of frustration – fatigue – and even failure.

“The people said, ‘We now realize that we cannot finish this wall. We will never be able to finish it.” Nehemiah 4 verse 10 They are filled with self-doubt.

Why did I start this? Why did I make this move? Why did I make that decision? How did I become so involved in this scenario?

Have we not all asked these questions at sometime in our Christian life and at such an hour it is possible to lose our confidence!

How do we react and respond when it is more complicated than we thought – and taking longer than we thought? We may sit down and think it is impossible. We may even blame other people.

When at first you don’t succeed – you’re NORMAL!!

There can be times too when the opposition grows stronger. There is little opposition when you start, but if and when you make changes, the atmosphere around you may also change.

This causes fear and apprehension. – and can discourage anybody.

As Nehemiah and his team were working away doing what had to be done, those who were enemies criticised the builders. They ridiculed the builders and made fun of them, until they threatened the builders.

Nehemiah 4 verse 11 “Meanwhile our enemies are threatening to kill us in order to stop this work” Have you ever found that there are enemies seeking to stop you doing what you know is the Will of God for you, in Christ Jesus?

Nehemiah 4 verse 12 - “Then, those of us who lived closest to our enemies kept reporting over and over – ten times – that our enemies kept saying, “It doesn’t matter where you go, we’ll attack you!”

Who got discouraged first – those who were listening to their enemies!

They were listening to the world rather to the WORD.

If we keep being with negative people – and critical people – and those who always see the worst in what is going on – we could become easily discouraged.

What might cause us to fear and cause us to become discouraged as we serve the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ? Might it be criticism – embarrassment – afraid of taking that big step forward – afraid of bearing the pressure? These can give rise to an intense desire to RUN – and give up – when we are at some half way point – or finding the task too daunting.

“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in Jesus Christ.”

It was Derek Prince who wisely taught that if God begins the work then He assumes the responsibility of completing it – but if he did not begin that work then He has no responsibility. Over the years I have found this so very helpful.

What did Nehemiah do when the challenge became more challenging? Let me deal with that in the next article. For the moment, be encouraged in Christ and from the Scriptures – and never – never – give up.

“Loving Christ – gracious Jesus – protect us from our enemies – give us the strength and ability to resist the taunts and jeers, or worse, which may come our way. Merciful God, as we remember how You broke in on the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth and Mary and Joseph, so break in on our lives and encourage and inspire us – in Jesus Name, Father. Amen”