FoundationsForGrowing

The Work of My Wall: Part I

by Joanna Pierce on May 11, 2017

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work (Nehemiah 2:17–18, KJV).

Background

Nehemiah was one of the “good figs” carried away during the Babylon captivity. Even though he had lived away from his homeland for years, his Jewish history and culture were very much a part of him. He received word that Jerusalem had been destroyed and was gravely distressed. He sought the audience of the king and was given charge to return to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls.

What Walls Provided

Walls were very important during Biblical times. Walls set boundaries. Years ago, there wasn’t a good map system. Boundaries were typically unknown unless a wall was established to identify the perimeter of the city. In order for the city to define its limits, walls were constructed.

Walls provided identity. Typically, the larger the wall, the greater the city. We see evidence of this in Scripture when reading about the walls of Jericho. Jericho’s walls were known to be 32–41 feet high, about as tall as a 4-story building. The greatest boast to a city were its walls.

Walls provided protection. The larger, thicker, and more sturdy the walls, the better protection it provided for the inhabitants within the walls. Even when an army couldn’t protect a city, the walls provided the utmost protection for its residents.

Walls connected people together. It was significant to live inside the city walls as opposed to outside the city wall. Due to the boundaries provided, the walls ultimately created a sense of community for those living in close proximity to each other.

Spiritual Walls

Our spiritual wall is comprised of everything we do in relationship with God from now until He calls us home. We should have a genuine desire to build up the spiritual walls in our life. Many of us are in “spiritual maintenance mode” and just want to keep the status quo in our relationship with God. But, God wants us to stay strong in our walk with up and rise up and build—to strengthen our hands for this good work. We cannot get too focused on making our lives better on earth and not focus on our spiritual lives (Proverbs 25:28).

When Nehemiah showed up in Jerusalem, he had a heart that changed the mindset of the people. For a city that had walls broken down for years, upon Nehemiah’s arrival, the walls were rebuilt in 52 days. Nehemiah encouraged the people to change from a “I should” mentality in regards to rebuilding to a “I will” mentality. We need to decide today that we will build our spiritual walls!

Purpose of Spiritual Walls

Spiritual walls in our lives function the same way physical walls did during Bible times. Spiritual walls set boundaries for us, provide identity and protection, and connect us with God and the body of Christ.

In Scripture, Nehemiah assigned each family to build a portion of the wall by their home. In a sense this is what we do in our walk with God. We need to take ownership of the spiritual wall in front of us—something that directly impacts our identity and relationship with God. And, we need to consider how the integrity of our portion of the “wall” will impact others in God’s kingdom if it isn’t strong. Our lack of attentiveness to the spiritual wall in our live can provide entrance into the church by the enemy. We all have a responsibility to build fortified spiritual walls for ourselves but for God’s people as well.

9 Ways to Build Our Spiritual Walls

1—Praying

Everyone should have a private time of prayer every day. We’re admonished in Scripture to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17)! Prayer is how we connect ourselves to God on a daily basis; it gives God an opportunity to speak into our lives and direct our steps. We should ask God about everything we do in life (Philippians 4:6). As we see in the life of Nehemiah, he prayed and then he acted (Nehemiah 1:11, 2:3). We need to do the same in our lives during our time our prayer—asking God for direction and then being responsible to take action. Realistically, we will not make it spiritually without prayer. We must pray to add bricks to our spiritual wall.

2—Reading Word

The Psalmist said he hid the Word of God in his heart so he wouldn’t sin against Him (Psalms 119:11). To hide the Word in our hearts means to remember it in our minds and apply it to our daily lives. If we are to remember the Word, we need to read it! But, reading isn’t enough: the Word of God needs to be integrated into our lives. We must spend time investing in reading the Bible and coupling it with our prayer time. We struggle a lot day to day because we don’t utilize the tools God has placed in our hands—His Word is a mighty tool at our disposal. Jesus said that man cannot live by bread alone, but every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). We are to live by every Word of God; this is what acts as our Counselor, directs our steps, and helps us build our wall.

3—Fasting

All throughout Scripture, we can see examples of mighty men and women who prayed and fasted (Joel 2:12; Daniel 9:3; Esther 4:16). Fasting crucifies the flesh while opening the soul; it kills off the fleshly man and helps us to be sensitive to what the Holy Ghost is trying to accomplish in our lives. Fasting also helps us to shift our dependence on Him instead of ourselves. Jesus told His disciples that there are some battles we will not win in this world unless we fast (Matthew 17:21). It’s important that we understand the power of fasting. It’s not just a diet: we’re replacing food and feeding the body with the spiritual feeding of the spirit. Fasting helps us to focus, refine, and re-fire the passion of God’s Spirit working in our lives—we hear His voice stronger! Fasting will help us build our wall by finding the weak spots and strengthening it with God.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on May 10, 2017 with Pastor Nave