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Life Without Borders, Pt. 1 - The Faith Of Nehemiah

Life Without Borders, Pt. 1 - The Faith Of Nehemiah

Mike Rhoades | May 18, 2018

Life Without Borders

We all feel it. An internal longing for adventure, for something bigger than our current place. What if I told you that kind of life is there waiting for you? What if I told you that the key to a life filled with adventure has more to do with self-limiting beliefs than lack of opportunity? Relax, this isn't a self-help seminar where I encourage you to "believe in yourself." Quite the opposite actually. I want you to believe in God more. Let's use the story of Nehemiah, one man’s quest to rebuild the walls of his city and restore dignity to God’s people, to unlock the key to this borderless life. As I said, I'm writing to get you to believe in God more and yourself less. Nehemiah accomplished the impossible to the bewilderment of everyone watching. But to become a builder he first needed to break through some walls. 

It Begins With Faith

At the beginning of the story, God uses Hanani to break Nehemiah’s heart and permeate his soul with a vision. He was living a comfortable and fruitful life. Nothing about what he was doing would suggest that he was operating outside the will of God. However, Jerusalem (his city)  was in shambles. His people…God’s people, were suffering. God used this moment to instill a higher purpose within Nehemiah's heart. In order to fulfill this purpose, Nehemiah needed to go beyond his capacity and operate from a place of pure faith.
“If you decide that what God is asking you to do with your life is just too much on you and is just a little too inconvenient, then you will never see the miracles he has for you.” -- Andy Stanley

Unimaginable Boldness

Let's do a quick rundown of what Nehemiah actually accomplished, what "borders" he needed to cross. Nehemiah needed to convince a king to allow a subservient nation to rebuild their defenses. Even more, the king needed to provide protection and safe passage through foreign lands and supply Nehemiah with the materials (from the king’s forest) to rebuild the walls. When rival’s plotted to destroy Jerusalem, Nehemiah and the Jews countered with prayer. With a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other, they continued on unphased. When food ran low and debts piled up, Nehemiah boldly challenged the nobles and officials to give it all back. Try that with your local bank! At one point, Nehemiah even needs to rebuke a seemingly religious person with “message from God." The story goes on and on like this. Each time Nehemiah was faced with a new challenge (or border)  he met that challenge with faith and unimaginable boldness. It's not hard to imagine the impact this type of living would have on our own lives. Not only would we live with purpose, but also sincere resolution and complete dependency on God.

Without Borders

The powerful thing about the story of Nehemiah is that it begins with a very humble response on his part.
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”  When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said:  Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,  let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. -- Nehemiah 1:4-6
A Life Without Borders begins in humility. It begins when our heart breaks for the things that break God's heart. It stirs us to action with little regard for our own capacity. It throws off the yoke of complacency and moves to a posture of righteous confidence. It’s a life that looks at walls (fear, frustration, lack of resources, people trying to bring you down, etc) as opportunities for God’s glory to shine. Nehemiah's story isn't about his unique strength, intellect or type-A-ness, it's about his unrelenting confidence in God. 

Believe In God More

If we continue to depend on ourselves, then our life of adventure will be limited to our own capacity. Furthermore, it stands to reason that if we had the ability to satisfy our own longing for more then we wouldn't be feeling the need to live for something bigger than we currently are. The story of Nehemiah isn't about a man with an inflated sense of self-confidence. It's the story of a man whose belief in God pushed him beyond his own limits. Put your faith in God and HIS ability to transform your life and you can experience A Life Without Borders.

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