“Come, let us rebuild the wall …” – Nehemiah 2:17
Some people build emotional walls out of pain and disappointment as a defense against more pain, more fear and/or more mistakes. These walls prevent forward movement toward new hope. As we experience unhealthy and failed relationships around around us, we may face a renewed temptation to add a few more bricks on the barricade around our hearts. Relationship angst is simply no fun. I’m thinking arranged marriages may not be such a bad idea after all (either this, or well-funded singleness).
But not all walls are bad …
The Old Testament’s Nehemiah and Houston’s Beth Moore recognize the value of a strong defense against external forces of this world and the internal destruction caused by what can come in through the cracks. We need to build strong hedges around our lives that keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.
How do we fortify our hearts, minds and spirits from the enemy waiting outside … the one who wants to break in and wreak havoc in our lives?
“Can you think of a way in which the enemy has stolen victory from you through a broken-down wall in your life?” – Beth Moore, Living Beyond Yourself
Beth Moore asks in her study, Living Beyond Yourself, “Can you think of a way in which the enemy has stolen victory from you through a broken-down wall in your life?” The pain of life can fracture our emotions, weaken our defenses and challenge self-control.
So often unhealthy, damaging choices with relationships and addictions follow a heart and/or spirit “breaking.” With the exception of genetically-predisposed addictions, most people don’t become alcoholics or drug addicts out of joy. These choices are often pain-induced actions with deep and abiding consequences.
Although we may not be able to change the painful circumstance(s), we can control our response. “The key to self-control is the refusal to allow our enemies (the flesh, the world, or Satan) to rule or hold us captive in any way,” states Moore. “Self-control is an issue of mastery, of authority, of boundaries.”
Continues Moore, “Without self-control, we are like a city with broken-down walls … [in the Old Testament] a city was only as secure as the walls which surrounded it. A city’s walls were its fortification.”
“The quality of self-control is that which secures our freedom to love, to experience joy, to know peace, to respond with patience, to have a kind disposition, to act out of goodness, to step out in faithfulness, and to agree with gentleness. … Self-control is the decision to remain within the boundaries of victory! … [The enemy] has memorized every strength and every weakness in our lives. He is always on the lookout for that one crumbling section of your protective wall.”
Walk with Him even when you want to give up on Him.
So, what can we do with pain, disappointment and hopelessness … rebuild the wall of trust in a God that has deep footings in this world. Trust that He cares about the big picture of your life in the midst of troubles and trials (John 16:33). Walk with Him even when you want to give up on Him. Build your faith through a growing relationship and understanding of God’s plan and purpose in your life. And seek the company of others intent on believing God for the journey ahead.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post (“Recreative Response to Healing”), the means of grace – “prayer, Bible study and scripture-based devotions, communion, fasting, Christian community and healthy life choices (according to John Wesley)” – strengthen our emotional and spiritual “immune” systems, fortifying our hearts, minds and spirits from external threats. There is one who desires your destruction, but with a glance God can bind the evil around us and position us for an incredible new offensive strike on the Kingdom.
“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isaiah 58:12