A Life that Honors Sacrifice
As noted recently, Nehemiah was a man of intense and proven faith. He wrote in Nehemiah 4:14 he recounted this moment writing, “When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.” This was Nehemiah’s clarion call for the Israelites to be encouraged by the deliverance of their great and awesome God, that they would be preserved once again, and that they should stand and fight.
That reminder is fitting this weekend as we enjoy an extra day off work or school to observe Memorial Day. Although this day of observance is set aside to honor those who gave their lives in defense of our nation, we are reminded of the greatest sacrifice made in human history, the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, it’s important for us to ponder what we have and why it’s important to us, and Nehemiah 4:14 provides a tremendous snapshot of that which we should fight for each and every day. Over the next few paragraphs we will unpack this deep and encouraging passage of scripture that reminds us:
- The Christian life is a battle for hearts and minds
- We are to fight for those around us
- We are called to sacrifice for others
The Christian Life is a Battle for Hearts and Minds
When we come to God through faith in Jesus Christ, we are immediately thrust into a battle previously unknown to us. Fortunately, we are not responsible for the outcome of the battle. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are simply called to fight. We are not just to be dutiful soldiers in this fight, but we are to be good soldiers.
Christianity is not a spectator event; Christianity is a war over truth. We are soldiers in this war. Not the sort that are charged to storm a beach or parachute behind enemy lines, but those who love the Lord our God, and who love our neighbor as ourselves. Like counterinsurgency in modern warfare, Christianity is a battle for hearts and minds.
Whose hearts and minds are we fighting for? Nehemiah answers this question clearly, “fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”
Fighting for those Around Us
First, we are to fight for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus asked His disciples “Who are My mother and My brothers?” He replied saying, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.’” Second, we are to fight for our families. This group may or may not include those who do the will of the Father, but we are to fight for them with as much passion and love as we do those within the Church. Finally, we are to fight for our neighbors. In verse 14, Nehemiah uses the word houses, but the call to fight for your homes is far greater than the brick and mortar that makes up the physical dwelling where you live. It is a call to fight for the people in your community. The unbelievers around us where we live and work.
You may not be called to give your physical life for the Church, your family, or your community, but we are called to sacrifice our desires for the benefit of others. This Memorial Day weekend as you enjoy the parades, barbeques, and baseball games with those around you, remember the ones who’ve sacrificed for your spiritual and earthly liberty.
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Dennis Call joined the Army as an infantry officer shortly after the 9/11 attacks on our country, serving fourteen years on active duty. During his Army service, Dennis deployed for thirty-three months to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terror. Prior to joining the Army Dennis served as the Director of College Ministries at First Baptist Church in Texico, N.M. where he mentored students at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, N.M. Dennis and his amazing wife Katie live in Colorado Springs, CO with their five children (four boys and one super sweet daughter).