Correctly Handling Your Strong Emotions

And it grieved me bitterly… (Nehemiah 13:8).

Leaders believe so strongly in what they have been called by God to do, that opposition to God’s plan arouses very strong emotions in a leader!

When Nehemiah was angered at those who either deliberately or unintentionally sinned, his anger brought swift and decisive action—

  • He threw away people’s stuff
  • He issued explicit commands
  • He confronted other leaders
  • He issued strong threats
  • He beat people up (really!)
  • He excommunicated

Yet in all these actions he did not sin. He prayed in between many of these episodes, “God, remember what I have done. Show me mercy. Reward me for this good I have done.” And nowhere after these prayers do we see God rebuking Nehemiah for mishandling his emotional responses.

A mark of a godly leader is one who handles his strong emotions in a God-honoring way.

A leader’s prayer: Father, in my anger keep me from sin. May even my strongest of emotional responses bring glory to You.

This is Part 12 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts by clicking here.

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A Godly Leader’s Legacy

…the command of David the man of God (Nehemiah 12:24).

In Nehemiah 11-12 long lists of names and functions are listed as Jerusalem is repopulated and the temple functions reestablished.

One important aspect of worship is the temple musicians and singers who offered thanks to God. The organization of these worshipers was instituted by King David nearly 600 years earlier, so the phrase “according to the command of David” doesn’t surprise me.

But the description “the man of God” does surprise me!

Why not just “King David”? Yet 600 years after his reign David is still known as God’s man!

A mark of a godly leader is one the people still think of as “godly” long after he’s gone.

My prayer—Lord, may my legacy continue to bring You glory long after I have left the scene.

This is Part 11 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts by clicking here.

The Joy Of Understanding

Then Ezra read from the Book of the Law in the open square… (Nehemiah 8).

I love the simplicity of this! No sermon; just a straightforward reading of God’s Word. And look at how everyone responded…

  • “The ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law”
  • There was a respect for the Word of God and the God of the Word—“When he opened it all the people stood up…[then] they bowed their heads and worship the Lord with their faces to the ground”
  • The religious leaders “helped the people to understand the Law”
  • “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them understand the reading”

The result—“And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions [to those in need] and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

A mark of a godly leader is one who helps people make sense of God’s Word.

And when the people understand the Word, they are more likely to joyfully put it into practice.

This is Part 10 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

The Power That Comes After Delegation

I gave charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel… (Nehemiah 7:2).

Good leaders delegate.

The project of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem and hanging the doors had been completed, so it was time for Nehemiah to move to the next assignment God had for him.

To keep the momentum going which he had started, Nehemiah picked two trusted men:

  1. Hanani—his brother, who had previously visited Judah and brought back a faithful report about the condition of Jerusalem.
  2. Hananiah—a “man of integrity” and most importantly a man who “feared God more than most people do.”

These are good men that can carry on for Nehemiah. Nehemiah started the project, brought it to completion, and now new leaders are needed to keep the momentum going.

Notice that it is after completing the project and then delegating to new leaders that Nehemiah writes, “Then my God put it into my heart” to take on a new project (v. 5).

A mark of a godly leader is one who appropriately delegates so that he can receive God’s new assignment.

This is Part 9 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

Tuning Out Enemies

“…they thought to do me harm”Nehemiah

Nehemiah had enemies on almost every side as he attempted to complete his work (the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem). Check out his enemies’ strategy and his response to them—

Enemy’s tactic #1—Get Nehemiah preoccupied with attending meaningless meetings.

Nehemiah’s response—“I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?”

Enemy’s tactic #2—Send out letters slandering Nehemiah.

Nehemiah’s response—“There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” Then he prayed, “God, give me strength.”

Enemy’s tactic #3—Try to scare Nehemiah into running away.

Nehemiah’s response—“Should someone in my position run from danger? I know that God wouldn’t like that.”

Nehemiah had a vision from God and he stayed focused on that.

  • It determined his priority
  • It set his daily agenda
  • It gave him discernment
  • It gave him courage

The result: “When all our enemies heard [that we had completed our project]…they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.”

A mark of a godly leader is one so focused on God’s plan that he pays no attention to his critics or enemies.

This is Part 7 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

A Leader’s Most Powerful Resource

…Sanballat…mocked the Jews… (Nehemiah 4:1).

Sanballat mocked. How did Nehemiah respond to the mocking? He told Sanballat, “                .” Absolutely nothing!

At least he said nothing to Sanballat. But to God Nehemiah prayed, “Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads” (v. 4).

Once again the bad guys “conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion” (v. 8). And once again Nehemiah said nothing to the conspirators; “nevertheless we made our prayer to our God” (v. 9).

When the gossip and rumors about the conspirators begin to discourage the Israelites, Nehemiah redirected them back to God: “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome” (v. 14).

Even when the opposition was internal—with those who were looking out for themselves only and taking advantage of their brothers—Nehemiah again called them to look to God: “Should you not walk in the fear of our God?” (5:9).

Indeed, because of Nehemiah’s own example of the fear of the Lord, he had the moral authority to call them out, and to ask God for His blessing (vv. 14-19).

Whatever criticism or opposition Nehemiah faced, his first response was to turn to God.

A mark of a godly leader is one whose first response to problems is prayer.

This is Part 6 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

Godly Leaders Can Inspire Everyone To Pursue One Vision

And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also all of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. (Nehemiah 2:18)

The market of a godly leader is one who can inspire all sorts of people to pursue the same vision.

Nehemiah did such a good job casting the vision God had given him that people from all professions and persuasions immediately joined in. Although the vision was to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, most of those who joined Nehemiah in pursuing this vision were anything but builders. They were…

  • Priests
  • Fathers and their sons
  • Fathers and their daughters
  • Natural-born Israelites
  • God-fearing foreigners
  • Goldsmiths
  • Perfume makers
  • Leaders
  • Laypeople
  • Those living within the city
  • Those who lived outside the city
  • Merchants

With one voice they cried out, “Let’s rise up and build!” and they got down to business.

All these different people buying-in to one godly leader’s vision!

This is Part 5 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

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