The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?
In his biography of Billy Graham, entitled “A Prophet With Honor,” Dr. William Martin attempted to explain the phenomenal success of the world’s greatest evangelist. Dr. Martin said there is a natural explanation for the success of Billy Graham–his good looks. After all, he was offered a movie contract from Paramount Pictures if he would give up evangelism and go into the movie business. His good looks, his charisma, the instinct he had for public relations, the time in which he lived–all are natural explanations for the phenomenal success of Billy Graham. But Dr. Martin said alongside that natural explanation is a supernatural explanation, and that is the hand of God was upon the life and ministry of Billy Graham. You can say the same thing in many ways about Nehemiah. Why is it that Nehemiah succeeded in rebuilding the broken-down wall around Jerusalem, something nobody else had been able to do? Certainly there was a supernatural reason for Nehemiah’s success. He enjoyed the favor of God on his life. We have seen that demonstrated in the way that God supernaturally moved in the heart of King Artaxerxes to allow Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem. We have seen it in how God protected Nehemiah against his enemies. There was a supernatural explanation for the success of Nehemiah.
But there was also a natural explanation for his success. Nehemiah understood the principles of self-leadership. We are all trying to lead ourselves from where we are in life to the place where God wants us to be. Dee Hock, the founder of Visa, said, “We should invest 50 percent of our leadership amperage into the task of leading ourselves.” We ought to spend 50 percent of our energy trying to lead ourselves to set meaningful goals in life, to discipline our use of time, and to avoid distractions from our life purpose. That is what separates successful from unsuccessful people. Yes, Nehemiah enjoyed the supernatural favor of God upon his life, but he also employed the principles of self-leadership. One of those principles is overcoming fear.
Remember, Nehemiah had met all kind of opposition: negative people, negative feelings like discouragement, and negative circumstances like a lack of financial resources. None of those was sufficient to stop Nehemiah in what he was trying to do. In Nehemiah 6, the wall was just about completed, and Nehemiah’s enemies were becoming more frantic. So they launched another round of attacks against him. This time the attacks were much more subtle, but they were also much more intense because they were directed against Nehemiah himself. Each of these attacks grew in intensity, and each of these attacks was based on the emotion of fear. In order to make his God-given vision a reality, Nehemiah had to overcome the fear factor.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Overcoming The Fear Factor” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
William Martin, “A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story” (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991); Dee Hock, as quoted in Bill Hybels, “The Art Of Self Leadership,” Christianity Today, Summer 2001, https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2001/summer/13.86.html
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org