Devotional

“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:10. 

We all have good intentions. But few people have a real road map to turn intentions into actions simply because life has the habit of getting in the way of good intentions. Hope is an essential quality of life but it often ends up being nothing more than a wish. It takes action to turn hope into purpose, into real change.  

Nehemiah turned good intentions into action by rebuilding the broken-down wall of Jerusalem. In the same way, we need to identify something broken in our lives – to pinpoint a wall that needs to be rebuilt in our lives. In order to turn good intentions into action, we must see the need (define the problem), pray about the need (diligently seek God) and then meet the need (do the work). Nehemiah had already turned his problem into a possibility. Nehemiah’s heart was set on going back and helping to rebuild the city. He had good intentions. Next was developing a plan of action. As we develop our change of action to turn our good intentions into action, consider the following:

Nehemiah was patient. We, on the other hand often lack patience. Our first inclination is to hit the ground running. That would probably be okay if the problem could be solved with only our resources and skills. But often we are rushing around trying to do something in our own strength what only God can do. The idea of putting our hope in God and waiting on Him before we take off on our own is seen throughout the Bible. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” The Good News Translation of Isaiah 28:16 says, “This, now, is what the Sovereign LORD says: “I am placing in Zion a foundation that is firm and strong. In it I am putting a solid cornerstone on which are written the words, ‘Faith that is firm is also patient.’  God is always at work behind the scenes. The temptation is for us is to think that nothing’s happening. So, we want to get out there and make something happen. But resist that urge. Do not run ahead of God. Rather seek God in prayer and be faithful in your present circumstances as Nehemiah did.

Nehemiah was dependent as we should be because what God originates, He orchestrates. Someone said, “Success comes when a thousand hours of preparation meet one moment of opportunity.” Nehemiah knew he had an opportunity. He also knew he needed God’s help to make that opportunity into a reality. Throughout the process, Nehemiah never lost sight of his dependence. Even with the opportunity of a lifetime staring him in the face, he dared not step out on his own. He didn’t utter a word before asking God for help.

Tomorrow, Part 2 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is patience so important in turning intentions into action?  
  2. How do we make dependence on God a part of our action plan?