I’ve recently become uncomfortably aware that my life is need of some refortification.
Fortify = to strengthen; to make more difficult for an enemy to attack; to make healthier or energize.
You might be wondering what I mean. Well, let’s just say that in the last months I’ve let a lot of tension and worry and exhaustion compact. You can probably relate. A lot of stressors in life are unavoidable. As seasons change, or even with certain fields of work, there can be times of heightened emotions or stress. And it really doesn’t feel great. I’ve had numerous times even just in the last month alone where I’ve felt so utterly helpless or at the end of my own abilities. I’ve thought often of the passage in Isaiah 35 that says, “strengthen my feeble hands, steady my knees that give way”, and have thought, Jesus, that’s me right now. I need that.
I had one day in particular where I was reading in Nehemiah and realized that the Lord had led me so intentionally towards this scripture to teach me about fortification. He spoke deep to the depths of my heart and told me that Satan was warring on my life- my health, my energy, my emotions, my thoughts, my relationships- and I was letting him do it instead of fighting with all my strength.
It’s not the first time that I’ve shared with you that I struggle a lot with my thought life. It has been the root of most of my stress, fear, anxiety and fatigue. It’s an area that I have surrendered time and time again to Jesus. It’s an area in which I rely fully on the grace of Jesus to have victory one moment and day at a time. For many months it was a great area of victory to celebrate. But in the recent weeks it’s become a great source of discouragement again. It happens so subtly- it’s those little compromises of not immediately taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ and then paying for it when that little thought takes root and grows.
I’ve learned (really, I’m still learning) a few things that have encouraged me and strengthened me and I want to share them with you. This journey of learning really never ends and Jesus is still teaching me more about how to be a strong woman that is so rooted and grounded in Christ that she exudes the fruits of the Spirit to everyone she comes in contact with. Part of that journey right now has included the story of Nehemiah and questions that Jesus asked.
I’m literally just going to put these things in point form because a) I don’t think you want a super long post from me and b) I’d love to encourage you to read this book for yourself and hopefully receive great blessing from it yourself.
- It started with prayer. Where else could it possibly start except in the presence of Jesus?
- Nehemiah saw the need for refortification and he let nothing distract him from this goal
- This was an insanely big task that he undertook, but he did it knowing that God would go before him. He went boldly and confidently.
- He spent time examining the ruins of the old wall. He looked at what was missing, how great the need was, and strategized a plan to rebuild.
- He didn’t do it alone. He enlisted others.
- There was great resistance. There will always be resistance from the Enemy
- He set up a watch, day and night, to protect against the enemies during this time of refortification
- Several times Nehemiah said, “Our God will fight for us.”
- The process stretched over 52 days and took hard work, dedication, intentionality and perseverance
- Once complete, Nehemiah created strict boundaries about what and when something was allowed in and out of the gates of the refortified wall
- There was a time of reforming, cleansing, restoring, removing
- The people became separate from outside influence and strong in God
- They blessed the name of the Lord, praised and worshipped, and gave thanks
That’s some pretty powerful stuff, hey? God gave me this incredibly beautiful picture for what He and I are working on in my own life.
A few weeks ago at our staff retreat we had one of our wonderful prayer warrior partners join us to help facilitate some time of spiritual development. As part of our discussion on Identity in Christ she left us with 5 powerful questions from Jesus- Questions that are meant to ground us back into truth. In times of uncertainty, fear, doubt, confusion… what better way to get grounded back into truth than to answer questions that Jesus asked? Those incredible “Jesus” questions that always lead back to Himself in some way. So here they are, and I added a few more that have become meaningful to me.
- “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9
- “Who told you that?” Genesis 3:11
- “What are you seeking (What do you want)?” John 1:38
- “Why are you afraid?” Matthew 8:26 “Why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31
- “How much more??” Luke 11:13
- “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Matthew 9:28
- “Who do you say that I am?”Matthew 16:15
- “What is your name?” Mark 5:9
These are incredible, thought-provoking, grounding questions. I know that in context these scriptures aren’t all questions that Jesus is directly addressing us with, but they are questions that we should stand face to face with anyways. The answers to these question bare open the soul. They reveal where I’m at in my journey with Christ- where I stand before Him. They force me to question whether the thought that i’m meditating on is from the Enemy or from Christ. I recognize what it is that I’m really seeking… is it recognition? Value? Worth? To please myself or to glorify God? The questions challenge me to confront my fears together with Jesus and to give account of where my faith actually lies. It gives me the opportunity to stop and recognize that if an earthly Father will answer the plea of his child, how much MORE will my heavenly Father provide me with what I need and plea for? It brings me fresh truth about who Jesus is. It brings me fresh truth about who I am in Christ. That is something really beautiful. It’s something very freeing.
So…what now? Well, I continue moving forward together with Jesus. I desire to continue growing stronger. I desire to become more grounded in truth. I desire to have my mind refortified. To find those gaps in my fortification and figure out what needs to happen. To remain committed to the process, faithful and persevering no matter how long it takes. To take up the armour of Jesus Christ and wield the power I have in Him to have victory one day at a time.
What area of your life needs refortification? What are the breaches in your wall? Maybe for you it’s also an unruly thought life- but maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s your time management, your screen time, your apathy towards others or idols that have taken place in Jesus’ number one spot. I’m not sure what that looks like for you, but my prayer is that as Christ sheds light on the areas of your own life that need refortification, the way He has been for me, that you would have a soft and yielding spirit towards Him. Jesus just has our best interest at heart. He knows what we stand against and how much we need Him. He knows the wiles of the Enemy and has the perfect maneuvers to conquer him. Let’s allow Jesus to clothe us in Him so that the Enemy doesn’t stand a chance against us. Let’s allow Him to strengthen us and ground us and root us so deeply into the Vine that we just overflow with an abundance of beautiful fruit.
Like Nehemiah, let’s tell the Enemy boldly, “Not today Satan! My God will fight for me.”
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23
“A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge increases in might, for by wise counsel you can wage your war, and in abundance of counsellors there is victory.” Proverbs 24:5-6
“Revive me according to Your word. I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. My soul melts from heaviness; fortify me according to Your Word.” Psalm 119:25-28
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9