Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stopping the Cycle of Self Destruction

"I said to them, "We according to our ability have redeemed
our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would
you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?" Then
they were silent and could not find a word to say
(Nehemiah 5:8)

In this text, Nehemiah addresses a very serious issue that
hindered his people in their efforts to restore what was
broken and lost in their lives. If you read chapters 1 through
4 of the book of Nehemiah and then read Chapter 5, it seems
out of place. Chapters 1 through 4 tell us how the work
began and the progress they were making. We are also
introduced to their enemies who conspired together to stop the
work the people have begun. Chapter 4 ends with Nehemiah's plan
to continue the work in the face of possible attack by their
enemies. However, in Chapter 5, we discover a problem much
greater than an invading army. We discover that the real enemy
is not an external one, but an internal one.

As the days passed and the work continued, I believe Nehemiah
began to notice a drop in the progress they were making. It
was as if they had reached a certain point in the restoration
process and could go no further. They had not been attacked
by an enemy but seemed defeated. The people were saying
amongst themselves:

"The strength of the burden bearers is failing, yet there is
much rubbish; and we ourselves are unable to rebuild the
" (Nehemiah. 4:10).

They were saying they could not do something they were
already doing - rebuilding the wall. As a result, Nehemiah
began to search for a cause and discovered that there indeed
was an enemy in the camp - themselves!

The people were not only speaking against the work they were
trying to finish but were enslaving one another as well. They
had been captive for so long, under Babylonian and Persian rule,
captivity became their mentality. Nehemiah, in Chapter 5:8
tells the people, "We worked hard for our freedom, but now
you're repeating the same cycle we've been delivered from"
(paraphrased). They were repeating a negative learned
behavior. They tore down with their own hands the very thing
they were trying to build - their identity. The very people
necessary to rebuild the wall they were enslaving, thereby
hindering the restoration process. They were repeating a cycle
of self-destruction.

Oftentimes, people subconsciously hinder what God is doing in
their life by saying and doing things that are contrary to what
they are trying to achieve. They may lash out at people that
try to help them because they may be afraid of change or the

Self-destruction is the enemy's weapon of mass destruction!
More hopes and dreams have been killed by "friendly fire" than
"enemy fire". Many Believers consciously and unconsciously
participate in cycles of self-destructive behavior. They destroy
the very things they are trying to build with their actions
and words. Like the wall, they've lived with brokenness for so
long that brokenness has become commonplace - even expected.

If you continue to experience the same disappointments and
failures in life, even when the circumstances are favorable,
you may be consciously or unconsciously stuck in a cycle of
self-destruction. Breaking the cycle of "self-destruction"
starts with your building your "self perception".

The enemy wants you to develop a mentality of failure so that
you forfeit the opportunities and blessing that God places in
your life. When the people examined themselves instead of
focusing on others, the Bible records in the first verse of
the next chapter (Chapter 6) that, they finally "finished the
wall". Their restoration was facilitated by the revelation
that my real enemy is really "in me!"

By Dr. J.C. Matthews, Senior Pastor of Dunamis Life Ministries and Chancellor of The International Kingdom Institute.

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