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Faith Imagined: Your Part in the Wall

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

August 22, 2010

Your Part in the Wall


I was reading in my one year Bible about the remnant rebuilding the wall after they returned to Jerusalem. Two very different prophets were called by God to oversee the construction of the wall and to help reestablish the nation. So much insight can be gleaned from this story, but I'm excited about what God made personal to me.

After reading Ezra's and Nehemiah's points-of-view, I felt God ask me, "Which one do you think you are?" I excitedly told God, "Nehemiah!" In my mind's eye, I could see God turn His head toward me, raise His eyebrows and say, "Really?" I read back through the details from both prophets, and I knew I was more like Ezra.

When I was twenty-five years old, I taught college composition. This was the hardest step of obedience I had taken up to that point. For a solid year, I lived on the opposite side of my comfort zone. The emotional, spiritual and physical pressure I felt squashed my appetite, and I became the thinnest I've ever been in my adult life. Although I was a good teacher and the students learned a lot and enjoyed my class, I was on edge all of the time.

I didn't like being in front of a class. I didn't like everyone looking at me for direction and answers. I didn't like having to talk, talk, talk all the time. I was definitely no Nehemiah. I would have preferred to sit among the students, read my books and lead by example. God knew this time would stretch me, so, thankfully, He didn't ask me to teach college for long. He gave me a full year to rest before He put me through another stretching situation (my first baby).

The interesting thing is that if God were to ask me this question several years ago, I would have insisted on the wrong answer. I get so enamored by the action and risk of Nehemiah that I forget about the heart and strength of Ezra. Both these prophets were necessary to the completion of the wall. They both brought God's vision to fruition by each doing his different, yet equal part.

I think the reason that many Christians feel jealous, angry or confused about what other Christians are achieving is because they don't know what they're supposed to be doing. It is hard to know who we are in Christ if we don't know who we are. I used to feel guilty about self-evaluation, like it was egocentric. But God reprimanded me. He said that I needed to have a healthy understanding of my design, my desires and my destiny. We all must find our wall (purpose), that grows His temple (church) and plant our house (life) in the middle of it.

When we find our niche in God's Kingdom here on earth, we will find ourselves in Holy Ease. This doesn't mean everything will be easy or smooth, but our passions should align with our purpose. Nehemiah and Ezra did a lot of work against all odds and showed great amounts of discipline, and they were able to achieve the impossible. Together they built the wall in 52 days and established God's people on His truth. God divided His vision, and everyone did his/her part. How much could the church accomplish today if all Christians would discover their part and do it wholeheartedly?

Have you asked God to give you a healthy understanding of who you are in Him? If you saw some of your personality reflecting from a Bible character, would you recognize yourself? How do you think knowing your design will help you achieve your destiny?

"Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other" (Romans 12.3-5 NIV).


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19 Comments:

Blogger For His Glory said...

Thanks for sharing Alisa. I really appreciate your honesty and your encouragment to keep on presing in to what God has called us to.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Sharon Kirby said...

Thank you, Alisa.

Starting a blog has brought many "stretching" moments for me. God is teaching me many things about myself, doing some "refining" along the way. I'm not sure that I know all of what He wants me to do, but He has given me more courage than i've ever had before. I'm grateful for that.

I just want to be used BY Him, FOR His purposes.

p.s. I'm an Ezra, too... :)

11:21 PM  
Blogger Little M said...

"Some think you discover your ministry by identifying your gifts- but actually u discover your gifts by serving in ministry." (Rick Warren)

Great post Alisa, it's something I have been thinking about lately.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Leah @ Point Ministries said...

This..."It is hard to know who we are in Christ if we don't know who we are"....is huge. I so agree that we MUST know who we are and waht God has gifted and called us to do. Otherwise we drift aimlessly and never accomplish the work that He created us to do.

Great post.

Leah

5:43 AM  
Blogger MTJ said...

Hi Alisa,

There are several parts of this post which spoke wholeheartedly to me but I will quote one, "When we find our niche in God's Kingdom here on earth, we will find ourselves in Holy Ease. This doesn't mean everything will be easy or smooth, but our passions should align with our purpose." -- A lesson in life I've had to learn is that If I don't know the purpose of a thing, I will abuse it.

Finding our niche is intimately connected to finding our identity in Christ. It serves no useful purpose in comparing myself with the person next to me shoring up the wall.

Now although I say that, I admit I have an ego but I'm learning to focus on what Christ calls me to do, not what others are doing.

Blessings and peace.

MTJ

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Patricia said...

I too am reading the Bible in a year. How exciting to know we are both working on a similar goal! What day are you on?

8:32 AM  
Blogger Stuff could always be worse said...

You do have great insight, with Gods help...I do not know which prophet I am like, maybe a bit of both? Thanks for such thought provoking post!!
kim

9:24 AM  
Blogger Melanie Redd said...

Great words today!

I esp. thought this was good, "When we find our niche in God's Kingdom here on earth, we will find ourselves in Holy Ease."

I just taught this same idea in my Sunday school class yesterday - when we feel loved deeply and in our niche, we can love others deeply.

Thanks for sharing a great post.

Blessings,
Melanie

10:47 AM  
Blogger Together We Save said...

Great post!!

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Well said, Alisa. Discovering how God made us and knowing it's for His glory (whether it be N or E) and embracing it is really a key to fulfilling our purpose and experiencing peace in the process. So glad you shared.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Hmm...I will be thinking about this for a while...very thought provoking post...your words always make me search my heart....

7:04 PM  
Blogger Warren Baldwin said...

I'm impressed that you were teaching college courses at age 25! Quite and achievement.

Good insight into leadership and stretching ourselves. I like your encouragement to see ourselves as one a Bible character. And this statement is so true: "I think the reason that many Christians feel jealous, angry or confused about what other Christians are achieving is because they don't know what they're supposed to be doing." I have felt that myself.

Great theology and psychological insight in this post. Good job!

9:28 PM  
Blogger Connie Mace said...

Hmm..."Holy Ease"...not to be confused with "easy", but instead, feeling The Peace which passes all understanding (or common sense earthly logic)...thank you Alisa

9:53 PM  
Blogger Maria I. Morgan said...

What an insightful post, Alisa! You hit the nail on the head, "I think the reason that many Christians feel jealous, angry or confused about what other Christians are achieving is because they don't know what they're supposed to be doing." Determining what God would have us do is paramount. Not looking at what others are doing and wishing for their talents and abilities. It takes ALL parts of the body to complete His work! Have a blessed week!

3:22 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

Words full of wisdom and balance; thank you:)
Blessings,
Karen

7:14 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

This was a very useful post from a teaching standpoint. At our church we have to consistantly preach this point. We have MDs and farmers. We have people with Phds and 6th grade educations. It is easy sometimes for people (depending on the activty) to feel like they don't fit in. The beauty in the message of your post is that instead of not fitting in the fact that we are so different actually makes us fit better. Thanks for the post :)

11:58 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Amen Alisa! This is so beautiful...you are so gifted by God to write, exhort and encourage. I have learned who I am in Christ, when I started learning who He was, is and is to come...such a confidence builder when we know who He is. I will never fully learn who He is..but wow, I am amazed by who we get to be a part of! Sister...keep writing!!!

1:05 PM  
Blogger Dean Spencer said...

Alisa -

I guess I've learned more about you today. I didn't know you were a teacher at a college. Not too surprising, however, given your excellent way of teaching in your writings.

It's interesting that you pose these questions. I have struggled some with understanding who I am in relation to my purpose. But as far as my identity, I definitely feel connected to Jesus and have no reservations about being His. I just don't know about the "niche" that I have in serving the body. But in some ways, I'm okay with that. It gives me freedom to fill in where there are needs as a helper.

I will be meditating on this some more. Great post Alisa. Thank you! God bless!

11:15 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Yes, it is easy to compare ourselves to others and their noble achievements. Many times how people appear on the outside is very different from what they are feeling on the inside. But Christ can come inside and give us balance. Another fine post!

10:42 PM  

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