By Yanira Hiza
So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages[a] in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”
Nehemiah 6: 2-3 (NLT)
Whenever we build in any area of our life, we are going to encounter opposition. Nehemiah was no exception. He had the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, a difficult but possible task for one who follows God's instruction. The scripture says that Sanballat became enraged when he heard that the wall was being build. He hatched a plan with Geshem and four times, they invited Nehemiah to meet with them for the sole purpose of hurting him and distracting him from his purpose.
I love Nehemiah's response, he told them four times. “I do a great work, and I cannot go; because the work would cease, leaving it to go to you”. Nehemiah was able to respond like this and overcome the distraction because he had fellowship with God, and he wanted to do God's will. That helped him discern the intentions behind that invitation, and to stay focused on God’s purpose.
To identify and overcome distractions we need discernment. Our enemy continues to use the same strategy and subtlety to make us think that the right thing to do is to respond to them. No distraction comes with a sign that says distraction. Many times, they present themselves to us as things that can divert us from God's purpose such as electronic devises, criticism, offenses, accusations, our own thoughts or our past. When these come, the most liberating and correct thing to say to them is NO. If Nehemiah had heeded the proposal of his enemies, he would not have finished rebuilding the wall in 52 days.
Your response to distractions is important. In life, you will meet many Sanballat and Gesem who will want to stop you and distract you from your purpose, but you will always have the opportunity to choose to persist in the path that God has for you, or to follow your own path. Identify what are the distractions in your life that have not allowed you to finish what you have started. To achieve God's plan for your life, you need more than just hear and know the plan of God, you also must persevere in it. I pray that the enemy does not stop you distracting you, and that you can stay focused in what God has entrusted to you.