In order that we fulfill the Lord’s will, we ought to have a mind to work for it. It eventually helps us see the glory He prepared for us. We rejoice knowing that He is glorified. To set our minds to work for His will cannot mean working in our ways. Whatever way we choose, it must be from Him. Such a thing happens by completely surrendering our minds to Him. It means our mind revolves around His thoughts and interests, and not ours. This makes us a people that wholly devoted to Him. The Lord calls us for His works, which are according to His will, expecting us to have a mind to work for them. For we see that when His people had it His expectations were not shattered. “So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work” (Neh. 4:6).
Having a mind to work for His will firstly indicates urgency. Yet, urgency can be dangerous if it is not guided. It can turn us hasty steering us to wrong things and unwise ways. So, it must always be accompanied by the Lord’s strength and wisdom. His strength gives the unseen protection that imparts the confidence to carry out His works in His ways. It is heavenly and enables us to stand our ground even in critical situations. No matter what comes our way we do not falter. His wisdom grants the right ways at every plausible time. In other words, it shows the directions we ought to take and gives knowledge to walk in them. The plausible time for it is when we sense the need for it. Each time we face a situation while carrying out His will we need wisdom. As we realize it, He gives us wisdom. Then, we would know we are indeed led by His inspiration. When His strength and wisdom combine in us, there’s no doubt we succeed in carrying out His works.
It is the strength and wisdom of the Lord that enabled Nehemiah and his brethren to build the wall. They had many enemies around them to dissuade them from completing their work. Jerusalem in those days was filled with gentiles, who had great animosity toward the Lord’s people. They threatened them, made plans to destroy their work and attack them, and even harm Nehemiah. They deployed men of Jerusalem to accuse them. In all this Nehemiah was wise to act. He made decisions that made his enemies recede and lose hope. He did not cave in to their plans and threats. And we hear him say, “O God, strengthen my hands.” It was only by the Lord’s strength and wisdom that he finished the work. He had the urgency and it was guided. The Lord put in his mind that which he had to do. This is in line with what Paul in the Spirit at one place said that His chosen ones speak the things freely given to them, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. This then cannot let us fail, except fulfilling the Lord’s desire in us. How applicable!
It is necessary that one be prepared spiritually to possess the strength and wisdom of the Lord. In other words, he or she habitually depends on the Lord at all times. Anyone can be intellectually ready and have words to speak, though not be able to use them appropriately. But the one spiritually ready will bring glory to the Lord; for he or she is with a mind to work for Him. Nehemiah was a man who was spiritually ready. He habitually called upon the Lord to help, save and remember him. How wonderfully did the Lord work at his side! So, this saying of the Spirit is fitting for our learning. “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Prov. 14:23). There are too many out there in the churches with intellectual readiness and without spiritual preparedness. They can speak all day long of the great men of God and of the great works God did for them, but when they do not have the means to reap from their words, it is utterly useless; the means is the calling of the Lord for His works. In fact, their faith is intellectual and not saving. They are not fully trusting and obeying the Lord. Much importance to God’s knowledge from rote than from His wisdom will one day show them their hope of eternity being annulled. It will be their greatest sorrow.
On the other hand, many are languid to fulfill the Lord’s works. It is because at some point they lost intimacy with Him. If it was intimacy with Him that made Him call them for His works, losing it will not do wonders for them to fulfill His works. Then there are others that no longer see the way the Lord wants them to accomplish His works. It is because they begin to rely on their strength and wisdom. There are several reasons for it, but the primary reason is pride. Such an attitude inflicts pain. And the precious things of God they lose during their time in pride they will never be able to gather. Yet, from pain they gather realization and come into the ways of the Lord. The Lord makes little use of them for His purpose. Their rewards in eternity will also be by it. Listen: to the extent that we depend on the Lord, the Lord uses us for His purpose. Our spiritual preparedness is of highest importance to Him. We do not see Nehemiah languid, insolent or with pride all his days. He humbled himself before the Lord as often as he breathed. Hence, he not only had a mind to work, but was also able to inculcate it into others by the strength and wisdom of the Lord.
We consider our Lord as our Master and we ought to have a mind to do whatever He says. The cue to it is in the following. “And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled’” (Luke. 14:23). Sometimes it may not be what we expect. Again, He may want us to do more than we have already done. He may ask us to do certain things, since they are appropriate. But when the outcome is little, He leads us to other things. It was the case with Paul. The Lord sent him to the Jews and when they did not accept him, He sent him to the gentiles. The latter accepted the gospel in great numbers. He knew what He was doing just as He always knows. His judgments are higher than our conclusions. Again, at times we face interruptions. Satan with all his power and people will try his very best to stop us from working. Yet, if we have the Lord’s strength and wisdom, we will not falter in hope; He will make ways. The key to understanding this is in His command to us. Could it be that the slave, in the parable Jesus spoke, have any means to doubt his master’s words? No! The command of the master was firm and he heard it well. Even so, the Lord calling us for His works is firm and by that reason we know we will succeed in fulfilling them.
Such firm command Paul received from the Lord and so, we see him set his mind for it. And it happened that he was “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered” (Acts 28:31). Though he was in house arrest in Rome and his scope of reaching great numbers has been limited, he did not waver to work for the Lord. He kept his mind in the Lord’s presence, being intimate with him, calling upon Him for help in every situation, acting wisely and not caving in to the schemes of Satan and the enemies of the gospel. He was fixed on proclaiming the gospel. And the Lord provided him the way to fulfill it. People were coming to him to hear the gospel and this went on unhindered. O, how truthful will the Lord be to us when we have the mind to fulfill His will! He assigns us works and He provides to fulfill them. He enables us to offer the glory due Him. Thus, Paul commended himself to say, “according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20).
So, the pattern is this: Spiritual preparedness for strength and wisdom of the Lord to have a mind to work. Then the outcome for whatever works the Lord assigns us is the earnest expectation and hope of not being put to shame in anything. The reflection of it is that Christ honors us in all situations. The idea here is that though men try to shame us, Christ will nullify it by the truth and honor us. Furthermore, while all this is taking place we continue to exalt Christ in our bodies, for everything flows into us from Christ and everything flows out from us by Christ. A likeness to it is seen in the case of Nehemiah. His enemies tried to shame him, but the Lord God nullified it and honored him.
Now, one thing is clear. The Lord calls us for His works. The works He gives us depends on the gauge of our spiritual readiness. If we look at someone like John the apostle, we understand the intensity of the Lord’s work and the enormity of spiritual readiness there is. “I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter” (Rev. 10:10). His work was incredible. To this day countless people cannot interpret the book of Revelation. Such is the wisdom God put in it. It demands incredible spirituality. John was called to prophesy both the sweet and bitter events that would take place. By his work we are made to understand the triumph of those with the strength and wisdom of the Lord and those that are otherwise. So, it is true the Lord should assign works to all, whether Nehemiah, Paul, John, you or me that He is glorified. And if some contend, they will not be able to change a thing. For the Spirit through Paul says, “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?” (Rom. 3:3).