TENAC’ITY, n. [L. tenacitas, from teneo, to hold.]
Philippians 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Nehemiah brought it on himself, I think. After all, when the surrounding citizens sought to join him in rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem, he told them not only “no”, but “ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem” (Neh 2:20), even though these folks claimed to follow God as well. His drawing the line stimulated them to wrath, indignation and mocking. Conspiracies abounded to not only fight against Jerusalem, but to hinder the work of the wall.
How much easier it would have been to just offer friendship and bread to these people. Give a little, take a little. What’s a little idol here and there? As long as you’re perceived as amiable enough, won’t that be an opening to relationship and to teaching about the true God?
We could learn a lot from Nehemiah. In the face of opposition, he set his face toward God, and planted his feet firmly. In the midst of the results of this stand, he did not despair or blame God. He did not sway like the wind. Nevertheless, we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them (Neh 4:9).
Jesus Himself is the fullness of tenacity. How many times has he spoken thus to me?
- Matthew 26:40 …What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
- Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?…
- Matthew 14:31 …O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
- Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel…
- Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
If you are a Christian, do you not marvel the hold of Jesus in your own life? And what sin we fall into! What sloughs of despond! What worry and concern about what our friends or enemies will think! What bitterness and envy and shallowness and self-centered pity-parties! If it isn’t the surrounding culture attacking and hindering us, it is we, ourselves!
And yet the Lord does not let go, He does not put us aside, nor turn to the left or right of the Father’s will. Rather, He draws us near with lovingkindness and compassion. He always is about the Father’s work. Ought we not to do the same?
John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Many mothers have “ought”s that are lying in rubble. I ought to smile more. I ought to keep my home clean. I ought to stay home with my children. I ought to respect my husband. I ought to prepare healthy meals. I ought to homeschool. I ought to lose some weight. I ought to spend less money. I ought to encourage my friends more. I ought…
What is needed more often is NOT more of culture or even self-examination, as the mirrors have been in plenty and we are well aware of the stones and blemishes. What is needed is the attitude of Nehemiah, one of tenacity and perseverance, one of “nevertheless”. We will never get to the point of dedicating our finished work to the Lord if we give up the fight of putting up those walls.
Are you trying to exercise more? Fight for the time and the space to do it. Are you faltering in respecting your husband? Fight for the wisdom of God in learning how to do that more. Are you losing your children’s hearts? Fight for a heart of prayer and for tenacity in proper discipling.
The answer to hindrances is not to just sit amongst the rocks, cutting stones into our flesh crying out “woe is me”. The answer is to act on the promises of God to lead and to guide you in the building of your marriage and motherhood and home, and to just get up and do it. Forget the mocking, laugh at the impediments, smile at the future to come and pray hard. And remember that it is never by your own works anyway, but by God’s grace.
Psalms 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
These days, a joyful mother fixed on her God and her home are an oddity. I imagine it is somewhat like trying to build a city in the middle of a culture of rock throwing. But go ahead, build it. Ask for godly help, obtain the tools, and most of all, rely on God to persevere through it all. Be tenacious. Run the race. You can do it. He is able.