Not long ago my wife and I visited Hadrian’s Wall – that huge stone wall which crosses from the west to the east of northern England. It was built by the Romans to protect this furthermost border of the Roman Empire from the wild and dangerous Scots, who lived in the hill country beyond the wall! As I looked at this amazing structure, much of which still stands strong and wide today, after nearly two thousand years, I imagined how difficult it would be for invaders to cross the wall in the face of the constant patrols of Roman soldiers, who paraded up and down the wall, twenty four hours a day.
There are many ancient cities in the world also, which are surrounded by high strong walls as a defence against invading armies. It was news of the broken down walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:3) which moved Nehemiah’s heart, as he prayed for his home city and his people. The news that the walls were still broken down and the gates burnt brought him to grief. He knew God was calling him to do something about it. Nehemiah’s book covers the whole story from beginning to end, of how God used him to take on and complete the task and thus restore the safety of the city. Without complete walls, the city was defenceless.
Our Scripture today likens the broken down walls of a city to the broken down walls of a person’s life. Control of our conduct and behaviour is a vital protection against the invasion of the enemy into our lives. Paul explained very carefully in Galatians 6:7-8 how there are consequences for not living a life which is self-controlled and in godly order. The fact is, that a city with broken down walls is undefendable – and equally, a person’s life which is out of control, is also undefendable.
Without the Holy Spirit none of us will have the strength to resist the attacks of the enemy – we all need that spirit of self-control that the Lord will give us if we ask Him. The problem is that many people enjoy too much the things that come in through the gap in our defences, and the Lord can’t help us win a battle which we actually want to lose! Let’s first pray that God will give us the desire for all the gaps in our defences to be filled in and then ask Him to show us how to do it. Then our lives will be strong and effective for Him – and what’s more, we will be more blessed than we ever dreamed possible!
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to identify those areas of my life where there are gaps in the defences of my soul. I choose now to want to have defendable walls, so that the enemy will no longer have access to the centre of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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