(You can now listen to today’s MY Devotional on Leading The Way’s daily devotional podcast!)

Anytime you begin to gain victory over sin, whenever you begin to triumph over addiction, whenever you begin to achieve consistency in your prayer life, whenever you boldly share your faith with the people around you, don’t be surprised at the spiritual opposition that comes your way. The devil’s goal is to prevent God’s people from attempting great things for God and to keep them from growing in the Christian life.

Nehemiah experienced this same principle while working to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. As the project progressed, those who saw the repairs as a threat to their power began to threaten the Jews and plot against them. But Nehemiah again responded with prayer. He prayed and was watchful, setting a guard to protect the work of the people day and night—demonstrating a perfect balance of spirituality and practicality.

But Satan didn’t stop with this bit of opposition. He employed his best weapon against God’s people: discouragement. Discouragement is the chief occupational hazard of being a Christian. It comes in many shapes and varieties, and it can attack you even when you are walking faithfully with God. It can be inflicted on the believer just after experiencing a spiritual high—a mountaintop experience with God. But if you surrender to the spirit of discouragement, you rob yourself of hope. You surrender to Satan’s will for your life. Like Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem, you must choose to persevere with God. God gave them the encouragement they needed to continue working and building, and He will do the same for you—real, empowering encouragement. 

The people of Israel had reached a point of physical exhaustion; they had poured themselves out in the work to rebuild, but only saw more rubble. The people had lost sight of their vision of a restored Jerusalem. But Nehemiah responded quickly to the discouragement and the rising fears of their enemies. He armed them and encouraged them, saying, “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome” (Nehemiah 4:14).

When the enemy tries to discourage you, don’t be intimidated. Don’t be deterred. Take a moment to pray—then keep moving forward with the work God has given you to do. Prayer is your first obligation, not your last resort. And remember who your Lord is. Rest in His power and love, for He alone is great and awesome.

Prayer: Thank You, God, for reminding me of Your greatness. There is none like You. Help me to trust in You and give me courage to face whatever obstacles come my way, knowing You are with me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you” (Psalm 89:8).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Rebuilding Our Broken Walls, Part 4: WATCH NOW | LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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