“But I replied, “Should someone like me run away? Who like me would go into the temple to save his life? I won’t go in!” Then I realized that God hadn’t sent him at all but that he spoke this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He was hired to frighten me and to make me sin by acting in this way. Then they could give me a bad name and discredit me.” Nehemiah 6:11-13 CEB

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

It’s amazing how intimidating it is for others when they see you strengthening yourself and become self-determined to build a solid life for yourself. For years our communities have been determined by those who wielded power over us. By redlining local governments have created ghettos and barrios to limit the economic mobility of minorities. The President even tried to use an inept and under qualified Ben Carson as director of HUD to further prevent our rebuilding efforts but you can’t stop what God is rebuilding. We have to be self determined!

Nehemiah was close to rebuilding the walls in Jerusalem when some outsiders wanted to intimidate him to stop the work. They said they wanted to have a word with him. Nehemiah knew they wanted to harm him so he said, “This work is too important for me to stop and come down to you.”

  1. Never stop your work to come down to talk to people that don’t add value to your work. You control who you talk to and where you talk to them. You determine where you invest your time. You don’t have time for vision killers and dream busters.
  2. Use your discernment to distinguish who’s been sent by God and who’s been paid to distract you. Nehemiah heard from a prophet that told him to go in the sanctuary to hide because people were coming to kill him. Nehemiah said I ain’t never ran from a “ninja” and I ain’t about to pick today to start running! I don’t go to church because I’m scared. I go to church to get the courage to fight! False prophecy always has you hiding in church. Real prophecy has you finishing the work of community development in-spite of death threats!
  3. Protect your name! If Nehemiah would’ve hidden in the sanctuary instead of finishing the work he would’ve earned a bad name with his people. Self-determination is all about controlling the narrative. I will determine what people say about me because I have control of my own actions. I will let my work speak for me! 

Dear God,

I pray that we will be a people who are self-determined. We are made in the image of you, God. We are your children. You’ve given us the power to name ourselves, speak for ourselves, create for ourselves. God give us the strength and the resources to finish rebuilding and restoring our communities and silence the haters and the false prophets who want us to hide behind religion and irrelevant churches. We have work to do! Your church is still relevant. There’s a remnant that has not sold out or bowed down. We will not run and hide. We will finish the work you sent us to do while it is day for When night comes no man will be able to work.

In Jesus’ Name,