Did you ever watch the movie ‘the devil wears Prada’? I loved it! I watched it a very many times and I suspect even now I would still watch it yet again. It was such a nice chic flick movies, yer I am a gal like that, any chic flick will be a movie after my own heart! As I read the book of Nehemiah today, I thought about that movie. I tell you this movie was not too off, the devil does actually wear Prada; he can look hot!
Growing up the idea I had of satan was this ugly looking dude who had horns coming from every corner, a dude you just got scared off the minute you saw him. However sadly as with every other Santa Claus theory, I have over time learnt just how untrue this is! The devil wears Prada, some of the hottest shoes ever. And he can look hot too! Would it not be easier if he was the man I thought he always was, an ugly looking monster?
Prada of my world
Nehemiah comes across the Prada wearing devil in chapter seven. Sanaballat and Geshlem, the main opposition of the rebuilding of the wall had gone quiet. However, as soon as they hear that the rebuilt of the wall was complete, they move into action. They send Nehemiah a message reading “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono”. This seems like a pretty friendly message right? Harmless we might even say.
But Nehemiah knows something that I am learning, that the devil too wears Prada. Nehemiah therefore sees through their scheme and sends them a message that I learn from “I am carrying on a great project and cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” The Prada wearing devil even comes in the form of a prophetess in a few chapters later. A prophetess hired by the Sanaballats, imagine that, a prophetess!
The reality is that even in my world today, the devil still wears prada and he still is in the business of disrupting me from rebuilding the walls in my society.
The prada comes in the form of a very cute boy who gets all my attention and gets me distracted from work in the Kingdom. The prada comes in the form of a married man who will offer the world in exchange of having an affair. The prada comes in the form of a job that pays me the millions I longed for in exchange for every single free time I would have to serve God. The prada comes in the form of friends in a lonely world who will take me round the world in exchange of lost values, what anyway is the big deal with me becoming a club hopper? What is wrong with Shisha anyway, afterall does not the Bible say all things are permissible? Another prada that will come knocking will be the argument that I am afterall engaged to be married, what is the big deal with waiting till we are married to have sex, we are practically married anyway? What is the big deal with me cheating on my boyfriend / husband, everyone does it anyway, and he deserves what he is getting?
What I love about Nehemiah is that he has the discernment to discern the devil even when he wears prada. This today is my primary lesson. That I must pray to be able to discern the distractions from very far, even before they strike, lest they take me away from my calling.
This takes only the leading of the Holy Spirit. You see I am a melancholy, an extreme one who will swing between cynicism that comes very easy for many mels or absolute trust that will never imagine that the devil could be wearing prada. Neither do I desire for cynicism nor the absolute trust that misses the point as all these will become a new prada wearing devil; I desire discernment, a gift of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit I desire to walk in you, to be led of You, to be engulfed in You. Only You can smell the devil from very far, only You can keep me alert.
Strength for the day
Interestingly, even when the initial allure does not work, the Sanaballats do not quit. They are determined to derail Nehemiah and four times they try. Then they take it a notch higher in the fifth time to a personal attack of his character; whatever it takes to derail him. I tell you this is the unfair war, now they are battling his personal character, sigh!
I find that we all have the one heart wrenching area that will hurt the most. For Nehemiah it was his character. For me it is my desire to be married, for others it is the desire for a job security, for others it is impatience, for others its their children. I tell you we all have that clutch that hitting at rocks our boat.
Yet the devil knows it too is what I learn from Nehemiah. I have been hit severally at my clutch, and everytime it manages to rock my boat big time. What I learn from Nehemiah’s response to this attack is two things.
One is that Nehemiah does not go about having long sessions to justify himself. He seems to trust God enough to battle for him and therefore this too will not derail him from His ultimate calling. He therefore sends a very brief response to this attack then he prayed.
He prayed a prayer that I am making today. “Lord, now strengthen my hands”. I so identify with that prayer. It is a prayer of someone who has been hit where it hurts most. It is a prayer of weakness. Lord I am weak, I want to keep on with the work you have called me to, but Lord, strengthen my hands. I tell you without this prayer Nehemiah would have been paralyzed. I tell you that because I have been there. Where you feel like you were hit below the belt and every part of you is hurting; where you want to keep on the fight, but you lack the strength to; where you feel like just brooding and never getting up again; where you are not sure you can pick up the pieces and go on. Yet in that moment today and this week, my prayer is as Nehemiah, “Lord strengthen my hands”. I will not engage in long justifications with prada wearing devil, I will give him a very small response. Live it to the Lord, and pray for strength.
The ultimate victory
I love how chapter 7 ends, “when all our enemies heard about this (that the wall was complete), all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
That’s my prayer; that my life would be a testimony of what God can do. That God can sustain you in your single days when the world around you wonders why not compromise. That God can sustain you when the world around you wonders why you can’t compromise your values at work. That God can sustain you when the world around you wonders ‘what is the big deal with the small life compromises’, everyone is doing it anyway.
The opposition does not end just because today we have victory. The last verses of Nehemiah chapter 7 show that we battle daily. That my dear friends is our calling. I find I absolutely must die daily. I cannot count on the strength of yester, a new filling every day is what I need. I can’t even afford to be slack on some days, we are in battle. A day off will cost much. But God helps us. God battles for us. All He says we should do is ask; So Lord, I ask for strength to say as Nehemiah did “that I am doing a great works and I cannot come down”.