How good were you at building forts? Not the ones made of timber, iron, and cement – rather the forts made from limbs, brush, and various items found in the wild. As for me, my forts were built in the woods that surrounded our back yard. Rarely was there a blueprint or hardly a plan, just an idea born from the mind of a curious kid.
Most of my fort building experience was centered mostly around constructing a wall of protection for the upcoming battle – real battles – with real consequences… there was no time for “imaginary foes and fantasy”. My buddies and I left the make-believe battles for the weird kids down the road. We formed teams with the intent to destroy the enemy fort while hurling dangerous objects at high velocity toward one another. We usually opted for the green pine cone as a weapon of choice (not a smart move).
Most battles rarely lasted beyond an hour, while the fort building would take the better part of the day.
There is a story in the Bible about a man named Nehemiah who left his royal post in a warm safe environment to go back to his homeland and rebuild the walls around his destroyed city of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was going home to build a fort to protect his city and his neighbors.
Now that we are grown up…we still wake each day, and continue working on the walls of our forts. Some of the forts we build provide shelter and protection for the people we care for. While other forts are made to isolate and hide ourselves from the world. What are your forts protecting?
In the story of Nehemiah, he was devastated that the world had come against his brothers and sisters and had torn down his hometown. Attack after attack had left Jerusalem in shambles and the city walls were lying on the ground in mixed up rubble. Nehemiah clinched his fist, set his jaw, and was determined to restore his home… and he did it.
The forts that you have built for yourself can become quite accomodating to all sorts of matters in your life. Some of the forts are built with the best intentions, but end up becoming a hiding place where you live a secret life. Do you have a couple of those forts? Have you built walls around your dark habits in order to hide like a hermit – keeping others out of your business?
God instructs us to live inside of His will. The walls of God’s kingdom cannot be broken and offer shelter, protection, freedom, and absolute contentment. But if you choose to live outside of those walls, you’re a dead-man-walking.
You may seem to have life, and you may think you’ve achieved victory with your elaborate fortress. However, building your fortresses around the darkness of greed, pride, selfishness, perversion, or other world-driven pursuit isn’t a fort at all – it’s a prison.
Evil works overtime to convince us that our prisons are… fortresses. The elaborate construction of intricate defenses mechanisms that line our outer boundaries are filled with guns – which are all pointed inward – rather than outward.
Since we are highly skilled at building walls – perhaps we should put that skill to better use by building the walls of God’s kingdom. Let’s spend our day as warriors who will continue to fortify the walls of faith around our neighbors, our family, and our community. Let’s work at tearing down the prisons our brothers have constructed and re-building the city walls of faith and hope.
May you escape your forts of isolation and realize that freedom only comes from the Grace of God and He has a place for you… inside His walls. And may we be like Nehemiah… clinching our fists, setting our jaw, and being determined to fortify the walls of faith for the people we care most about.