“Our enemies said…‘We…will kill them and put an end to the work.’”  Ne 4:11 NIV

Cause number four: Fear. “Our enemies said, ‘Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.’” Why did Israel’s enemies not want the walls of Jerusalem to be rebuilt? Resentment! A wall around a city guaranteed its protection and prosperity. So first they criticized the Jews; then they threatened them. But notice who got discouraged first: “Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, ‘Wherever you turn they will attack us’” (v. 12 NIV). When you hang around negative people long enough, you pick up their negativity. When you listen to someone repeatedly say, “It can’t be done,” eventually you start believing them. So pick the right company! Avoid people who strengthen your fear and align yourself with those who build up your faith. Do you have fears that are making you feel discouraged right now, that are preventing you from developing and growing? Do you fear criticism or embarrassment? Are you afraid to take that big step and look for a new job? Maybe you’re afraid you’re not capable of the task. Maybe you’re worried you won’t hold up under pressure. Maybe it’s the fear that you have to be perfect. Count on it—fear always discourages you! In whom are you trusting? If it’s in yourself or other people, read this promise: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Dt 31:8 NIV).

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