God doesn’t want us to be like a bonsai tree that always stays a baby and never grows. He wants us to spread our roots out and drink of the river of life (God’s word) every day.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

We won’t grow if we have a shallow experience and aren’t sanctified. God doesn’t want us to always be a child. We’ll be carnal and babies if we aren’t sanctified. It shows we need to get sanctified if there is envy, strife, and division.

I Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

If we have a temper before we get saved, we’ll have to work to control our temper. When we’re sanctified, we have to continue working on our temper so we can have victory over it. God wants us to grow up, but we won’t grow if all we’re drinking is milk. If we don’t dig into the word of God and work on things, we’ll stay babies.

Hebrews 5:12-14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The Israelites were discouraged when the way was hard in the wilderness. God’s original plan when they came from Egypt was to go into Canaan, but they were afraid of the giants and walled cities. Going into Canaan is like being sanctified.

Numbers 21:4-7 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

If we’re afraid to give our all to God, we won’t go on to be sanctified and will stay babies. We’ll be discouraged in the way God leads us. We have negative thinking if we’re discouraged. We lack energy, confidence, and a vision of where God wants us to go. When we’re discouraged, we’ll blame others for it. God wants us to get our eyes off the trials and onto God. If we’re not 100% crucified in the flesh, the way will seem hard and we’ll be like those who died in the wilderness. We won’t get sanctified. If we’re discouraged, our nerves will be on edge so we’ll yell at people and show our temper. Our temper doesn’t glorify God. We need to pray when we feel our temper rising up and keep our mouth shut until we have control. We have to fight the devil on our knees and pray for God to give us grace so we get victory over our temper. God never promised an easy way. Jesus said we’d have tribulation, but be of good cheer because he’s overcome (John 16:33).

Nehemiah was in Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city. When Sanballat and Tobiah mocked, he didn’t stop working or argue with them. He prayed for God’s help. If we’re mocked, we don’t need to tell people off or fight but just take it to God.

Nehemiah 4:1-5…when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before…the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves… revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah…said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head…let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.

If you’re discouraged, you won’t have a mind to work. All of us need to work for God in some way. The wall at Jerusalem was big so people were separated from each other, but they were still able to build the wall. Nehemiah prayed and it was God’s wall. The wall is like salvation. When we’re working on the wall, we need to go to God who fights the enemy for us.

Nehemiah 4:6-9 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. But…Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired…to fight …and to hinder it. Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night…

We’ll get discouraged if there’s rubbish in our life. The bonsai tree roots are restricted by the pot so it’s like rubbish. Things that are like rubbish in our lives are cares of the world, deceitfulness of riches, doubts, and fears (Matthew 13:22).

Nehemiah 4:10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.

Corrupt communications are rubbish like finding fault, sarcasm, bitterness, wrath, anger, and evil speaking. We should say things that edify or encourage. If we’re discouraged, kindness often is not shown. Kindness shows we’re a Christian.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away…with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

If you say “I can’t help when I’m angry” so things just fly out of your mouth, it shows you have no control of yourself. God wants us to have control so our roots get down and we grow.

Colossians 3:8-10 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

The people got discouraged by the rubbish so they didn’t have a mind to work. Nehemiah wasn’t afraid when the enemy came 10 times. He told the people to remember the Lord and fight for their brethren and families. Fighting for our families means we aren’t speaking against them or discouraging them by what we say.

Nehemiah 4:12-14 And…when the Jews which dwelt by them…said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you. Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places…people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And…said unto the nobles, and…people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons…daughters, your wives…

Nehemiah encouraged the people. Everyone had his sword as they built and they had victory. We all need our sword – the word of God, to fight the enemy and build for God. They sounded the trumpet to gather the people to hear the word of God so he would fight for them. We need to gather together to hear the trumpet of God’s word so can fight the enemy.

Nehemiah 4:15-23…our enemies heard…God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned…to the wall, every one unto his work. And…from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half…held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons…For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. And I said…The work is great and large, and we are separated …one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear…the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us. So we laboured…from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared…none of us put off our clothes, saving…for washing.

The people worked hard. They finished the wall in 52 days because they had a mind to work and they worked together.

Nehemiah 6:15 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.

God wants us to make sure our walls of salvation are strong. We have to be consistent to read and pray so we can grow up (not stay babies) – to get our roots down and spreading by the river of God’s word.

(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)