By Pastor Samuel Obafaiye

Strides can be defined as taking long steps; making great progress; making great advancements; attaining a steady level of competence; or maintaining a steady effective pace.

When strides is said to be great, it means that an alarming progress is made; a shocking advancement is achieved or an amazing pace has been set. All these will come your way in Jesus name.

In conventional warfare, there are four possible positions to adopt: advance; attack; defence and withdrawal. It seems to me that the best and desirable among the four is advance. This is because the other three positions can induce certain degree of loss; but loss is eradicated in advancing. Some enemies may just hear that you are coming and flee. May that be your portion in Jesus name.

Within the military, there are tactics and field crafts that soldiers must learn in order to advance safely in battle terrain. For any army to have great strides, they must teach and master these tactics.

We Christians are soldiers of Christ and we are in constant battle with spiritual powers (Ephesians 6:10-18). At other times, the devil may use mankind to persecute and trouble us because of our professed faith, so that we might fail or fall.

We therefore need biblical tactics and field crafts to advance in the terrain of life; mount offensive attacks on the enemy; so as to not put ourselves in the difficult position of defence; and never face the humiliation of withdrawal.

Nehemiah was a good example of a soldier of God worthy of emulation as he achieved great strides. He was able to build a huge wall round the city of Jerusalem as well as erecting gates at the entrances in barely 52 days!

With all the technologies of modern times, it will still be a difficult task to do so in our world of today, talk less of the circumstances and prevailing conditions in which the task was done.

About 600 years before Christ, Jerusalem was destroyed and the people taken as captives to Babylon. After 50 years in exile, some people retuned to rebuild the temple. After another 70 years, some returned to build the city. 13 years after that, Nehemiah got to find out that the situation of the returnees was bad, the walls still broken and gates destroyed.

Nehemiah then employed some tactics and demonstrated certain qualities which are very useful to achieving great strides in life:

  1. Compassion for the afflicted; passion to make a difference (Neh. 1:1-4a). Even though, he was enjoying in the king palace. Without compassion for souls and passion to solution to problems, one cannot achieve great strides in life.
  2. Sought the face of God to know what to do (Neh. 1:4b). The will of God is important to achieve a great feat in life.
  3. Generational cleansing. The need to go to our root and be cleansed from unrighteousness that might hinder our strides (Neh. 1:5-7).
  4. Bring before The Lord His promises and covenants regarding His plan for you (Neh. 1:8-10).
  5. Prayerfully involve those connected to the stride intended (Neh. 1:11). King Artaxerxes permission was needed. It took four months of waiting on God to get a breakthrough (Dec-April); he didn’t rush ahead of God.
  6. Once God has given you the go ahead, set realistic target for yourself and make necessary bargains when the door is wide open (Neh. 2:6-8).
  7. Make sure you have a very good knowledge of what to do without distraction (Neh. 2:12-16).
  8. Sell the vision regarding the stride to those involved, giving reasons why it is possible (Neh. 2:17-18).
  9. Expect ridicules at the early part of the stride. Disregard this, be sure that those that do not belong to a vision will always ridicule it (Neh. 2:19-20).
  10. Most great strides are nor achieved alone, delegate and share responsibilities to zealous and committed men to assist (Neh. 3:1-end).
  11. Enemies will try to rally increased oppositions against your stride, but be strong and prayerful (Neh. 4:1-6). The Samarians were lured to be involved.
  12. As you make progress, full scale war may arise to frustrate the good work. But watch and pray (Neh. 4:7-23). Arabians, Ammonites, Ashdodites might come. Be wise as serpent and gentle as dove.
  13. If external wars fail, the enemy will raise an internal problem to divert attention from the stride you are making. You need wisdom from God to overcome so the work could go ahead (Neh. 5:1-13). Fight arose against the nobles who were charging huge interest for lending money and land. Money became the problem.
  14. Deny yourself of certain privilege in order to gain the confidence and loyalty of the people you are working with (Neh. 5:14-19). He did not tax the people as other governors did.
  15. As the stride is near completion, the enemy will seek to endanger the life of the leader. If the leader is eliminated, the stride will stop. Avoid suspicious meeting and doggy appointments (Neh. 6:1-4). No matter how many times this was requested.
  16. Be aware also that lies will be said against you and the vision. There might also be blackmail against you to become fearful (Neh. 6:5-9). Be strong; pray for encouragement to go through.
  17. The next thing is to employ character defamation of the leader in order that the followers might lose confidence in him and quit the work (Neh. 6:10-14). Again, remain courageous and pray for boldness so that this shouldn’t get to you. Pray for the spirit of discernment for a well-respected Seer was used to deceive Nehemiah, but it didn’t work.

The walls were completed! The great stride was achieved! It was so great that the enemies and the heathens were able to recognized that God must have helped them (Neh. 6:15-16).

May you experience great strides in Jesus name.

May the heathens and even your enemies know that God had worked for you this year in Jesus name.

Delivered at RCCG Everlasting Father’s Arena, York on January 19th 2014