relentless pursuit


The Passage: Nehemiah 1:6-10

The Point: It’s not a mistake.

This world is full of “mistakes.” We chalk up every bad decision or problem to a mistake. It was a mistake that I didn’t put gas in the car. It was a mistake that I ate Taco Bell. It was a mistake that I lied to my spouse about what I was doing. They were all mistakes, and our lives are filled with them. I think we are far more comfortable with the word “mistake” than we are with the word “sin” because it’s a threatening word. Sin insinuates that we deserve a punishment, and we don’t like that.

Nehemiah used some strong language we tend to run from in his prayer. Phrases like “We have acted very wickedly toward you,” and “We have not obeyed the commands” (Neh. 1:6-7, NIV). He didn’t chalk it all up to a mistake. He called sin, sin. He repented for the sins of God’s people and for his own sins. It wasn’t all his fault, but it was his responsibility.

We are people with far bigger problems in our hearts and actions than we can even see. Sin is a real issue in all of us. The truth is that we do deserve the punishment, but God does not leave us there. He sent his perfect Son to pay a penalty that we rightfully deserved. He bore the weight we couldn’t carry! On his Desiring God blog, John Piper put it this way, “You are more sinful than you ever thought you were, AND you are more loved than you ever dreamed you could be.” This isn’t an excuse to look past our sin and never deal with it, but it gives us the freedom to look at the depth of our sin and be reminded of the grace that paid for it. Sin seeks to kill us, but Jesus brings us life.


  • How much did Nehemiah hate sin? What shows you that?
  • What is the difference between a mistake and a sin?
  • What is God calling you to do where you live, work, and play?
  • Is there anything holding you back? Is it sin? 


  • From what do you need to run?
  • To whom do you need to run?
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