Last year Liz and I visited the beautiful city of Verona in Italy, which is frequently associated with the Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet romance.
It is a fantastic place to visit because it actually is a real, modern functioning city with many remains from its glorious past. We walked from the Verona Arena, an amphitheater built by the Romans in the first century, to a street lined with the most famous fashion brands in the world or to some wonderful restaurants.
One thing that caught our attention were the various gates that once controlled the access to this walled city.
Looking at the Porta Nuova, shown in the picture above, I was thinking that walls gave the city protection against the enemies and they created an identity for the people living there, while the gates provided controlled interaction with the world outside.
The walls and the gates provided separation, not isolation.
I have recently studied the book of Nehemiah from the Old Testament and there I read about a time when the people of Jerusalem were coming back, after many years of captivity in Babylon, to a destroyed city.
With no walls the city was vulnerable, the people had no identity, and it was difficult to worship God the way their ancestors had done, with all the uncontrolled traffic going thorough.
Besides learning some great leadership lessons from Nehemiah who guided the rebuilding of the walls in only 52 days, I could find many other valuable life lessons in this book.
The same way God wanted the devotion of the people of Jerusalem, He wants it from us today.
But it may be difficult to have a relationship with Him when we have so much traffic going through. We can get busy very easily, and not everything that goes through our life helps that relationship. Not everything honors Him.
We need a wall. A spiritual wall.
We need the protection from the enemies that it provides…
We need the identity that it creates…
We need the focus that it brings.
Notice that I am not talking about “isolation”. I am talking about “separation”.
Verona and Jerusalem had intense interaction with the world through their gates, but it was controlled.
The gates could be opened during the day, when they could see who and what is coming and going, and closed at night.
Do you have some vulnerable areas in your life, where the enemy can easily attack because the wall has crumbled?
We’d better get busy building or repairing our wall, if we want to honor our creator with our lives.