Today we continue to reflect on what we have learned from our study of the life of Elijah.
3. Beware of counterfeit gods.
This was the very reason why God raised up Elijah and sent him to confront king Ahab. Idolatry is when you give high reverence to something other than God. It is the ultimate betrayal of the God who created us in his image. We live in a time of many counterfeit gods that seek to deceive and seduce. Money can be an idol. So can your job. Or your family. Or even your ministry. But the Lord’s command is clear and strong: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
When it comes to idolatry, the danger is not in an item or a thing… the danger is in us. We are all looking for something to worship and serve. We are all searching for something that will give us meaning and purpose and identity. Just as Elijah put to death the false prophets of Baal, so we are to put to death anything in our life that resists God or rebels against God’s standards.
“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5.19-21)
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.” (Colossians 3.5-6)
4. Spiritual warfare is real.
Like Elijah, we must stand strong and fight. We are involved in a very serious battle between the truth of God and the deception and lies of the evil one. If you want to live a significant life for the kingdom of God, every step of the journey will be contested. If you want to live a life of purpose and significance, you will have to fight for it. The prophets of Baal opposed Elijah in his day; the agents of darkness oppose us in our day.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6.12)
5. We need training.
Spiritual maturity is learned, not given. Early in his prophetic ministry, God sent Elijah east of the Jordan to be being trained, prepared, and developed. Elijah’s trust in God was trained. So were his motives, his mental toughness, and his prayer life. His R Factor was trained. He was trained how to respond to enormously challenging situations with faith and courage. The lesson here is that in order for spiritual growth and maturity to happen, there is a path we must follow and there are skills and disciplines we must proactively build. We are either on that path or off that path. Be On Path!
“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4.7-8)
The Lord is calling.