We continue our reflection on what we have learned from our study of the life of Elijah.
6. Where you stand is everything.
Elijah stood with God in opposition to the idolatry and rebellion of Ahab. King Ahab had position and power; Elijah had faith and obedience. God is not with the powerful; he is with the obedient. Elijah’s stance with God was the source of his strength. Like Elijah, we too must stand with God and not absorb the ways of the world around us. There is much we can do in our time and place in history if we stand strong.
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24.14-15)
7. Leadership matters.
Israel suffered under the self-centered, evil leadership of Ahab and Jezebel. Tragically, there are many such self-oriented “leaders” today. They pursue idols, seek their own interest, are blind to the needs of people, and are tone deaf to the truth of God. It is of enormous importance in our time that Christians who are in positions of leadership exercise that leadership with great care for people and with deep commitment to God and his kingdom.
We need leaders with a heart of wisdom and courage. Leaders who have the character to do what is right and the competence to produce results. Leaders of great strength and even greater humility.
8. Prayer matters.
Elijah prayed with focus and persistence. So should we. The ACTS framework helps focus our prayers: Adoration and praise toward the Lord. Confession of sin. Thanksgiving for his grace and gifts. Supplication as we make requests of the Lord. The persistent prayers of Elijah moved the heart of God. The Lord invites us to do the same.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5.16-18)
9. We can live by faith or we can live by fear.
Elijah lived by faith when he first confronted Ahab, and when he was east of the Jordan, and when he did battle with the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel. Elijah lived by fear when he was challenged by Jezebel. Elijah reacted to the threat of Jezebel by abandoning faith and focusing on self and circumstances. The resulting anxiety and depression almost killed him.
It is a timeless principle: Where the mind goes, the man goes. For this reason, when we begin to fear, it is imperative that we recognize that our mind/heart is focusing on the wrong thing, and then do the inner work of redirecting our mind/heart to focus on what really matters. If we continue to dwell on self & circumstances, we simply feed our fear.
Bottom line is this: It’s not about you. Self-centeredness can ruin everything. Faith empowers. Fear enslaves.
10. Seek God’s word and wisdom for answers to the questions of life.
Seek truth, not comfort. Keep in mind that truth is not always easy or convenient. Also, don’t listen to people who tell you what you want to hear; listen to people who tell you what you need to hear. Make sure you have a truth-teller in your life; someone who is willing to speak truth into your life, even when that truth is uncomfortable or even painful. Elijah was a truth-teller.
We were not created and redeemed to serve the false gods of the 21st century. We were created and redeemed to serve the one true God. May we serve the Lord faithfully and live and work every day in the spirit of Elijah.
The Lord is calling.