The Lord understands the battle we all are facing. He does not leave us unprepared or malnourished for it. Whatever it is that we need to navigate the tasks God has for us, He will provide for us. It is when we start looking to other sources that we get ourselves in trouble. When we feel depressed and seek a pill instead of God. When we feel scared and seek a therapist instead of the Word of God. When we lose our job and think the answers are in the bottom of a bottle instead of at the altar. If we are not prepared properly then the journey we face will too much for us.
This is why some people fall away or backslide. The journey that they face became too overwhelming for them and they were not prepared. They did not feast enough upon the Word of God so that they would be properly prepared to deal with the lies of the enemy. Or maybe self-pity set in, as with Elijah:
Elijah replied, "I have zealously served the L ord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too." 1Kings 19: 10 (NLT)
What is the problem with this statement from Elijah? It is too focused on "I." That is what self-pity does. It focuses you completely upon yourself. First, Elijah justifies himself before God by reminding Him how zealously he has served Him. Sound familiar? Things can come against us in our life and we too can start to take inventory of all the things we have "done" for God. We start to think that the missions trip we went on or the ministries we lead are somehow a favor for God! The other problem here is that Elijah starts comparing himself to others. While he has zealously served God, those other people have torn down His altars and killed His prophets! Once again, it is a matter of where Elijah's focus is. His focus is on himself and other people instead of on God.
Trust in the L ord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NLT)
Was Elijah trusting the Lord with all his heart? No! He trusted the threats made against him and the self pity the enemy planted in his heart. He was depending on his own understanding. He was not seeking God in this set of decisions and instead of taking the path God would have directed him too, he chose to walk into the wilderness. This is the very same danger we face today in our walk with God. We too have seen the supernatural working of God in our lives. We have seen the great victories in our lives. But realize that as soon as we get great victory, we can expect a great attack. How we respond to that attack will determine our fate. We can choose as Elijah did to go down the road of self pity and forget who it is that we serve or we can keep our eyes focused on Jesus:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12: 2-3 (NIV)
And if we are being honest here this is what it comes down to. We grow weary and we lose heart. That is what happened to Elijah. He saw the great victories but when he heard the threat made against him, he lost heart. We too can experience a great victory but lose heart when the pink slip comes. Or when the child does not home. We can forget how big the God we serve is. He is bigger than the work situation. He is bigger than the problem in your family. We simply cannot allow the weariness to settle in:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6: 9 (NIV)
Do you find yourself today sitting under a broom tree in the wilderness? Do you find yourself at a place of spiritual stagnation? Do you know that you should be doing more for the Lord but yet find yourself not being able to get there? Have you believed the lies of the enemy and allowed him to steal your joy, peace, and progress? Hear the question God asked Elijah twice in this story:
But the L ord said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 1Kings 19: 9b (NLT)
When you are stuck and God has another level for you to go to He will ask you what are you doing here? God still had tasks for Elijah. He still had work to finish before God would pass the anointing to Elisha. But it was not going to be accomplished hiding in the wilderness. God still has a work for you to do beloved. He has tasks for you to complete before He calls you home.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Philippians 3: 12-16 (NIV)
Note the words. Press on! Take hold! Forget what is behind you! Strain towards what is ahead! Win the prize! We must learn to live up to what we have already attained. Yes the enemy will come against us when we see victories through God but he is only successful if we take our eyes off of the true victor, our victor Jesus Christ.
Reverend Anthony Wade October 24, 2011