Text: James 5.17
Have you ever thought that life was easier for someone else?
Don’t you love the transparency with which God’s Word describes real men and women? On almost every page of Scripture, you meet people “just like us.”
Take Elijah, for example. James 5.17 says that God's prophet Elijah was “a man with a nature like ours.” We meet him at a point of real desperation in 1 Kings, and from his life we see this truth: even the godliest people get discouraged and willing to give up everything at times.
There are ways to guard against taking the full plunge into this “desperate giving up moment”. This week we will see 3 attitudes that led Elijah to his Dark Days, and next week we will see what we can do revert it, but first, let’s get some bad advice out of the way:
Find a place by yourself. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah had just come off a major victory. He was physically exhausted and emotionally spent. He sat under a juniper tree—an almost lifeless, leafless shrub. So why was Elijah sitting under that tree? I’ll tell you—he wanted to be by himself. The fact is that in our dark days we will be tempted to shut out something that we need most: people who love us and want to support us. Listen, those dark clouds are not going away as long as you are trying to do life on your own. Honestly consider the answers to these hard questions:
· Do you have fewer personal friends than you had a year ago?
· When you come home, do you often retreat away from your family?
· Are you skipping small group or avoiding getting into one?
· Is your worst nightmare to be trapped in a corner by someone who loves you and is asking what’s wrong?
If you want to invite desperation and the “Give up feeling”, find a place by yourself and ignore help.
Focus on the negative. Everyone faces both negative and positive things in life, but notice how Elijah focused on the negative. In 1 Kings 19:4, he had lost his grip on the truth. He basically says, “I am left alone.” [No, he wasn’t.] “I am no better than my fathers. I have accomplished nothing. I have wasted my whole life.” Hear this: No one accomplishes all they want to, but if you are serving Christ, pouring out your life for the glory of God to the best of your ability, then you are accomplishing everything you need to. Practice letting God’s Word inform your emotions—not the other way around.
Forget God’s provision. Isn’t this the same guy who God fed for three years with just a loaf of bread and a jar of oil? Isn’t this the guy who won a major victory when God poured down fire from heaven, and the same guy who killed 450 false prophets and obliterated idolatry in front of the home crowd at high noon?! Elijah had seen a few miracles. It wasn’t like God had never come through for him. Don’t you want to say, “Hey, Elijah! God has never failed you, man! Why are you doubting Him?”
But the same happens to us, so it is time to count the blessings of the Lord in our lives and feed ourselves with His presence and everything that God already did and will continue to do in our lives.
God wants us to be free to know Him. It is time to run from a life far from God an His principles and start to have the exciting and amazing abundant life that God has for us. Would you like that? So, let’s pray!