walk in the word
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours” James 5:17
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. James 5:17 says that Elijah, God’s great prophet, was a man with a nature like ours. You’ll meet him in a time of real depression in 1 Kings 17-19. From his life we see this truth: even the most godly people get down at times. Read on to discover how you, too, can get some real victory over depression.
But first, let’s get the bad advice out of the way. Here it is—three easy steps to depression:
#1 Find a place by yourself. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah had just come off this major victory. He was physically exhausted and emotionally spent. Verse five says that he sat under a juniper tree, an almost lifeless, leafless shrub.So why was Elijah sitting under that tree? I’ll tell you—the dude wanted to be by himself. “I don’t want any people around. People hurt me by what they say and do.” The tragic fact is that depression shuts out the thing we need most—people. We shut out those who love us, who want to support us, and people who can give us a reality check.
Friend—those dark clouds are not going to leave you as long as you are trying to do life on your own. Let me ask you five questions. Answer honestly now.
· Do you have fewer personal friends than you had a year ago?
· Are you spending fewer evenings out?
· 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 being trapped in a corner by someone who loves you,who is asking, “What is wrong?”
If you want to get depressed, find a place by yourself.
#2 Focus on the negative. Everyone faces negative and positive things in life. The way depression works is that you get really focused on the negative. Before you know it, you take some little thing and make it a big thing.
Look how Elijah focused on the negative. In 1 Kings 19:4,he had lost his grip on the truth. He says, I alone am left. (No he wasn’t.) I am no better than my fathers. I have accomplished nothing. I have wasted my whole life. Now just hear this: No one accomplishes all they want to, but everyone accomplishes more than they realize. If you are a servant of Christ, seeking to be a faithful member of your family, and you are pouring your life out for the glory of God as best you know how, hear me. You are accomplishing a lot. And God is pleased.
#3 Forget God’s provision. I’m sorry, but is this the same guy who was fed by God for three years from a loaf of bread and a jar of oil? Is this the same guy who won a major victory when God poured down fire from heaven and 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! He may have kept you waiting a few times, but He has always done it in the best time and way. Why are you doubting Him?”
We do the same thing. We forget God’s faithful provision and how good He has been to us. We forget who God is and how He never changes and never fails.
Choosing the cure to depression.
The message on the broadcast today is “Meeting God in My Depression.” That is exactly what Elijah did—He met God and let God change him. Is that what you need to do? Ask yourself if you need to . . .
1. Let God confront you. In verse 9, Elijah slept in a cave and God came to him and said, Elijah, what are you doing here? Then, in spite of Elijah’s lame excuses, the Lord ministered to him. I love that. God wasn’t angry or judgmental; He just ministered grace to him.
2. Let God reveal Himself to you. Watch how God showed Himself strong to Elijah. God said, Just go stand outside, dude. “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, a still small voice.” People, that is sweet. We live in a day when people are clamoring. “Make my eyes go wow, God, and then I’ll believe in You.” But Elijah had seen the wild stuff and he was like, “whatever.” But then God whispered, It’s Me, Elijah. It’s going to be OK. You can trust Me. And Elijah got fired up.
3. Let God provide for you. After He revealed Himself to Elijah in a small gentle voice, God supernaturally sent food and rest. God will minister to you and heal your depression if you will receive His provision—from His Word or from a friend, a piece of wisdom that He brings to your mind, a new direction, a loving embrace. Let God confront you. Let God reveal Himself to you and receive His provision.
4. Immediately do what God says. God gave some specific instructions to Elijah. Get up, man! Get up and go! It is all in verses 15 through 17. What is God saying you need to do? Do it immediately.
5. Get involved with people again. After this, God sent Elijah back to civilization. God said, Yet I have reserved seven thousand people in Israel who have never bowed to Baal who are as faithful as you are. Go back and get with those people.
What is it you need to do today to get back in the game? Ask God to give you the courage to meet Him every day this year.
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