walk in the word
Category: Your Walk With God
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.” James 5:17
Even godly people get down at times. Circumstances may knock us flat. Trials take us by surprise. But the difference between people is not the intensity of the things that we go through, but how we choose to deal with those circumstances. That’s what determines who lives on the peak and who lives in the valley. The good news is that we can make our own choices.
Elijah is a good example of both choosing to live in the valley and how to climb to the mountaintop. Lest we think Elijah some superhero, James 5:17 reminds us that God’s mighty prophet was a man with a nature like ours. We see him here as he was, not like some glossy, retouched photograph.
First Kings 17-19 shows us that Elijah is going through a really down time. This week in the Weekly Walk, we’ll look at his three steps down into depression and next week, we’ll see his five steps we too can take to get out of the valley.
Let’s get the bad advice out of the way first. Here it is—three steps down 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. With no energy and no motivation, verse five says Elijah just 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. Leave me alone. I don’t want any people around; they’ll just hurt me by what they say and do. The tragic fact is that depression shuts out the thing we need most—people. When you feel depressed, you stiff-arm those who love you, who want to support you, and who can give you 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:
#2 Focus on the negative. Every one of us faces both negative and positive things in life. Depression takes control when you only focus on the negative. Before you know it, you’ve made some little thing into a really 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. (Not true.)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.
Second step down: focus on the negative.
#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?”
I know why Elijah was doubting Him; he was a man like us. We do the same thing. We forget how good God has been to us.
Third step down: Forget God’s provision.
Do you see yourself in Elijah’s responses? Hold on—good news is on the way. Next week in our series, Meeting God in…, we’ll see how Elijah got out of the valley and on to victory. I’ll give you a hint how it happened: Elijah met God and let God change him.
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