It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
As this world continues to deteriorate, Christians can get discouraged. That is why we need to understand that God is able to change the culture. By ourselves we can’t change anybody; God is the one who changes people. But God has chosen to partner with us in His mission to change the world. Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” How do we partner with God effectively to change our culture? By following the pattern of Elijah. There are three things Elijah did that we also must do if we are going to partner with God in changing the world.
First, we must trust in the power of God’s Word. When Elijah stood before Ahab and Jezebel and declared that it would not rain for three and half years because of their idolatry, he was quoting Deuteronomy 11 and 28, when God told Israel that if they followed after other gods, He would turn off the blessing from heaven. Elijah based his message on God’s Word. The writer of Hebrews said, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (4:12). People are not changed by your words or my words, but they are changed by the word of God.
Second, we must practice the power of prayer. James 5:16-18 says this about Elijah: “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” If we are going to influence our culture, then we have to begin on our knees. Show me a Christian who is effective in public, and I will show you somebody who is effective in their private prayer time with God.
Third, we must depend on the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s fingerprints are all over Elijah’s life, whether in his power to raise the widow’s son or his ability to call down fire from heaven. But did you know that you and I have a benefit Elijah didn’t have? We have the power of the permanent indwelling Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people for a particular purpose, but they didn’t enjoy the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:16-17, “The Father . . . will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” If you are a Christian, you have the permanent indwelling Holy Spirit, who is working in your life not only to make you more like Christ but also to influence others. The Holy Spirit empowers you to be God’s representative in the world, changing the world one life at a time.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Convictions That Will Change Your World” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.