Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.
Elijah was no spiritual superman. James 5:17 says, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.” He was a regular guy. He struggled with depression, despair, temptation, and doubts. Yet God used him in a powerful way to influence his nation. Why? Let’s look at three foundational qualities of this ordinary person who chose to have an extraordinary life.
First, Elijah was a man of passion. He was passionate about upholding God’s reputation in an unbelieving world. Elijah’s passion burned especially hot against King Ahab, Jezebel, and the prophets of Baal who denied the true God and elevated a false god. We see this when Elijah burst on the scene, unafraid to stand toe-to-toe with the king of Israel. Elijah told Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word” (1 Kings 17:1). To confront the king and queen and their false god took guts. When Elijah said, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives,” he was expressing his passion for the one true God. Elijah lived with an overwhelming sense of God’s presence that fueled his passion for following God.
Second, Elijah was a man of purpose. Elijah’s purpose was to make God known. The name Elijah means “The Lord is my God.” Imagine growing up hearing, “The-Lord-is-my-God, come to dinner!” Don’t you think that would inform your purpose in life? Parents, do not underestimate the spiritual impact you can have on your children. Elijah’s purpose gave him great courage. Because Elijah had a purpose that came from the Lord, he knew he had nothing to fear from Ahab. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Courage comes from the certainty of your calling. Elijah–like each of us–had a God-given work to do. And he knew that no one could touch one hair of his head until that work was finished.
Third, Elijah was a man of prayer. James 5:17-18 says Elijah “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.” The secret of Elijah’s success was his belief in the power of prayer. The phrase “prayed earnestly” can be literally translated, “He prayed with prayer.” In other words, prayer was a regular part of Elijah’s life. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul said to “pray without ceasing.” Literally, pray “with the frequency of a persistent, hacking cough.” Elijah had a holy tickle in his throat that caused him to cry out to God. And God used him because of it.
Passion, purpose, and prayer–those were the foundation stones of Elijah’s life and ministry.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing the Extraordinary Life” 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.