Word Power (part 2)
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
1 Kings 19:3-4
Last week we began discussing the power of words and how they can encourage, destroy, and even change the direction of people’s lives. We looked at Elijah, a powerful prophet in the Old Testament, who by all accounts had everything going for him. But when his actions got to the queen Jezebel, she sent a strong message to Elijah, basically ensuring that she would kill him for what he’d done.
And this is how Elijah responded:
How did Elijah react to Jezebel's words?
Looking back at the passage, we see that Jezebel's words:
- Brought fear
- Caused Elijah to forget what he knew about God
- Caused Elijah to run and hide
- Caused Elijah to want to DIE
What a change! Can you imagine? Put yourself in Elijah’s sandals for just a moment. He just saw God show up in a very big way. And yet Jezebel’s words threw him into a pit of self-doubt that was so bad that he wanted to die. Have you ever felt like that?
I don’t know about you, but it is comforting for me to hear that even great people of the Bible who were used by God in big ways sometimes doubted and feared and were depressed. I’ve been there. The world sometimes is overwhelming. And the things we hear can cause us to do some things we never imagined.
How can a man who has seen God work miracle after miracle find himself in a cave hiding from the very people he had represented God against the priest of Baal?
I believe the key is whom are we listening to. Elijah stopped listening to God and started listening to words of Jezebel. In other words, Elijah listed to the words of Jezebel and believed them. Once Elijah accepted Jezebel’s words; his behavior followed.
The words of Jezebel changed the direction of his life. Jezebel’s words were used to manipulate him through fear and despair.
If words can have this effect on Elijah, there is a good chance it can happen to us.
My dad used to say, “a bird can fly around your head but you don’t have to let him build a nest”. What this means is you can’t help what you think about or control what others say but you don’t have to embrace these thoughts either. For years, I did not know God had given me the power to choose what I think and what I believe. The biggest problem is when we believe what they are saying is true because we “feel” it is.
As a follower of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit to direct us to truth. (John 16:13). Then it’s up to us to choose whom we will listen to. Here are a few things we can do to embrace God’s truth and listen to Him:
Determine where here is.
One of the first things God does is He asks Elijah, "What are you doing here?"
This is a great place to start. But we must be honest where we are.
Whenever we get depressed, hopeless, or insecure, we must think back to the events in our life that has led us to that place and call it out.
Identify the lie(s).
At some level we have believed something that is not true—about God, ourselves, others, etc.—and we need to be aware of our tendency to blame others like Elijah did. To identify the lies, we can pray, read God’s word, practice reflection, and seek wise counsel. I believe the only way to know the truth is to know what God says about us and about Himself. To get to this truth, you have to read His Word and ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the real truth. Then you replace the lie you’ve held with this truth that is revealed.
Replace the lie with truth.
Identifying the lie is not enough; we must replace the lie with truth. We begin with God and move outward.
- Start with who God is - allow God to reveal himself to you (intimacy of a whisper)
- Remember who you are
- Remember what God has called you to
- Deal with the circumstance
We have a choice: We can run, feel sorry for ourselves, blame God and miss out on what God has for us; OR we can stand in the presence of God and allow God to show us His truth. His truth sets us free. We then are free to be the woman God has called and gifted (equipped) us to be.
So, the question is - will you believe the lies or will you stand on truth?
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