Self-denial does not come naturally. It is a learned virtue (often hard-learned), encouraged by few and modelled by even fewer, especially among those who are what we've come to know as Type A personalities.
Insight for Today
Written by Chuck Swindoll, these encouraging devotional thoughts are published seven days per week.
The Lord strengthens those who put their trust in Him. If we are not grounded in the Word of God and seeking Him daily as our source of strength and knowledge for the future, we, too, can easily fall prey to the lure of the occult.
Few in the history of the Church possessed this quality of passionate heroism in greater measure than Martin Luther. It's been asserted that he was, perhaps, as fearless a man as ever lived.
If you are a child of God, He will not cast you out of His family. But if you are stubbornly refusing to obey Him, continuing to walk your own way, He will bring severe discipline upon you. He loves you too much to ignore your actions.
God has not designed us to live like hermits in a cave. He has designed us to live in friendship, fellowship, and community with others. That's why the Church, the Body of Christ, is so very important, for it is there that we are drawn together in love and mutual encouragement.
God showed Elijah that he still had a job to do—that there was still a place for him. Disillusioned and exhausted though he was, he was still God's man and God's choice for "such a time as this" (Esther 4:14).
Why did Elijah fear Jezebel's intimidating threats? Why did he run away from his long-standing priority of serving God and hide in fear under the shadow of that solitary tree, deep in the wilderness?
Elijah had to get his eyes back on the Lord. That was absolutely essential. He had been used mightily, but it was the Lord who made him mighty. He stood strong against the enemy, but it was the Lord who had given him the strength.
James doesn't say, "Elijah was a mighty prophet of God." He doesn't say, "Elijah was a powerful worker of miracles." He doesn't say, "Elijah was a model no man can match." James says, "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours."
Do you live expectantly? Do the little things excite you? Do you imagine the improbable and expect the impossible? Life is full and running over with opportunities to see God's hand in little things. Only the most sensitive of His servants see them, smile, and live on tiptoe.