Devotional—The Struggle of Sanctification—Sonya Johnson
“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 1 Kings 19:4
The Old Testament has real-life accounts of humanity’s failures and victories. In reading 1 Kings chapters 18 and 19, the prophet Elijah witnessed the power of God in three outstanding demonstrations of God’s Omnipotence. The first event was “The Showdown” with the heathen prophets of Baal, and the second is Elijah praying for rain after his prayer that brought a three-year drought to the land.
Still, the third demonstration of God’s power is the least known and is found in 1 Kings 18, verse 46: “Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot to the entrance of Jezreel.” A chariot with horses had a speed of 35-40 mph, and Elijah ran right past the king’s chariot.
When Queen Jezebel became aware of the slain prophets of Baal, she sent the message to Elijah that she would take his life in revenge. With fear and despair, he ran to the wilderness. Elijah was an obedient man—when he prayed for a drought on the land and fire to come down from heaven, God honored his prayers.
Despite all of the miraculous wonders that God used him to perform the previous day [and throughout his life] when his life was threatened, he forgot about the power of God. Like Elijah, most of us forget the former miracles when facing adversity.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.…” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
God allows the extreme heat of trials and sorrows to enter our lives because our characters are impure. As the goldsmith puts gold into the fire to remove the impurities, we experience ongoing tribulations until our characters are made into the likeness of Christ. Our present character [which reflects the desires of our hearts] is not ready for eternal life.
Trials identify that God is preparing us to live with Him forever. Recently a Pastor stated, “If you are a Christian and living an easy life, then you have something to be concerned about—ask yourself, “Do I love God with all of my heart, soul, and mind?” Living in God’s purpose requires total surrender, humility, and obedience even when facing our most severe battles.
God honors the righteous, although our emotions often lead us to forget His great love in fiery trials. Remember, Elijah was translated and taken to heaven.
Prayer: God, we desire to live a life of obedience according to Your will and plans. Please reveal the spiritual gifts so we may use them for Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.