This past week in my church a recurring theme kept ringing out.
In our prayer time before service, during our worship, and even at the end of our service when we took up a HUGE offering for our property…the theme of abounding faith was ringing out clearly.
Specifically, the example of Elijah (1 Kings 18:20-40 ESV) and the prophets of Ba’al was the primary subject…and more specifically how he had so much faith that God would consume his offering that he dumped barrels upon barrels of water on the sacrifice…ensuring that man would not be able to ignite the sacrifice in his own power…with his own fire.
One thing that has always been interesting to me though is what happens next with Elijah.
After watching God consume the sacrifice, God then empowers Elijah to slay the 450 prophets of Ba’al single-handedly. And while that is cool…that’s still not the most interesting part to me. The most interesting part is that soon after these events, Elijah finds himself running in fear into the wilderness…not because he’s being chased by an army…but because he was threatened by a single person…Jezebel.
Sure, she was the queen. Sure, she was pure evil.
But, how can this be?
How can a man watch God consume what appears to be an inconsumable sacrifice, and then empower him to slay 450 men by his own hand…and then turn tail and run in fear of a single human being?
What happened to this man of faith??
It’s almost as if a faith vacuum swept in (pun intended) and sucked up all his faith in a single moment. In fact, it’s so bad that we then find Elijah hiding in a cave and complaining to God that he is the only faithful one left. And boy, how quickly God corrected him and pointed out that there were several thousand still loyal to Him.
In other words, Elijah lost sight of the power of God…and thus allowed a faith vacuum to come in and suck up his faith causing him to collapse in fear instead of stand boldly in faith and in the power and provision of God that he had seen ALL throughout his ministry and life.
Sadly, this is happening today.
This happens in our churches when difficult situations arise from within the body…even after those same churches have witnessed God bring them out of amazing circumstances and provide in miraculous ways.
This happens in our Christian homes as parents have watched God provide for them over and over again and suddenly something seemingly impossible comes along and they are paralyzed in fear.
We are seeing this today with the 2016 election…strong, biblically sound teachers, preachers, theologians, Christians, etc….all have read about the works of God…have seen the works of God first hand…and suddenly are paralyzed in fear of Hillary Clinton and have suddenly put away their faith for pragmatism. If anything, they’ve traded in their faith in God for faith in a politician…all out of fear.
These are just 3 examples currently happening in our religious landscape today.
But how can we unplug the faith vacuum?
How can we establish guardrails (if you will) to keep us moving toward stronger faith rather than cowering back in fear?
I will leave you with…
THREE (3) WAYS TO COMBAT THE FAITH VACUUM
1) Establish memorials and testimonies to the things God has done in your life, as well as in others lives.
Keep a journal of what God has done and when He has done it so you can look back on them when you are facing a tough moment.
Create art for your house that demonstrates or reminds you of what God has done. Date these pieces of art and display them prominently to be a reminder to you.
Testify to other people of the great things He has done so that when these same people see you struggling they can remind you of what He has done in your life.
These memorials and testimonies can and will serve as a constant reminder of what God is capable of doing. We see this example all throughout the Old Testament with the Israelites as they set up memorials to honor the work God had done in a specific place and at a specific time. This even served as a reminder for generations down the road who were not there to witness what God has done.
2) Look to the Word of God for examples of His provisions and promises and hold fast to them.
God made a lot of promises to His people throughout scripture. One only has to open the pages of the Bible to read them. And the great thing about God is…He’s a promise keeper! Not only did God promise a lot in His Word…but there are examples upon examples in the pages of the Bible demonstrating His faithfulness to His word.
3) Surround yourself with people of faith.
One thing Elijah did that was a huge mistake was to distance himself from other believers. He went and hid in the wilderness and stowed away in a cave and lamented his “being alone”.
He shouldn’t have isolated himself. This only served to bolster his feelings of being abandoned. The funny thing about it, though, was that he wasn’t the one who was abandoned…he was actually the one doing the abandoning.
Don’t take Elijah’s advice and run into isolation.
Instead of isolating yourself in troubled times…surround yourself with people of faith. People who will encourage you and help build up your faith. People who will walk with you through the entire event. People who will hold you up. People who will support you. People who will be honest and open with you.
God’s design for the Church was to be a community and not a bunch of lone wolves. So if you aren’t already connected to a local body…now is as good a time as any to make that happen.
These are but a few things a Christian can do to help set themselves up for successful and emboldened faith.
Get creative…any thing you would add to the list?