The Lord has many lessons to teach us. We can learn through obedience to His word, through our personal experience, or through the experience of others if we have “ears to hear”. The Old Testament prophet, Elijah, was greatly used of God. He saw the dead raised to life, miraculous provision for the widow woman, fire from heaven called down on the evening sacrifice in a demonstration to out-wit the prophets of Baal and much more. After destruction of the prophets of Baal, Elijah received a threat to his life from Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife, (1 Kings 19). Elijah fled in great fear to the wilderness. One asks the question, “How did this man of God, used so mightily by Him, end up begging God to take his life?” Elijah’s dialogue with the Lord reveals the answer. 1 Kings 19:4 records “…..he sat down under a juniper tree and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is enough, now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” Elijah had been an instrument in the hand of God to demonstrate God’s power, but somewhere along the way, Elijah had taken the credit, God’s glory, to himself. Whilst being mightily used of God, he had obviously entertained the thought that he was better than his fathers, (pride), instead of seeing that he was simply a tool of the Lord for God’s divine purposes. All the credit and glory belonged to God, but at some stage Elijah had touched it and God’s grace was withdrawn, resulting in him fleeing from a woman into the wilderness, depressed and wanting his life to end. Elijah was replaced by Elisha.
When I am in blessing, there is great danger in thinking God is blessing me because of something in me. God blesses for His glory and divine purposes because He is wonderful, not because I am. The Lord wants to bless us, heal us, give to us from His abundance, demonstrate the abundant life of His Son through us but the purpose is to demonstrate that He is wonderful. I cannot earn His blessing but must learn to be a good steward of it. God blesses me because He loves me. What God blesses, He does not necessarily sanction. He meets people where they are, wanting to teach them to walk in His ways. The Children of Israel demanded they have a King to rule over them. This was never God’s will for them, He did not want them to be like all the other nations, He
wanted them to look to Him for guidance, but God gave them what they asked for. They did not realise it was “second best”, but God met them in their choice. They limited God by their choice.
We can learn a tremendous lesson from Elijah’s folly. We are all in the School of the Spirit. In the natural world, a child goes to school and in the fullness of time, eventually graduates and is then, hopefully, ready for adult life. However, it is different in the School of the Spirit. We are always learning and if we stop, we stagnate. Many times we discover we have to “unlearn” what we have taken on in error, as the Holy Spirit guides us into God’s ways which result in freedom, peace and joy, the hallmarks of the life of His Son, Jesus.
In the School of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit teaches us to be good stewards of our heart attitudes. We may often slip, but the Lord brings His loving correction, which, if we heed in humility, will take us to a higher place to walk and fellowship with Him. 1 Corinthians 10:12 “Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.” Our standing is in the finished work of Christ alone, I have no standing of my own. My identity as a child of the Living God, is all in Jesus. Acts 17:28 “In Him we live and move and have our being. I am the righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus. The School of the Spirit reminds me that I am not my own to live as I please, I belong to Another. “….You are not your own, you are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s,” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
As we journey along life’s highway we are learning to recognise the enabling grace of God in our lives. 1 Peter 4:10 “As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” The “manifold” grace of God means “much and varied”. In stewardship of this gift of grace, we recognise it is the gift of God for kingdom living. In humility I receive the gift and in the same spirit, share it with others. With a thankful heart, I give praise to the Lord for the life of His Son, living His life through me……only as yet, in measure, but on the way to fullness. John 1:16 declares “Of his fullness have we all received…” God’s power for daily living…..all for and to, His glory, until we reach that glorious day spoken of in Ephesians 4:13 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”