Just Like Me
“17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” James 5:17-18 NIV (emphasis mine)
This is a comforting verse to me… a very comforting verse. “17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are.” Elijah was a human like Ty? Yep. Really? Uh huh. Elijah? The same guy who called down fire from Heaven? Mmm hmm. Elijah? The guy who spit the waters of the Jordan? Yep. Elijah who stood up against the 300 prophets of Baal… and succeeded? That’s right. That Elijah, was a human being… just like me… just like you.
In this verse James says that Elijah was like you and me.
Elijah had his own fears and insecurities.
Elijah had his own doubts and bad habits.
Elijah had days that when he didn’t want to keep on going.
Elijah had times when he thought he wasn’t good enough.
This verse has enormous implications. ““17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are.”
Do you believe it? Do you really?
If you believe this verse, it is a great comfort. It is comforting to me because it says that even the greatest characters in the Bible, were flawed and wrestled with problems just like we do. Elijah was the prophet associated most with powerful manifestations from God. Still he, like you and I, had migraine headaches. He dealt with pimples and a runny nose. Like me, he had days when he doubted himself. He had days when he doubted God. He wasn’t a superhero saints that could not identify with me. He wrestled with fears and insecurity… just like me! Just like you! What’s the difference between us and Elijah? Not much.
What can we learn from Elijah? James tells us that Elijah was a man of earnest, persistent prayer. The power in his life was not from himself, but from a close connection with God. He remained in close communication with God. When God spoke, Elijah believed God. When Elijah prayed for the rain to stop, it did. When he prayed for the rain to start, it did.
The power was not in Elijah’s prayers, but in the One whom he prayed too. Power was not found in the language Elijah used… after all, he was “a human being, even as we are.” Elijah tapped into the power and very heart of God because he gave himself over to persistent prayer. He spent time alone with God. He wasn’t always connected to his ipod, iphone, or ipad. He didn’t always have the tv on nor was he constantly surfing the internet. He communed with God.
As I write this, it almost sounds heretical to compare myself to the Old Testament Prophets like Elijah, Moses, Abraham, Daniel. After all, these guys parted waters of the Red Sea, became a Father of Nations, overcame lion’s dens, and raised the dead!
Maybe James knew that the early church felt the same way. Maybe he knew they would put the prophets on a pedestal. James 5:17, provides a sobering reminder that comparing ourselves to the Old Testament Prophets it is not heretical at all. The same Spirit that moved through Elijah can and wants to move through me too. The same Spirit of God that empowered Elijah to call down fire from Heaven is the Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave and is also the same Spirit that comforts me when I don’t believe in myself. The same Spirit of God that moved through Elijah to overcome the prophets of Baal and call God’s people back to Himself is the same Spirit that resides in me when I take the risk of telling someone the Gospel. The same Spirit that gave Elijah boldness is the Spirit that leads and empowers me when I serve Him at the local church or with my kids. Amazing!
Holy Spirit thank You for living in and empowering me. Thank You that I have the naure of Jesus living in me, because You live in me. May Your Spirit increase as my own sin nature decreases. May I grow more and more into Your image and Your likeness. I believe today, that the same Spirit that overcame the lions’ den… lives in me. I believe today, that the same Spirit that parted the Red Sea… lives in me. I believe today, that the same Spirit that raised people from the dead… lives in me. I believe today, that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave… lives in me. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ I pray… amen.