At the end of those three years, Elijah and 850 prophets of Baal have a contest. They wanted to see who could call fire down from heaven.
The prophets of Baal tried to call fire down from heaven, their god did not come through. Elijah prays and fire comes down from heaven, Israel repents, and a revival begins. When Ahab tells Jezebel everything Elijah had done. Jezebel sends a death threat to Elijah.
1 Kings 19:1-3 says, “And he was afraid, and got up and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah; and he left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat under a broom tree; and he asked for himself to die, and said, ‘Enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.’ “
One would think he would be bold after what he had witnessed. But it only took one person to make him afraid. What you see in Elijah is the downward spiral of depression.
Some depression is chemical, and medicines are needed. However, so much of our depression is spiritual. You were created body and soul, a psychosomatic unity. Therefore, your spiritual affects your physical and your physical affects your spiritual.
The gospel allows us to say we are not ok. But the gospel does not leave us there. The gospel brings healing and wholeness!
There comes a point where you need to decide to do what you do not want to do. Your emotions are not the truth, the Word of God is the truth. Your mind and will are the guardrails of your emotions.
THE SPIRAL OF DEPRESSION
When we get depleted, we are ripe for depression.
Elijah had been in a massive spiritual battle with the Baal prophets; he was emotionally spent, and he had run for twenty miles. He is physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted.
As our nation gets unhealthier physically, we see more emotional wellness issues. Your physical condition affects your emotional and spiritual condition.
When you get depleted and disappointed be watchful.
Elijah takes part in the beginning of a revival. He believed that the revival was going to extend to all the nation of Israel, and Ahab and Jezebel would no longer rule Israel. Then, Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah. His expectations did not become reality.
What do you do when your disappointment is over God not answering the way you desire?
Crawford Lorrits said, “Discouragement often reveals our idols.”
Often, when we are disappointed, we turn to our idols. For some, that is a pill that numbs the pain, for others it is turning to a person, or a drink, or a game, or social media to simply fill the time and take their mind off the hurt. Idols always promise and under deliver.
The danger zone is when you disengage.
Elijah does what we are all prone to do when we are discouraged, we isolate.
Isolation kills but community conquers. When you feel discouraged, check your emotions with your mind and will, and engage with people.
Every predator will attempt to separate a victim from the herd, Satan is compared to a lion that is seeking those whom he may devour.
When hope is lost, peace is gone, you get depression.
Usually at this state, you become super critical of others, many times self-harm becomes a coping mechanism. If you are struggling with depression, remember that you are loved, you are valuable, you are not a mistake!
Tell someone that you are struggling, and if someone tells you that, take it seriously.
The gospel opens a door for us to live a Jesus quality of life.
THREE ACTIONS TO GET PEACE OVER DEPRESSION
1. Talk to the Lord
1 Kings 19:9 says, “Then he came there to a cave and spent the night there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to Him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’.”
Elijah is having a conversation with the Lord. God knew why Elijah was in that cave, the reason He asks Elijah that question is so that Elijah could reflect.
Faith is not denial, it is defiance. Faith is realizing where you are now and understanding that there is a God who makes promises and always keeps those promises.
We come here on Sunday, and we pray, sing, we hear the truth, and we leave fired up, because we are focused on Him. Then by midweek, all the fears, anxieties, come rushing back, because we took our eyes off Him.
You need to talk with the Lord. Be honest, be open with Him. When you stop talking to the Lord, it is so easy to get sucked into the downward spiral of depression.
2. You must engage in biblical community.
Elijah is going to learn that he is not alone. There are at least 7,000 people in Israel that have not bowed to Baal.
It is easy to get in bad habits and isolate. The antidote to these things is biblical community. A few ways to engage with biblical community is through corporate worship, Sunday school, the sermons, taking the Lord Supper; a believer needs all these things.
Biblical community is fundamental for the Christian life.
3. Preach the gospel over and over to yourself.
What God does in Elijah’s life is to speak the truth over the lies.
When we listen to ourselves more than we speak truth to ourselves, it is so easy to allow the enemy to sneak in. 80% of your thoughts are reoccurring and 80% of these are negative.
The primary job of Scripture is to help us install the right narrative into our hearts and minds.
Martin Luther said, “Preach to yourself to drown out the loud voice of despair with the louder voice of the gospel.”
When you are at rock bottom, you are perfectly positioned for Jesus to work. Many times, when you are at your lowest, God is ready to work His best.
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org and make sure you subscribe to receive these weekly encouragements in your inbox.