Lesson 9 -- Fourth Quarter 1992
November 1, 1992
© Copyright 1992, Christian Light Publications
Faith doesn't stop with mere believing. Elijah believed the prophets of Baal were wrong. He believed Israel's rulers were wrong. He believed the Israelites were wrong. He believed God was right. He believed everyone should turn back to God. He believed God would show them just how wrong they all were. And he believed God would use him to set the stage for accomplishing precisely that. In short, Elijah had faith in God. So he acted on that faith. His faith in God enabled him to risk failure, humiliation, and death.
What of your beliefs? When was the most recent time you acted in the defense and promotion of those beliefs? (Not because they are yours, mind you, but because they are biblical!) Would you risk popularity and reputation to act on your faith? Let's keep this practical and real close to home. I'm not thinking right now of your relationship to the world or the older generation; I have your relationship to your peers on my heart. "Ah," you protest, "I'll witness to the world and I'll improve on the older generation, but don't expect me to upset the fruit basket in the youth group!" Hmmmm. Then God will have to find His Elijah somewhere else in somebody else. However, if you are that Elijah, let me make some suggestions that may become the 2x4's in the framework of your message. (If God touches your heart with something different, listen.)
Gossip. Have you ever confessed it? Would you rebuke it? This has to be one of the grossest and most damaging sins we accept. In Leviticus 19:16 and 1 Timothy 5:13, God specifically forbids this. The person who refuses this sinful habit finds it more natural to come into the presence of the Lord (Psalm 15:3). Gossip kindles strife (Proverbs 26:20). Gossip produces deep wounds (Proverbs 26:22). Are you ready, Elijah?
Fastidiousness. God expects all things to be done decently and in order, but is there not some kind of limit somewhere? Just how much time should be invested in ironing that dress, vacuuming this car, adjusting that strand of hair, pumping iron, or preening before the mirror? This raises the issues of priorities, stewardship of time, and life focus. We are instructed of the short-term value of bodily exercise (1 Timothy 4:8). We should take this as a caution against a general "pickyness" in the temporal things at the expense of the more valuable eternal things.
Dissention. Of the wrong sort, of course. God hates the sowers of discord (Proverbs 6:19). A different form of the Hebrew word for discord enables us to see its relationship with scornfulness (Proverbs 22:10), strife (Proverbs 26:21), and pride (Proverbs 28:25). Chide your peers who are guilty of challenging authority and questioning our godly heritage. Well, Elijah?
Music. Hail the "Old Faithful" of thrills! From time immemorial it has been lifting spirits, charging emotions, and priming bodies. Contemporary "gospel" music is most adept at the last two and because of it, has trapped many a youth in search of a "kosher" thrill.
Entertainment. Youth has few "sacred cows"; behold one. Talk shows, mysteries, sports, novels, travel, games, cruising, computer programs, concerts--a myriad of entertainment opportunities! God needs Elijah's to echo James 5:5 and 1 Timothy 5:6. These verses speak of giving one's self to pleasure and leading a life devoted to sensual gratification. Where is your neck, Elijah?
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