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Elijah: Finding Yourself in the Fire

I have a firepit in my front yard. I love it! Fire has a way of mesmerizing anyone close. It draws neighbors and pulls in friends. Fire is intriguing, unpredictable and it can be dangerous. Time slows down when our family sits around a fire. With friends, we can start telling stories and it doesn’t take long for everyone to share a memorable experience with fire. I believe the Christian life should be explained like this experience around the fire pit in my front yard. Mesmerizing for those close, unpredictable, intriguing, all-consuming and draws people in.

Elijah experienced the fire of God in this way and even today it challenges our apathy and indecisive commitments.

1 Kings 18:21, 24 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word…you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”

We can only live on the fence for so long. Are you in? Out? Undecided? Following Jesus is not like cheering for a local sports team or picking a favorite restaurant or flavor of ice cream. All of these examples are external options we can quickly change without significant ramifications. Following Jesus is all or nothing. In or out. Fully embraced or rejected. There is no middle ground. How long will you go limping between two different opinions?

Elijah is not on the fence. He calls on the prophets of Baal to “prove it” and sets up a challenge where he banks his reputation and life on God pulling through. Either Baal will consume a sacrifice with fire or the Lord will. Who will have power over the weather to end the draught and bring down fire from heaven? The stage is set and Baal is directly challenged because of his claim to be the god of storm.[1]

1 Kings 18:38-39 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”

The sacrifice Elijah offered was consumed with fire, it was undeniably impacted, and people left knowing God was powerful because He showed up in the fire. We no longer offer burnt sacrifices, but are called to a much higher commitment to be living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2). We are a sacrifice set on fire with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2-4). Do people leave their interactions with us knowing Jesus is powerful? Fire from heaven burns within us as Christians, as disciples, as living sacrifices. Is your life simply about you and how cool you are? Or is it a sacrifice set on fire as an opportunity for people to walk away knowing the real power of Jesus? We are the sacrifices the Holy Spirit has ignited to impact our neighborhoods and the world.

Q. Do the adjectives you use to describe a bon fire hold true for your walk with Jesus?

Q. Read Romans 12:1-2, what is a living sacrifice life consumed with?

[1] DeVries, S. J. (2003). 1 Kings (2nd ed, Vol. 12, p. 216). Dallas: Word, Inc.


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