Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Step Two Out Of THE CAVE - RENEW Your Spiritual Passion

I am now completing with the next few posts a series of postings from the life of Elijah describing THE CAVE (that place where ministry becomes misery). In this Old Testament account I see four steps out of THE CAVE. We saw the first step in my last posting - REST Your Physical Body (1 Kings 19:5-7). Now, we see Step #2:

RENEW Your Spiritual Passion (1 Kings 19:8-13). After the angel comes to Elijah and tells him to eat (as seen in my last posting) he sends Elijah to a certain location, "Horeb, the mountain of God" (1 Kings 19:8). Now what is significant about Mt Horeb? This is the same exact mountain where God appeared to Moses back in Exodus 3 and Exodus 19. It is here that God speaks to Elijah as well:

"So He (the Lord) said (to Elijah), 'Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.'" (1 Kings 19:11).

Herein lies a huge lesson that we must learn if we are going to take steps out of THE CAVE. It is essential that we return to a place in our lives and in our hearts where we can hear from God. When you are in THE CAVE it is paramount that you can distinguish the voice of God over the voice of Satan, over the voice of opposition, over the voice of isolation, over the voice of self-pity, over the voice of fear, and over the voice of hopelessness. And how was it that Elijah heard from God?

"And the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. It came about when Elijah heard it (the gentle blowing), that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah.'" (1 kings 19:11-13)

God didn't speak to Elijah through the wind or the earthquake or the fire. He spoke to him through a gentle blowing. When you are in THE CAVE, you are looking for some great BANG from heaven with the voice of God giving you clear direction or a finger appearing and writing a message to you from Him on the wall of your office. But that's not how it works.

May I remind you that the main way God is going to speak to you and bring you refreshment is through His Inspired Word. For you to to RENEW Your Spiritual Passion, you need to return to that place in your life, centered around His Word, where God speaks to you. For me, it was returning to some elementary yet needed spiritual disciplines:

For me it included several things. First, solitude. I needed to find a place at the same time each day where I could get alone with God where no one else could see me or hear me. Second, Bible reading. I chose to spend time in 2 Corinthians where Paul shares very transparently about the ministry hurts he faced. Third, Scripture memory. As I would read, I would pick out one verse each day and commit it to memory, also taking time to review the previous day's verses. Fourth, journaling. I would take time each day to write down what I was going through and what God was teaching me through it. And finally, prayer. As my spiritual hero, Dr Jerry Falwell, would often say, "Nothing of eternal value happens a part from prayer!"

Are you ready to take some steps out of THE CAVE? Then Rest Your Spiritual Body and Renew Your Spiritual Passion. If you take time and listen real close, you may just be able to hear the Lord saying to your heart, "What are you doing here (in THE CAVE)?" (I Kings 19:13)

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