How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him (victory) [1 Kings 18:21, parenthesis added].
Elijah’s Mount Carmel experience still thrills me today as I envision him calling fire down from heaven in response to his divine anointing. His piercing challenge convicts me just like Joshua’s bold encouragement: “Choose you this day who you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Their courage and victories motivate a desire to determine the secret behind their spiritual strength.
By dissecting Elijah’s mountaintop victory, I notice six critical steps we can apply to our lives. Nestled therein are the secrets to power with God, power over destructive thoughts, and power to live the victorious, abundant life Christ offers. As opposed to Elijah’s public moral stand and demonstration of God’s power, personal spiritual victory relies on repentant spirit and humble heart in quiet moments with God.
Just before Elijah called down fire from heaven, he invited everyone to come closer. He wanted them to clearly see and hear what was about to happen.
God also calls us closer to Himself. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Before God changes, He calls near. He doesn’t change from a distance. His transforming work occurs in the intimacy between His heart and mine.
Repair the Altar
Elijah had to rebuild the altar before he could offer a sacrifice. He gathered twelve scattered stones and stacked them into place. He then encircled this monument with a trench and carefully topped it with firewood.
After coming into God’s presence, quite often we realize the need to repair what has been broken. This usually requires restoring God to His rightful place as Lord and reclaiming a spiritual life in disarray. It may include intentionally digging a trench of rededicated commitment. Finally, it may involve gathering spiritual “wood” to reignite the faint embers of a flame that once blazed (Acts 2:2-3).
Prepare your Offering / Sacrifice
Elijah then brought the sacrifice, killed and quartered it, and placed it on the altar. Any sacred sacrifice required putting something to death. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness or pardon for sin (Hebrews 9:22). The sacrifices of God are a broken and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). Paul urges us to present ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1).
As the Supreme Sacrifice, Jesus atoned for all sin. Yet, appropriating His sacrifice involves brokenness, sorrow over any sin and unsurrendered area(s), and genuine repentance. By repenting, we bring our sacrifice before God and yield it to Him. Meaning, we turn from it and allow God’s flaming fire to consume it, transforming us in the process.
Pray – Glorifying God
After all this preparation, Elijah prayed. He acknowledged God as sovereign and he as God’s servant. He then asked God to turn people’s hearts back to Him.
The reason the sacrifice of repentance comes before prayer is because “if I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear” (Psalm 66:18).
Remove Sinful Influences
After God’s fire fell, Elijah killed the false prophets who led the Israelites to worship other gods. These individuals actively encouraged immoral lifestyles and idolatrous worship. They championed deistic inclusion at the expense of the One True God Jehovah. They promoted spiritual drifting in the face of “Thou shalt not,” and moral relativism instead of “Thus says the Lord.” Allowing them to remain would undermine Elijah’s moral and spiritual revival.
Spiritual victory requires removal from evil influences. Such separation to holiness is clear throughout Scripture. “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:17). “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). “If sinners entice you, do not consent” (Proverbs 1:10). This separation, though difficult at times, includes colleagues, associates, friends, and possibly even family members—anyone and anything impeding spiritual purity.
Expect the Rain
Only after the fire from heaven and the purge of the immoral influence did God end the three-year drought and bring the rain. Elijah acted in expectant faith by proclaiming, “There is the sound of an abundance of rain” (1 Kings 18:41). After asking God for His torrential relief, storm clouds quickly delivered a downpour.
Relief from spiritual drought comes from God’s favor when sowing as well as His abundance when reaping. In usual harvest time, it rained during the sowing season (the former or first rain) and then again just before harvest (the latter rain). “Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will give them showers of rain” (Zechariah 10:1).
We find spiritual victory by drawing near to God, repairing what has been broken, bringing sacrifices of repentance, expressing desires for restored spiritual intimacy, and removing all evil influences—then standing back and watching God bring an abundance of spiritual rain.