The Way to Change Others

"She feels pressured by her mother-in-law," related a young wife who told me about a couple contemplating a ministry opportunity. The husband's parents, in their eagerness to see the young couple in full-time Christian service, say "encouraging" words the wife resents.

Someone else mentioned a couple whose marriage suffers because the husband's parents don't approve of his wife.

Allowing God to work in His way and in His timing is a difficult lesson. Wouldn't perfect confidence in God's wisdom and power allow us to simply step back and say only what the Spirit gives us to say? We underestimate the power of the still small voice.

The power of this Voice was the lesson Elijah needed to learn. He had been certain the heaven-sent fire at Mt. Carmel would bring revival to the people and deliverance to himself. Instead, he received a death threat and was running for his life. God used this as an opportunity to give Elijah an object lesson about the most powerful force in the world.

"Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord," God told Elijah. "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. 

"And after the fire came a gentle whisper" or, as the King James Version has it "a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:11-12). The Hebrew literally reads, "a voice of gentle silence."

God had told Elijah to go out and stand on the mountain but Elijah didn't budge. If anything, he probably shrank back trying to shield himself from the wind, earthquake, and fire--just as we do when we try in our own power to convince others.

Then came God's still small voice! "When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out." The power of the still small voice in his heart that moved him would be the power that would change others.

Dear Lord, help me to remember that it is not by might nor by power, but by Your Spirit that Your work is accomplished.

 "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God" (1 Peter 4:11).