Choosing the Extraordinary Life
By Robert Jeffress
God can transform your life from ordinary to extraordinary, just as he did with Elijah. As far as God is concerned, there can never be enough Elijah-like men and women walking the earth, standing for his truth, and upholding his glory. How does such a transformation take place?
In the chapters that follow, we will explore the seven secrets of significance, which are resolves you and I must make in order to experience the incredible life God desires for us.
Secret #1: Discover Your Unique Purpose
Every follower of Christ has a general purpose in life—to bring God glory and to enjoy him forever. But each of us also has a unique purpose that answers the question, “Why has God placed me in this world?”
Elijah’s life offers clues to how we can answer that question in our own lives. Elijah’s unique purpose was serving faithfully as a prophet of God, confronting a wicked king and queen, and calling his nation back to the worship of the true God. Your call is probably different, but, like Elijah, you have a specific purpose in life. In the next chapter, we will discover two questions that will help you determine God’s unique purpose for your life.
Secret #2: Determine to Influence Your Culture
The first reaction of many Christians to an increasingly anti-Christian culture is to retreat, like a turtle pulling its head and legs into its shell. And though holy huddles—hanging out only with other Christians—offer safety and security, they communicate to the outside world an attitude of “us four and no more.” To put it bluntly: Holy huddles tell the world it can go to hell. In contrast to the silo spirituality that so many Christians practice today, Elijah stepped out and determined to make a difference in his world. And what a difference he made! Elijah’s example reminds us that God has left us on earth to influence the world, not to isolate ourselves from it.
Secret #3: Wait On God’s Timing
No matter how old we are or how much life experience we have, no one likes to wait. We think of waiting time as wasted time. It’s not—especially when we are waiting on God. God’s most significant people learned how to wait, even if they had to wait a long time. Elijah had an extended period of waiting and training before his climactic showdown with the prophets of Baal.
You might be a student studying for a career that seems out of reach, a pastor ministering in obscurity or a single adult wondering whether a mate will ever cross your path. But whoever you are and whatever you are waiting on, God hasn’t forgotten you. Our heavenly Father is not interested in microwave Christianity or microwave Christians. It takes time to develop Elijah-like men and women.
Secret #4: Burn the Ships
If you decide to pursue an extraordinary life, then there will come a time when you must be prepared to go all in. As the saying goes, you must be willing to “burn the ships,” eliminating all possibility of retreat. Hedging your bets and holding back is not an option when God is ready to move forward.
Elijah went “all in” when he challenged the priests of Baal to a winner-takes-all match on Mount Carmel. The stakes could not have been higher. Israel’s future, not to mention Elijah’s own life, hung in the balance. This was Elijah’s burn-the-ships moment. In this chapter, you will discover how you can be ready for yours.
Secret #5: Unleash the Power of Prayer
Someone has observed that you can do much more after you have prayed, but you can do nothing of significance until you have prayed. Survey the Scriptures, and you will discover that those men and women who stood tallest for the Lord were those who knelt lowest before the Lord. And Elijah was no exception.
The New Testament writer James uses Elijah as Exhibit A of how to pray persistently, precisely and powerfully. Using Elijah’s prayer life as our model, we will learn how to experience God’s power in our lives through prayer.
Secret #6: Learn How to Handle Bad Days
Elijah was not a super-saint but a normal person who even as a sold-out servant of God had to battle despair, depression and doubt. One moment we find this man courageously standing for God on Mount Carmel, and soon after we find him curled up in a fetal position, wanting to die.
You and I are going to have experiences like that—periods of time when we doubt the goodness, the wisdom or even the existence of God. Everyone who pursues an extraordinary life is going to have to deal with his or her share of bad days that include everything from flat tires and sore throats to genuine crises of faith. Elijah’s life offers some practical and profitable ways to navigate these discouraging periods in our lives.
Secret #7: Live with the End in View
Perspective is one of the most difficult things to gain and maintain. With the hectic pace of life in the twenty-first century, it is tempting to get so caught up in today that we never think about tomorrow.
Not Elijah. He knew his time on earth was very limited. Elijah knew that when his work on earth was finished, God’s work on earth would continue. So Elijah made provisions for his departure by training a successor.
People who choose extraordinary lives live each day as if it were their last and make adequate preparations to ensure their godly legacy will outlast them.