Athletes know the value of home field advantage. The field is familiar and the fans are supportive. Regardless of the score, the home team will be encouraged to do their best. Playing away games is a different story. Opposing fans often ridicule and shout insults. Great plays are met with silence. Encouragement comes only from within.
As Christians in this world, we are lacking home field advantage. The crowds around us are not cheering for our efforts or applauding our spiritual wins. Opposition from Satan comes from all angles. How do we find encouragement when it seems we are surrounded and constantly pushed down by the enemy?
Know there will be times when you feel alone. In 1 Kings 18, we see the prophet Elijah struggle with this very issue. In verse 22 he states, ““I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets.” Elijah goes on to challenge the followers of Baal and Asherah and the Lord does a great miracle to show He is the only true God. However, as most “away victories” go, there was no celebration. Instead, we see Elijah fleeing for his life in the following chapter (19). The Lord comes to Elijah and asks him what he is doing. Elijah laments, “I alone am left…” (1 Kings 19:10).
Find reassurance in the fact that you are not alone even when it feels that way. The Lord gently reveals Elijah’s misperception. He tells Elijah that there are 7,000 in Israel who “have not bowed to Baal” (I Kings 19:18). Elijah was not alone in Israel. The Lord had also reserved another man to serve as a prophet (v16). Elijah was not the only prophet of the Lord left.
What encouragement can Christians take from this account? Remember that no matter how lonely the Christian walk can be at times, we are never alone. We are told, ““Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). In this life, we as Christians don’t have the home field advantage, but we do have the advantage of always having God on our side. And with God, we are guaranteed the victory.