Are You Spiritually Limping or Confidently Walking? 

When one of our daughters was in second grade, her school teacher mentioned an issue that she’d observed. Our daughter had begun to limp. She complained about her leg hurting, especially at night. She was going through a growth spurt like many children tend to do, with every hem of her clothing attesting to that fact. In that way of parents who don’t want to blow up a small thing, we watched with some niggling worry and chalked it up to “growth pains.” 

But when the teacher mentioned it, the niggle in our stomachs grew to alarm. We took her to the doctor and tests were done. By the time we got the all-clear, she was running like the wind again, without pain. 

I remembered my daughter’s limp this week

I remembered my daughter’s limp this week as I read about another kind of limp mentioned in the Bible. It showed spiritual hesitation, a conundrum of sorts between loyalties.

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”And the people did not answer him a word. (1 Kings 18:21 ESV, emphasis mine)

Elijah’s Mount Carmel Victory is a great story of God’s power and might. It’s also a story of rampant idolatry and evil. Wicked King Ahab and Jezebel ruled a country in the grip of drought and famine. During that time of hunger, Jezebel housed and fed fifty prophets of the god Baal and 400 prophets of the god Asherah. At the same time she killed the prophets of the One True God. 

Elijah invited the Baal worshipers to a show down on the mountain. 

Sometimes, we find ourselves torn, as if two conflicting forces pull on either side of us. And we silently limp between two different opinions. When both sides claim righteousness on their side, in the middle there’s uneasy confusion. Efforts to pacify both sides beg compromise, which can dilute truth.  

In the story of Elijah, there was only one right side. Clear, simple, and distinct. 

And so, Elijah suggested a contest of sorts. It called for sacrificing a bull on an altar.

“The god who answers by fire—he is God,” Elijah said. (Verse 24 NIV)

Baal’s 450 prophets got first dibs on the bulls. They prepared their bull on the wood without lighting a fire. The Baal worshipers called on their gods. But there was no response. 

“Maybe he’s sleeping,” Elijah suggested.

They ramped it up, shouting and slashing themselves. They frantically yelled, “O Baal, answer us!” (verse 26) But there was no response. No one heard. No one answered. The day wore on. 

… And they limped around the altar that they had made. (1 Kings 18:26 ESV) 

Likely their limping became not just a metaphor of their hearts, but complete physical exhaustion. Still the wood didn’t light. 

Those of you who know the story, remember how magnificently God responded when it was Elijah’s turn. The lone prophet repaired the ruined altar, dug a trench around it, and dumped water on the logs three times until the trench overflowed. 

A few wet logs, 450 prophets of Baal, and a wicked king and queen could not stay the hand of God. When Elijah called on God, fire fell from heaven and burnt up the offering. 

The Bible brings clarity to what is right and wrong. It draws lines between evil and righteousness. As a body of Christ, we are pulled in different directions by differing opinions. But we have an anchor. It is God’s Word. We don’t need to be pulled in different directions when God clearly states His will and truth.     

Are you limping around something today? The Word of God speaks the truth of God. It is an unwavering moral compass, our trustworthy authority. We don’t need to be pulled in different directions when God clearly states His will and truth. Click To Tweet

Elijah’s prayer reveals another thing. Elijah had higher goals than winning an argument. Even though he felt like the “last man standing,” he wanted victory to bring glory to God and spiritual revival.    

Elijah prayed, Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again. (1 Kings 18:37 NIV, emphasis mine) 

Sometimes my prayers stem more from wanting to prove I’m right than a desire for God’s righteousness to be known or for the return of His people.  

May the heart of our prayers be for the spreading of His glory, not our own.  

Elijah’s victory really wasn’t his at all. It was God’s. Our society and culture wars against the absolute truth of God’s Word. Sometimes even the body of Christ limps along by aberrations that murk the Bible’s teachings. We can forget the battle is not for us to win. It belongs to Him. May the heart of our prayers be for the spreading of His glory, not our own. Click To Tweet

He is the Ultimate Victor. We can walk with steadfast steps.



*feature photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

18 Replies

  1. Katherine Pasour Reply

    Your question, “Are you limping around something today?” convicted me. I am, and I’ve been avoiding dealing with it. Thank you for reminding me to take the issue to God. Wonderful message, Sylvia.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I really appreciate your comment. I am most definitely an avoider. Your comment encouraged me today. Thanks friend.

  2. Sue Kroeker Reply

    Thank you, Sylvia! I love this story and you brought out such a helpful comparison!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I know, Sue, it is just such a great story! Never gets old. Our God is an awesome God! Thanks for reading and it is good to hear from you!

  3. Candyce Carden Reply

    I prefer to avoid conflict whenever possible. But sometimes one must stride confidently in the truth. This line especially convicts me today: “May the heart of our prayers be for the spreading of His glory, not our own.”

    Added it to my journal! Thank, Sylvia.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Candyce. I’m honored. I too wish to avoid conflict and my tongue gets twisted and my heart hot far too easily. Love the story of Elijah’s God and I needed the reminder that He is also mine.

  4. Nancy E. Head Reply

    We do tend to want to chalk up our own list of personal victories rather than the wins that belong to God.

    Great lesson, here, Sylvia. God bless!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so very much Nancy. You aren’t alone with your lists! I appreciate so much your reading and responding!

  5. Yvonne Morgan Reply

    I toggle between the two. Sometimes I tackle problems head on then other times I hide. I need to do better so thanks for the encouragement.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Yvonne. I’m glad you found it encouraging. There are times wisdom has us wait if there isn’t a clear right or wrong. I’m glad many things are clearly spelled out in God’s Word, like in the story of Elijah.

  6. Jeannie Waters Reply

    Sylvia, your post reminds us how important it to read our Bible after asking God to teach us. When we know what God says, we know which choice to make and He helps us stand strong when we’re tempted to choose based on the world’s standards. Thank you.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Jeannie! Your comment is so true. We find the right choices in His Word. So many things seem so complicated, but His Word often takes the ambiguity away. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!

  7. Annie Yorty Reply

    I appreciate the excellent points you’ve drawn from this fascinating story, Sylvia. When I read 1 Kings 18:21, I’m always reminded of Joshua’s words: Choose this day whom you’ll serve.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Annie for contributing with that powerful reminder. I often think of how “nice” and fast it would be to just have that division out in the open, but it really does point to our personal daily choices as well, doesn’t it. May we choose today to serve Jesus. Thanks so much for that thought. I needed it today.

  8. J.D. Wininger Reply

    Well said Ms. Sylvia. There were a couple of takeaways for me. First and foremost, God’s Word is and should be the authority in our lives. Last, I was reminded that as long as I am on this earth, I’m still a “babe in Christ” and will have those “growth spurts” now and again. I pray my limp is less noticeable the more mature in God’s Word I become, but I want to never stop growing in it. God’s blessings sweet friend.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I love these thoughts J.D.! We are babes in Christ, and we falter in our walk. We do and we will. But, God does provide the growth spurts and maturity as we lean into Him. Thanks J.D. You always bring wise, encouraging, and welcome words.

  9. Sharon Reply

    So good, thank you!
    I was reminded of a verse I read after our daughter was ‘raised from the dead’ that answered the ‘why’.
    Joshua 4:21-24 (emphasis on verse 24!)
    “Years from now your children will ask you why these rocks are here. Tell them, “The Lord our God dried up the Jordan River so we could walk across. He did the same thing here for us that he did for our people at the Red Sea, because he wants everyone on earth to know how powerful he is. And he wants us to worship only him.”

    • sylvia schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much Sharon for sharing that. Yes, whatever the response, God is worthy of honor for generations!