As far as we know, John the Baptizer performed no miracles. That fascinates me because he was supposed to operate in “the spirit and power of Elijah,” Luke 1. Elijah doesn’t get much air time in the Scriptures, just a few chapters really, but those few chapters are overflowing with the miraculous: withholding rain, the flour and oil that never ran out, raising the widow’s son, the confrontation with the prophets of Baal, supernatural sustenance by the brook, encountering the manifest presence of God and so on. All of that points to the power of Elijah’s ministry, but one event points to his spirit – raising up a young man to take his place.
The spirit of Elijah is the Fathering Spirit – the desire to see our sons and daughters surpass us. The spirit of Elijah is wanting our children to inherit a double portion, for our ceiling to become their floor. It is the desire to see our children equipped for every good work, spared from our mistakes and secure in their identities. Fascinating that just before God reveals Himself as Father to Israel He raised up a messenger to go before Him to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the [disobedient] children to the wisdom of their [righteous] fathers,” Luke 1. First the physical restoration of fatherhood, then the spiritual revelation of God the Father.
Every leader must carry the spirit of Elijah. Leadership is based on call, sacrifice and service and not on gifting, knowledge or even maturity. If leadership were based on the later, then everyone who is more highly gifted, more highly educated or more mature becomes a threat to our leadership and we will cut them off. That is anti-Christ. Jesus, our head and leader, serves as our platform. He says, “you will do even greater things than me.” Presumably, this is because his leadership accelerates our progress.
Every leader is a father or mother. That means that their desire must be to see the people under their leadership surpass them. A church doesn’t thrive when it can’t function without its leader. A church is thriving when everyone honors the leadership for how they have invested, served and sacrificed so that the “kids” can go places the parents never dreamed of.
The spirit of Elijah is the desire to father/mother, mentor, disciple and grow those under our care. It is a prerequisite for a manifestation and move of God.
Parenting, mentoring, discipleship, small groups – these are not small things. They are the tangible precursors to what God is doing in the Spirit. If we want to live to see the days of revival fire then we must take seriously our call to raise up a generation that can steward and grow what we have worked for.