by: Allen Domelle
1 Kings 19:10
“And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
Elijah’s self-pity is dumbfounding. He had just seen one of the greatest miracles ever performed, and now he is sitting under a juniper tree feeling sorry for himself. He gets to a point where he feels that he is the only one who is doing anything for God. Have you ever felt like that? Has the martyr syndrome grabbed you? Do you feel like you are the only one doing right or taking a stand for God? The martyr syndrome does many destructive things to a Christian.
First, it keeps them from doing God’s will. Elijah should have been preaching instead of sitting under a juniper tree. You will always find that the martyr syndrome keeps you from doing God’s work. There is too much to do to sit under your juniper tree feeling sorry for yourself.
Second, the martyr syndrome keeps you from being productive. The martyr syndrome caused Elijah to sleep under the juniper tree. It is amazing how this self-pity keeps you from doing what you think you are the only one doing. There is too much to do for the LORD to sit and feel sorry for yourself.
Third, the martyr syndrome keeps you from seeing God’s blessings. Elijah couldn’t even rejoice about God providing food for him. When a person begins to feel like a martyr, they will not see all the good that God is presently doing for them. The martyr syndrome has a way of blinding the Christian from seeing God’s blessings all around them.
Fourth, the martyr syndrome keeps you from God’s work. Elisha was plowing in the field and could have been anointed earlier had Elijah not been feeling sorry for himself. You miss so many opportunities to do God’s work while you sit feeling sorry for yourself. While you feel sorry for yourself, people are going to Hell.
What is the answer for defeating the martyr syndrome? First, get a vertical look and not a horizontal look. Stop looking at yourself and see God. Seeing God will help to snap you out of your martyr syndrome. Seeing God will help you to see life in reality. As long as you focus on yourself, you will never see the faithfulness of God.
Second, you defeat the martyr syndrome by having an outward look instead of an inward look. Elijah was able to overcome self-pity when he turned from looking at himself to seeing seven thousand others who were serving the LORD. You would do yourself well to start getting around others who are serving the LORD. You will find there are so many Christians who are standing like you are if you will simply get an outward look.
Third, you defeat the martyr syndrome by taking action instead of settling for inaction. God told Elijah to “Go.” It was the going action that snapped him out of his martyr syndrome. Friend, you are going to have to push yourself to go work for the LORD if you want to overcome feeling sorry for yourself. There is much work that you can do if you will take action and stop feeling sorry for yourself.