August 28, 2018
Supportive Instead of Skeptical
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT).
Friend to Friend
Asking for help isn’t my strong suite. I like to be like the woman in the song who says, “I am woman, hear me roar!” I prefer to be independent and strong rather than weak and needy. So, at times I stuff my fears and concerns rather than tell others that I need their prayers, help, or words of affirmation. However, God has wired us to depend on each other, and sometimes we have to ask for the encouragement we need. This isn’t always easy. It means admitting that we can’t manage our thoughts, feelings, and actions without help. So instead of stuffing our doubts, we can express them when we are with fellow followers of Jesus who can come alongside us with support.
In 1 Kings 18 we find a man named Obadiah who needed encouragement. It was during a season of drought in Israel that the prophet Elijah had pronounced. While Elijah was hiding from the evil King Ahab, Obadiah was working for him as his right hand man. King Ahab and his wife Jezebel put Obadiah in an awkward position. He worked for them, but he was a secret follower of Yahweh. He hid 100 prophets of God in caves when Jezebel was trying to kill all prophets of God. One day Obadiah met Elijah who would have been the equivalent of a Christian celebrity.
Elijah told him to go tell Ahab he was in town. Obadiah was concerned. His boss hated Elijah, and he was concerned Elijah would disappear again. He took a risk and told Elijah about his fears. I love that Obadiah expressed his concerns openly with Elijah and asked for affirmation. Too many times we stuff our fears and suffer in silence. We wish people would reach out and affirm us, but all we do is mumble inwardly or complain to others about our lack of support within the body of Christ.
Elijah didn’t shame Obadiah or compare their callings. He didn’t say, “What is your problem, Obadiah? I have been hiding out and depending on God for food provided by birds and widows! Get with the program and stop asking questions.” That is not what Elijah did. In 1 Kings 18:15 we find these words, “But Elijah said, ‘I swear by the Lord Almighty, in whose presence I stand, that I will present myself to Ahab this very day.’”
Elijah began by saying God’s name. Some translations say the “Lord Almighty” (NIV, NLT) while others translate God’s name as the “Lord of Hosts” (KJV, ESV, NASB).
Elijah was reminding Obadiah of the God they were risking everything to serve: the Lord Almighty, the Lord of Hosts. When we are scared or discouraged, we can remember the character of God and be encouraged by His power and faithfulness to help us accomplish anything He asks us to do. Obadiah confessed that he was struggling, and Elijah reminded him that they were on the same team serving a powerful God.
When we see someone struggling with their calling or their circumstances, we should affirm the gifts we see in them. One of the secrets to spiritual stamina is looking for the good in others and offering them specific encouragement. Elijah and Obadiah had served Yahweh through a long season of standing alone, and God brought them together to remind them of the greater community of followers. Rather than be skeptical of one another, let us be supportive of our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of believers who have been supportive throughout my journey of faith. Give me the boldness to ask for help when I need it. Help me to remember I am not alone in following You. Help me to have eyes to see those around me who need encouragement and support today.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Are you in need of some reminders of God’s faithfulness right now? If so, is there someone you can authentically share your fears with and ask for reminders of God’s presence and power? Take a moment right now to call or text a trusted mentor or friend and set up a time to get together this week to share vulnerably.
More from the Girlfriends
Melissa Spoelstra is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages know Christ more intimately through serious Bible study. She is the author of several women’s Bible studies including Numbers, First Corinthians, Joseph, and Jeremiah which include video teaching and daily study. Her newest study, Elijah: Spiritual Stamina in Every Season, will release in early August. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids. Find her online at www.melissaspoelstra.com.
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