Are You a Modern Day Obadiah?

One of the little known characters in Scripture is Obadiah. Obadiah was in charge of King Ahab’ palace. He was a devout follower of God. He even risked his life by hiding one hundred of the Lord’s prophets from Jezebel as she scoured the land for prophets to kill.

Coming out of a three year drought that was caused by God and prophesied by Elijah, 1 Kings 18:1-19 tells the story of Elijah asking Obadiah to connect him with King Ahab. Even though he believed in God, and knew Elijah to be a true prophet of God, Obadiah’s response was “What have I done wrong that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death?”

In this article I will use this story to reveal six characteristics of today’s modern “Obadiahs”.

1. Modern day Obadiahs love Christ, but do not want to take a strong stand (v.3,7-12). Many people want to claim Christ, but not to be identified with Christ. They want to lay low or fly under the radar instead of being a clear ambassador of Christ.

2. Modern day Obadiahs try to straddle the fence of lordship (v.7-9). You have heard it said that “Jesus is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all”. In reality it is impossible to straddle the lordship fence because straddling the lordship fence actually is not accepting the Lordship of Christ. Jesus said it this way, “You are either for me or you are against me.” Straddling the lordship fence makes one willing to debate with God.

3. Modern day Obadiahs want to be secret about their commitment (v.7-19). Secret Christians have destroyed the mission of the church for generations. Christianity was never meant to be a candle hidden under a basket, but rather it was meant to set up on a hill to provide light to the world.

4. Modern day Obadiahs consider the cost versus the personal benefits before choosing to obey (v.7-19). Jesus would say “Those who love me, obey me”. Obedience is always an issue of love and trust. Before committing they want a guarantee that all will work out comfortably.

5. Modern day Obadiahs are struggling to survive (v.7-19). Survival is the natural mindset of people who do not completely trust God with their future. They also want to remind you about the times in the past when them did something risky (v.13) as if that is a free pass to not obey God today.

6. Modern day Obadiahs are inconsistent in their commitment to God (v.7-19). Wishy-washy obedience is not true Christ-following. Competing mindsets and priorities lead to inconsistencies and create inner conflict (v.7-19).

The moral of the story: Don’t be an Obadiah. Choose to proudly follow Christ wherever He leads.

Religious, Spiritual, or a Follower of Christ?

I had a person say to me, “I’m spiritual, but not religious”. I think they thought I’d argue with them about that statement, but I agreed with them, “Yep, me too.” They looked at me so funny. They meant, “I don’t attend church, am frustrated with church, etc”. I meant, “Jesus hated structured religion that was empty of spiritual power, and so do I.”

It’s not about being religious or spiritual; it’s about actually following Christ. Being deeply religious or deeply spiritual without the life transforming work of the Holy Spirit in your life will give you the same results. Hell will be full of deeply religious and deeply spiritual people. Satan himself is spiritual and believes in God. He has just made a decision to not surrender to God. Many religious or spiritual people are in the exact same boat today; they believe, but are not willing to surrender.

Surrender is the single biggest issue we face as followers of Christ. If we can get the surrender issue resolved, everything else falls into place. Jesus revealed the primary way we prove our love in John 14 when He “If you love me, you will obey me”. But I would say that our biggest issue with consistent obedience is surrender.

So, obedience is the primary way we prove our love for Jesus to Jesus. If Jesus was with you right now (and He is in the person of the Holy Spirit) and He asked you, “Do you love me?” Now, before we are too quick to say a resounding “YES!” let me ask you another question. Is there something He is asking you to do or to not do that you have not surrendered to yet?

If God is asking you to respond to Him in some area of obedience, your dialogue with Him would be much like that Peter had with Him in John 21 when He said, “Peter, do you truly love me?” After Peter said “Yes, you know I do Lord”. Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.” In other words, do what I am asking you to do…prove your love for me through your willingness to obey me.

If Jesus asked me, “Tim, do you love me?” Of course I would say “Yes!”, but I must also be prepared for Him to say, “Then obey me in this specific area of your life”. That is the moment when we really find out whether I truly love Jesus or not. Any answer other than, “Absolutely” only proves that I love myself more than I love Christ.

I am convinced that many folks who claim to love Christ may truly want to love Him, but when it comes down to proving their love through their obedience they fail to make a compelling case. What about you? Does your level of surrender and obedience give evidence of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in your life or not?