It’s easy to be selfish.
It’s human nature to only think about what we want when we want it and how to get it . . . Or how we feel about what we want, or what we think we deserve.
We’re born into this world believing that the world revolves around me, myself, and I.
Our automatic drive mode is to pursue what makes ME happy right now at this moment . . . no matter the consequences for anyone else. Sure, we might say it’s about me “unless someone else gets hurt “. . . but it’s almost easier to maneuver and deceive others in pursuit of our dreams or happiness.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Well, I’m not that bad.”
But have you been ruthless at work?
Have you placed yourself first in your marriage?
Have you spent money on vain and meaningless items rather than giving to those in need?
Have you been just “good enough” but not trying to live every moment for Christ?
We live in a society flooded with Christians who attend church on Sunday, say nice things then go back home or to work and behave like a completely different person, not allowing the gospel and its message flood into every crevice of life.
People are dying every day, many of them without the hope of Jesus Christ. The Great Commission commands those who know and have experienced the truth to tell the entire world the good news that Jesus died for sin, was buried, and rose again, defeating death forever. And we have the hope of everlasting life: to be resurrected from the grave like he was.
Yes, being a Christ follower is a tall order. But it’s worth it. Jonah, a prophet in the Old Testament, also received a commission from God, but because of his prejudice and selfishness, he attempted to flee from this calling.
He is a perfect example of someone who was a “good” guy, but when God asked him to do something that wasn’t what he wanted to do, he ran in the opposite direction.
Jonah was attempting to flee the Lord (Jonah 1:3) for several reasons:
The Assyrians were a war-like nation well known for being violent and practicing idolatry. Jonah may have not wanted to end up being tortured or killed for the message God wanted this people group to hear. Another possibility was that Jonah may have been prejudiced against the Assyrians and hated them. He knew God is a God of compassion and mercy and he selfishly wanted to keep those things from the Assyrians (Jonah 4:2).
A final reason may have been that Assyria was an enemy of Israel. Perhaps Jonah feared he would help the Assyrians in their rise to power and take over his country. Regardless of the reason, Jonah learned the hard way that running away from the mission God had for him did not work out so well: The rest of the story involves a large fish with Job inside it for three days.
The message for Jonah through all this was don’t run away from God. However, when we look deeper, we see that it’s more about placing God’s will above our own will.
And as we see in Jonah’s first chapter, God is pretty good at making his will known considering he gave the prophet a command, sent a storm, calmed it, and sent a whale, all within 17 verses.
God is present and moving in our lives, and when we choose to run away from his mission (Matthew 28:16-20), life may prove to be turbulent and utterly miserable.
Do you feel like you’ve been tossed into the ocean? Stuck in the belly of a whale?
What are you running away from? Or who?
Once we choose to surrender and allow God’s will to shape our lives, we can experience great joy.
How do we seek the things of God and not what we want?
Count your blessings, live a life of gratitude, be aware of the lost, pray for them, and seek them out as Jesus did. But before we can complete God’s mission and live that life, we need to live in complete surrender to God, placing him first in our lives.
If you don’t know the all-encompassing love of Christ, have that conversation with Jesus and in sincere prayer ask him to take control of your life. It will be the best decision of your life . . . and that’s an understatement!
Stop running today. Like the father waiting for his prodigal child to return, God is also waiting with open arms.
In love and truth,