Saying Yes (When We Want to Say No)
In a fish’s belly, Jonah recommitted himself to the Lord’s purpose. But the popular Bible story about the consequences of disobedience doesn’t end with Jonah obeying God. The book actually concludes with him acknowledging why he didn’t want the job—and with the Lord chastising him for his selfish reasons. Jonah was afraid that the Ninevites, who were a threat to the Jewish people, might actually repent, and then his merciful God wouldn’t destroy them. The reluctant prophet admitted he wanted to see them wiped out: “Therefore in order to forestall [their salvation] I fled to Tarshish” (Jonah 4:2). When the Lord relented, Jonah’s trip became a success for everyone but him.
Believers resist doing God’s will for many reasons. Sometimes, although we don’t like to confess this, we say no because we dislike the probable outcome of obedience. As Jonah did, we also can lose sight of spiritually important things and focus on our own desires and comfort.
Our unhappiness with what we think might happen is not a reason to resist God’s plan. If the Lord calls us to act, He will take care of the end results. Our job is to obey.
What form of selfishness is keeping you from obeying the Lord? Maybe you are too angry with your spouse to work on your marriage or too hurt to welcome back a repentant child. But we’re not to be ruled by feelings, no matter how strong they are. Your heavenly Father expects obedience. The final results may surprise you, particularly how blessed you will be for having followed Him.
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