When Running Away Isn't the Answer
When God calls you to a hard task, how do you usually respond? We have a couple of options… we can flee or we can obey. And to be clear, there is only one acceptable response in God’s eyes… obedience.
What would keep you from obeying God when He calls you to a hard task? And, let’s be honest, God doesn’t always call us to easy tasks. Whether it’s sharing a truth with someone when it may not be well received; or talking to a lost friend about Jesus; or giving cheerfully, generously, sacrificially of our time, talents and treasures; or loving someone who may not be very lovable; or exhibiting hope when all hope seems lost... These are all hard tasks that God calls us to, and there are many more.
Maybe you’re fleeing instead of obeying these days. How is that working out for you?! In the Bible, there is man named Jonah who fled when God called him to a hard task… and it didn’t work out well for him! (Jonah 1). Jonah didn’t want to do what God called him to do; he was reluctant at best and disobedient at worst. We’ve all been there, unwilling to do what God has called us to. But why?
There are several reasons we may not want to follow God’s will. But the primary reason could be that we are “lacking” an essential needed to obey. In other words, we’re “lackers.” Jonah was a “lacker” too!
“Lackers" lack an essential needed to obey. We may run because we…
Lack courage… Sometimes we run because we’re afraid! Jonah ran in part because he feared getting on the bad side of the notoriously cruel Assyrians. Fear can cause us to flee… and fear can morph into a lack of faith!
Lack confidence… Sometimes we just don’t believe we have what it takes or what is needed to obey God when He calls us to a hard task. Maybe Jonah didn't think he could do what God was calling him to do. We see this a lot in the Bible with some pretty important Israelite leaders… Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah all didn’t think they had the skillset to lead God’s people. Initially, they lacked confidence; but yet God equipped them for the task He called them to.
Lack compassion… Sometimes we run because we don’t have a heart for what God has asked us to do. Jonah ran because he didn’t have any interest in reaching out to the pagan, wicked, unlovable people of Nineveh. Jonah was far more into the justice of God than the grace of God, which if we’re not careful, we can tend toward too! By the way, Jonah means “dove”; yet Jonah wasn’t interested in trying to help the lost people of Nineveh find peace with God!
Lack humility… Sometimes we think we know better than God or we don’t agree with what God has told us to do. Jonah ran because he didn’t agree with what God was calling Him to do; in fact, he thought his way was better than God’s way! Lack of humility can cause us to flee from God’s will.
When we run from God, we’re lackers… lacking courage (faith), confidence, compassion or humility, just to scratch the surface. Running never works out well for us! It didn’t work out for Jonah, who ran in the opposite direction God called him to go as fast and as far as he could go! In the first chapter of Jonah, we see five reasons why running away from God’s will is never the right choice.
Click here for more and to listen to: Jonah - Part 1 - When Running Away Isn’t the Answer.