Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Am I Going the Wrong Way?

Jonah 1:1-2 "Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me."

You may be familiar with the story of Jonah and the Whale, as it's traditionally known. If you know the story from beginning to end, you know that its a story of the success of a ministry in spite of the failure of the minister. God gave Jonah very direct and explicit instructions. He was to go to Nineveh and warn them to change their wicked ways or God was going to bring destruction to them. Having his mission and his direction, Jonah immediately prepared himself, gathered his things, and got on a ship....going in the opposite direction. Not because he misread his boarding pass or because he didn't know where Nineveh was, but he intentionally avoided doing what God called him to do. What God wanted him to do did not match what Jonah wanted to do.

You ever experienced that? You ever felt God leading you to do something you didn't want to do? Ever come across something you knew was the right thing, but just didn't want to do it? I have. We have various reasons why we don't want to. Jonah's was because he didn't like the people of Nineveh, and didn't feel like they deserved the warning. Sometimes its for selfish reasons like that, or laziness, or fear, or whatever it is. Nonetheless we often go in the opposite direction of our purpose.

There's not enough time in this blog to cover all of Jonah's adventure, but you should read the Story of Jonah. You'll see that every time Jonah tried to step off the path of his purpose, God brought him right back. God used the wind, a whale, and a worm to get him back on course. I think you will see that this story teaches us three basic truths:

  1. Running from your purpose does not change your purpose, it just delays the fulfillment of it. From the foundation of the world, God already decided His reasons for creating you and saving you, and (now here is the real big pill that's hard to swallow) ultimately that reason is not about you, its about Him.
  2. God has a path mapped out for you. He has a plan for getting you from point A to point Z. Sometimes we can only see as far as point D, and from our perspective and without understanding of what point Z is, point D makes no sense and is either scary or unappealing. So we try to take a detour, shortcut, or like Jonah, turn and go the other way. (Another big pill alert) The fact is, you are going to point Z, its God's will. So either you can go the easy way, or the hard, whaley, windy, wormy way.
  3. Though you may not be able to see it or understand it, God's way is the best way. Praying for God's will, accepting God's will, and living God's will for your life is the best way for you. Don't go on how things look around you, or how you think things will turn out. Trust in God, and know that He loves you and has your best in mind. Going God's way will bring blessings to others and to you.
So think of this moment that you are reading this blog as a time that you have pulled over on the side of the road. Don't look around at the landscape, or try to find a landmark. Consider your road map (the bible), the mission God has put in your heart, and ask yourself "Am I going the wrong way?".

Try Jesus!

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