Thursday, December 19, 2019
What your Behavior says of You
My morning reading, this cold December day, was in Jonah. Jonah was mentioned by Jesus in a positive light. Referring to him in regards to his time in the whale.
But think about Jonah. Look at his life. He had every reason to be the hateful person he was. Really? He had reason to be hateful? Well, yes, from a religion point of view. From a Godly perspective, no he didn't. His lesson in life was to have that point of view corrected.
He had anger at the assignment.
He had anger that the Lord for suggesting He be the person to go deliver such a message.
He was mad at God because of what he was told to do.
He certainly was not grateful that the Lord spoke to him.
He certainly was not grateful in any respect. Scripture, later on in the New Testament, says that in everything give thanks. In pain, in joy, in trials and when there are none. Give thanks when things hurt so bad you can't see straight and when you are at peace. It's not a suggestion. It's a command.
Yet, Jonah knew and thought he could run the other way. He wasn't going to have anything to do with saving a people he hated.
So the Lord reigned him in. Cut off his options. Realize this my dear reader, if EVERY single person will someday kneel before Jesus and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, you who are believers WILL be obedient to Him.
We who are saved in Christ are just like Jonah. We start out in Christ as an untransformed soul. Jesus tells us we are His workmanship. So HE is taking full responsibility for the necessary changes in our lives to make us more like Himself.
Scripture points to this process. Does the clay have a right to ask the potter why did you do this to me? Are you suffering? Are you not? Have you done a Jonah and sat in rebellion to God's work in your life?
Rebellion. Offering lip service in giving thanks isn't the same as it coming from your heart. If you didn't have to think about it then it didn't mean anything.
Why say that? Because Jesus accused the Pharisees and Sadducees of it. This people honors me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.
Read on in Jonah's story. He gets tossed overboard. Those he was with lost everything. They had to return to port. There was a mini awakening on the ship. They now certainly believed in the God of Jonah.
But in getting swallowed by a whale didn't change Jonah. What began changing Jonah was his options being removed. We have seen it in parenting. Immobilize the child to get through to them to change their behavior.
Then consider he looks to have tried defiance still in the gap between day 1 and day 3. That's a lot of time to get his attention. But finally his stiff neck gave way. He relented. How often do we try the silent treatment with God? How often are we so determined to be right that we refuse Him entry? How often are we so ungrateful that we sit and stew rather than thank Him?
We do it. As I was reading in another book. Jesus is always on the other side of the doors in our hearts. He will incessantly keep knocking until we open the door.
Our mood is irrelevant. Was the mood of Daniel in the lion's den? He was nervous. He had every right to be scared.
Jonah had an attitude adjustment. But as we read the rest of the book, it wasn't quite deep enough yet. But who knows after what we read...because even Jonah was Jesus's workmanship.
Do you have a grateful heart? Or have you decided to sit in dust and ashes to try to get God to change your circumstances when He's trying to change you?
Jesus loves you and I too much to leave us as He found us. Jonah eventually found himself in Abraham's bosom with many thousands that were there for the same reason he was...because the Lord had mercy and saved them.
Suffering? In pain? Jesus went through much more than us both before the cross and after being put on it.
Scripture says we have a mediator that relates to everything we will ever face.
Consider today your attitude in life.
Consider today where your heart is. Are you keeping the door closed and the Lord out or will you bid Him enter?
What does your life show? A grateful heart or bitterness? Are your eyes on the storm or on Jesus? Are you following in obedience to God or are you fighting the changes He is making in you? Are you thankful in everything or only what feels right? Are you mad at God because He didn't answer your prayers in a way you approved? Get over it if you have.
What does your life show the world?