“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me. But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord…” ~Jonah 1-3
I’ve been put to this challenge more than once in my life. It’s tough. I totally understand Jonah’s resistance. I, too, have resisted, and worse yet, obeyed and followed where God led me, and then messed everything up by giving in to my own selfish desires. And just like Jonah, God will give us a second chance when we learn our lesson and become willing to do things His way. Yep, we serve a God of second chances.
I have done so many repeats in my life that I’m exhausted. I am finally to the point of surrender—surrender to God’s will for my life rather than my own. My self-centered desires are in no way even remotely close to His plans for me, and believe me, that’s a good thing!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
I quote the above verse quite often because it’s not only my favorite Bible verse, it’s also the core of our existence here on earth. What are we doing here? Are we living solely to satisfy self, or are we growing in the Lord so we can one day become His disciples?
Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter unless it’s about loving God and finding His will for your life? Do you know that our job here on earth is called The Great Commission? The Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples to spread His teachings to all the nations of the world.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20
Yes, God wants us to share the good news about His do-over plan for every single one of us—His plan to pay the price for our sin, to purchase our eternal redemption with His own blood. But how can a little nobody like me ever engage in such an enormous commission? How can an average Joe take on this commission and run with it?
Well, throughout the entire Bible, this has been the never-ending question. Moses was totally not the man for the job of freeing an entire civilization from captivity. Who was he to answer this calling? But he did it anyway.
How about Noah, how on earth could one man achieve such an enormous undertaking? What about Jonah? This guy was prompted to go to an evil foreign land as a representative of God? He resisted to the point of being willing to die by drowning rather than obey. But God used a whale to pick him up and spit him back where He wanted him. That’s me by the way; I’m the girl that has been tossed back onto the same shore over and over until I have finally surrendered to God’s will for my life.
Okay, I will tell you the rather depressing details of my very own Jonah experience. My husband and I were prompted to move to a country we had never heard of, let alone visited. The Holy Spirit was leading in such a huge way that we had no choice but to follow Him. We both agreed that we had to go on this mission—but had no idea where to start?
God made this whole thing so crazy easy; it was absolutely amazing. Even though it took the best part of a year to prepare for this mission, to liquidate an entire horse farm, sell everything we owned, and blindly get on a plane to move to Belize, we totally trusted God. We somehow effortlessly managed to get everything done in record time, and felt extremely excited about this big adventure.
We went in the name of the Lord, but in no time flat this entire pilgrimage for God was turned into a quest of how great a life we could create for ourselves? How much we could improve on our own lifestyle, how many great things we could do and see and buy. Yes, we did a few things that God led us to do, like importing an entire container of necessities for the small local church. But all in all, we had turned this journey into a mission of self-centered enjoyment and sinful behavior, something that God had absolutely no use for.
I won’t go into every detail of the entire travesty. Suffice to say; it ended in an unfortunate way when we were unexpectedly forced to return home, spit back onto U. S. soil by God, and forced to start completely over, from scratch, again.
It’s taken many years to regroup, get right with God again, and learn this most important lesson. And the lesson is this; you’re will, Lord, not mine!
If we just take one step, just try to go in the direction that God is leading us, we will eventually get there. And more importantly, do what He sends us to do rather than becoming consumed with our own self-centered agenda. Satan will do everything in his power to divert us—to get us so entangled in our own self-centered desires that we will completely lose sight of God’s plan.
I don’t want to waste anymore of my life trying to force my agenda, basically, arm wrestling with God as to where I will go and what I will do. I have finally surrendered because I, at last, see that His plan is just so much better than mine. I’m finally ready to do things His way rather than listening to my self-centered fleshly desires, and giving in to my old controlling nature.
“Then He said to them, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” ~Matthew 4:19-20
I choose His way now, to become a fisher of men rather than food for a fish. Like Jonah, I’m sick of being swallowed up by my poor choices and forced to repeat the same situation over and over again. This time I’m doing things His way!
Yes, it’s scary. Yes, the uncertainty of an unknown future is hard to accept. But the truth be known, isn’t everything out of our control, even those things that we think we have in the bag—the things that seem to be so certain to us are nothing but wishful thinking at best?
I have finally accepted the simple fact that an all-loving, almighty God is in control—not almighty Linda. And this is a good thing too because, quite Frankly, I have messed up every single thing I’ve ever tried to do on my own. I’ve spent the majority of my life forcing what I now see as a very bad chain of events and am finally ready to let go, and let God!
How well are we living out this great commission? How well are we doing what God is leading us to do? I don’t know about you, but I’m finally willing to do it His way—the right way—the God knows what’s best way because the Father always knows best!
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” ~John 15:16
Q: Are you ready to be obedient to God?
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