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Text to Read: Jonah 2:1-7
Let’s just start from the obvious statement. Obeying God isn’t easy.
Trying to follow every commandment, every parable. It’s difficult to try to implement into your everyday life, with your everyday hangups, without making any mistakes.
And that difficulty is what we’re going to try and figure out in this article.
The Need for Self Fulfillment Halts Our Obedience
Self-fulfillment is seeking out and doing the things that satisfy a want or need within us and purposely avoiding or not doing the things that won’t.
Have you noticed how most times we base obeying God on how we feel? For example, in Jonah’s case, he was struggling with two major feelings that many of us struggle with now.
Resentment Keeps Us Disobedient
You see Jonah wasn’t all too happy to hear what God wanted because the people God wanted him to help made life hell on earth for him and everyone he knew and loved.
Here God was, telling him to go and love the people that had done him wrong.
Many times we ourselves find it hard to love the person that has wronged us.
The person that got an attitude with you at work, or the people who wouldn’t let you sit with them at lunch at school.
Jonah also had resentment towards someone else- God. The big man upstairs made Jonah very unhappy.
You see, Jonah wanted God to be wrathful towards the Ninevites because of his hate with them. But God wasn’t doing what he wanted so he was angry with him.
Can’t you remember a time you were angry at God?
Often times, we blame and resent God for our own troubles, forgetting that many of our troubles are of our own creation or just an effect of life.
You can’t let your own hurts and feelings keep you from God because, in the end, you’re hurting yourself.
Pride Can Stop You From Obeying God
The second emotion that stood in Jonah’s way was his pridefulness. He wanted to fulfill his personal need to keep his pride intact. He didn’t want to submit to God, or humble himself before his tormentors and show them God’s love.
In today’s case, many Christians show this same trait, but it reveals itself differently.
You see as Christians, sometimes we can become prideful in our faith.
We can become so consumed in feeling more enlightened than everyone else, holier than everyone else that we forget to humble ourselves before God and each other.
We get so caught up in being the longest prayer in the congregation, the loudest shouter, the fashion police, the most gifted, we forget to do what God finds most important- like loving each other and bringing others to him.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 says,
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful- so on and so forth.”
Don’t let your pride or resentment get in the way of your focus. Trying to put your needs over God’s is only going to cause you to stumble and fall off his path.
Outside Gratification Keeps Us From Obeying God
Outside gratification is (a word I made up for one) searching for instant gratification from others by giving into societal standards and pressures.
I can only imagine what Jonah must have been thinking when he was called to go to Ninevah.
What was he going to say to his family and friends that hated Nenevah for the same reasons he did?
I’m sure Jonah sat up with friends talking about all of the stuff they would do if they could to the Ninevites.
And now here he was about to go and try to help these people when any one of his friends would’ve torn some stuff up if they were in his shoes.
Jonah was wearing something I like to call the world’s brand.
The world’s brand includes the attitudes everyone likes to see us in. For example, turning away people in need, having bad attitudes with people we don’t like, being negative when in distress, etc.
Now, what about Sunday’s? Well, we’re always wearing God’s Brand on Sundays.
Well, we’re always wearing God’s Brand on Sundays.
We put on our Sundays’ best, throw on the permanent smile, and throw in some hugs to everybody.
We’re helpful, cheerful, and offer the highest praise.
Point: we are the NICEST PEOPLE on Sundays!
But when we wake up Monday morning and it’s back to school or work, we forget all about being the people God wants us to be for acceptance from everyone else BUT God.
So yes, it’s hard to be a Christian when everything else around you tells you it’s weird, or too different, or lame.
But you have to remember being a Christian means you’re supposed to be different.
You’re following a different and better path than everyone else, and that makes all the difference.
Comment Below: What’s your biggest problem when it comes to obeying God?
Is it self-fulfillment? Are you choosing not to listen to God because he wants you to do something that goes against how you feel?
Or Outside Gratification? Are you choosing to disobey him because you want the approvement of others?
See You Soon,