The truth is that no person who believes in God has a problem in praying to God or going to a place of worship, but they do have a problem in surrendering their complete lives to God and obeying God as the Bible says; many people have a problem responding to the call of God, as that requires sacrifice, commitment and a giving up of pleasures of the world; many others prefer to maintain a relationship with God on their terms and want to just avoid the real issues that God wants you to deal with; then there are certain others who do not want to get serious with God and like to maintain just a peripheral relationship with God: if you are a person who is pious and religious and yet has attitude as mentioned above then you are running from God instead of running to him.
Sometimes even when their lives are in deep trouble, they still run from God. They pray, they tell God their problems and expect God to answer them and help them out, but they still do not want to obey God or surrender their lives to God; they sing to Him or even go to Church but they do not sincerely seek His will for their lives. They want to live their lives their way rather than the way God wants them to live. They are afraid that they will lose their pleasures and fun if they run to God and obey Him. They want independence from God and His word as it allows them to be who they want to be… That’s running from God!
CONSEQUENCES OF RUNNING FROM GOD
The Bible talks about a prophet called Jonah, whom God called from Israel, to preach in Nineveh of Assyria. Jonah realized that if he preached in Nineveh and the people repented of their sins, God would forgive them, and he did not want God to be merciful to them, because Assyria was Israel’s enemy. So, instead of going to Nineveh Jonah went in the opposite direction to a place called Tarshish! Jonah was running from God and His calling. Jonah probably believed that his thought was better than God’s thought for him, his plan better than God’s plan and his way better that God’s way. He probably thought that he would have a more peaceful and settled life that way.
Are you a person like that: going in the opposite direction of God’s will for your life, going in the opposite direction to God’s word, and thinking that if you just do what you want and maintain a safe distance from God – not too far not too close – your life would be better?
The fact of the matter is this: sooner or later a great storm, in the form of any great problem, will come against your life, even as a great storm came against the ship in which Jonah was traveling. Everything in your life might be good and peaceful now and so you might not feel the need to come to God and surrender your life; don’t be deceived, Jesus said in Luke 6:46 – 49, that the storm and flood will come against everyone’s life, and when it comes, it will reveal on what foundation each one’s life is built. If you listen to His word and obey Him, your life will withstand every storm. If you listen to His word
and obey Him, your life
will withstand every storm.
The storm will come against the very thing – your freedom, your life, your family, your job, your pleasures, your money – you use as an excuse to run away from God. Everything might seem ok for a time but the storm will come, (may be it is already in your life, if it is you should have the humility to accept it!), and it will not cease unless you repent and turn your life into the hands of God.
BOLDNESS AND HUMILITY TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR WRONGDOING
While the storm raged, Jonah went down into the ship and slept. He probably was just avoiding the whole issue of having walked away from the voice of God and pretending as though he had done nothing wrong. Do you pretend as though you have not disobeyed the word of God and have done nothing wrong at all? Do you just sleep over your sins and wrongdoings?
It was only after the shipmates had cast lots and found out that the reason for the storm was Jonah, that he acknowledged that the storm was because of him.
Do you realize that many of the problems you are facing may be because you are not in the right place with God? Many people don’t like acknowledging it. Pretending and not acknowledging your wrongs will only worsen your situation.
There is no point in saying that your problems are the natural fallout of events or thinking that life is full of problems anyway. When your life is given over to God completely you will have the fullness of life Jesus promised, and that means he will calm every raging storm that comes against your life when you walk in His way.
You need to search your life and see if you are following God as the Bible says or are you following Him the way you want, the way you think is right. You need to search your heart to see if you have disobeyed the voice of God in any area of your life, or acted without integrity and sincerity in your relationships. When you search your heart this way it will show that you are running towards God and not away from Him.
‘I WOULD RATHER DIE THAN DO THE WILL OF GOD’
When Jonah realized he was the reason for the storm, he could have repented, but instead he told the people in the ship to throw him overboard that the storm might stop, and at least their lives saved. Jonah knew that the storm raged because of his disobedience to God but he refused to repent. In essence he was saying, ‘I would rather die than do the will of God’.
'God wants to help you and
bless you, just love Him and
obey Him, and let the goodness
and mercy of God transform you.'It could also be that, as in the case of Jonah, you know where you are wrong but you still do not want to repent or change. That would show that you have a stubborn heart and a stiff-necked attitude! You know you are not obeying God fully but you prefer to leave it that way, just as Jonah did. And you still try all natural means to improve your situation but will not turn your life fully over to God. You can be sure that your life will continue to go further downhill; you cannot fight God and His will and still prosper! Because of Jonah’s stubbornness, from the ship he went down into the sea. His life was getting into a deeper mess. So will yours, if you run from God’s will, and have an attitude of, ‘I would rather die than do the will of God’!
You cannot sit on the fence, live a compromising life and get the blessing of the Almighty God. Many people maintain a stubborn heart against the will of God and then blame God when He does not answer their prayers. They expect God Almighty to dance to their tunes and are enraged if he does not! Proverbs 19:3 says,
‘Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame the Lord.’ (GNT)
God wants to help you and bless you, just love Him and obey Him, and let the goodness and mercy of God transform you.
As soon as Jonah was thrown overboard, the Bible says that God had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, and he was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. God gave Jonah another chance to repent. He could have been killed in the sea but God had mercy on him. He will do the same for you. While certain things happened in your life, you could have been completely destroyed, but God just protected you sufficiently to give you another chance. May be the problem you are going through right now is just another chance for you to turn back to the will of God. Don’t ignore or resist His voice.
Jonah repented in the belly of the fish and called on the name of the Lord. And once he did that the fish vomited him out on to the land. Jonah finally had run back to God. Once you sincerely repent your life will start falling back into good shape and everything will be restored. The Bible says in Joel 2:25 that God will restore to you everything that the enemy has destroyed. Everything that has been lost or destroyed in your life, God is well able to restore to you if you run to Him.
The Bible says that when Jonah was thrown overboard the raging storm ceased. Many times it is because of your disobedience to God, probably, that others are suffering – your family, you office, and others around you. If you change your life then their lives will also become better.
THE BEST THING
There is no substitute for repentance and obedience.
Just being spiritual or pious is absolutely useless. There is nothing called, ‘…having a relationship with God my own way’. A relationship with God can be only the way God wants, and that is according to God’s unchangeable word – the Bible. Running from God, His voice, His will, His plan, will eventually destroy your life.
Running to God is the best thing you can do for your life. Obedience and submission is what God requires. Rather than losing fun and joy in our life, you will find true joy, happiness and satisfaction when you run to God and submit yourself to Him and His will.