Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Direction Changed, Mind Not - Martin Wiles

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. Jonah 4:1 NLT

“A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still.” 

And Ron was. He was a charter church member and had seen many preachers come and go. This new one had come in like a whirlwind and began changing everything. He was making the church do things they’d never done before and in unfamiliar ways. Quite a few members had left. No new preacher was going to run him off though. He reluctantly went along with most of the changes even though his heart wasn’t in it, taking every opportunity to create discord along the way. 

Jonah wasn’t much different than Ron. God told him to go in a direction he had no interest in. Nineveh was full of wickedness and enemies. Why should he want them to be pardoned by God. Unlike Ron, he didn’t hang around but took a boat going in the opposite direction. God showed up in the form of a big fish and swallowed Jonah whole. 

Among the seaweed and undigested marine life, Jonah decided to change directions. Shriveled and smelly, he strolled into the city and yelled, “Repent.” They did, but Jonah rewarded God’s grace with anger. He changed directions, but his heart didn’t. 

Peer pressure, guilt, regret, and ulterior motives can all convince me to change directions. If everyone else is doing it, maybe I should as well. If I’ve wronged you in the past, maybe I should help you before it’s too late. And maybe the change is worth it if I can see my name in lights. Ron and Jonah were convinced to go in the right direction but for the wrong reason. 

I’ve gone in the right direction for the wrong reason myself. When I do, there’s always a battle inside my heart along with dissatisfaction. The only cure is to go in the right direction for the right reason. And the only way I can do this is through repentance and heart-felt sorrow for my actions or attitude. Then I can accept what God sends my way or calls me to do with the right spirit. God’s way is always best; I simply have to believe it. Hopefully, it won’t require a stint in a whale’s belly. 

Is your heart in sync with the direction you’re traveling?

Prayer: Father, as we travel the way You’re leading us, help us to go with a willing heart and for the right reasons. 

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