In Pursuit of the Disobedient, Part 5

Eliminating the Disobedience

Jonah 1:15 says, "Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm" (NIV). Sometimes the only way to calm the raging storms in our life is to eliminate the disobedience and deal with the sin by throwing it overboard. Micah 7:19 says, "You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (NIV). There is no compassionate, merciful, gentle way to deal with sin. Throw it overboard!

For some, that means literally separating yourself from an ungodly relationship at work or school or in a dating relationship. Throw it overboard. For others, it means to completely abandon a lifestyle that the Word teaches is sin. Throw it overboard. For some, it means eliminating an attitude of faithlessness, anger, bitterness, or jealousy. Get together with God and throw it overboard and into the sea. Some may need to seek forgiveness; others may need to offer it. Whatever it takes, look to God, repent, and watch the Lord begin to calm the raging storms in your life.

A good prayer to start with would be the one Jonah prayed while enjoying the world's first submarine ride. "'Those who cling to worthless idols forget the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord'" (2:8–9, NIV). In this prayer we find the order of a godly life. First, we must recognize that by holding onto the useless idols of sin in our life, we waive all rights to the grace being offered to us by God. The Lord God Almighty is a jealous God, and reminds us quite specifically, "'I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols'" (Isaiah 42:8, NIV). All worship on earth can be classified into two simple categories: the worship of the Lord God and the worship of useless idols. We must serve one or the other, but we cannot serve both (Matthew 6:24).

But if, with a song of thanksgiving in our hearts, we will sacrifice to God our will and our personal agenda in life, and make good on our vows, then we will see that "salvation comes from the Lord." But this salvation, which is available to "whoever believes in him" (John 3:16), is only available to those who release their grasp of their own will and embrace the grasp of God.

James D. Thornber