It was like his worst dream had come to life in living color.
God was sending him to the worst possible mission field. The country was an enemy to his nation, the people were obnoxious and hated.
Of all the places on earth!
Rather than obeying God, he decided to do his own thing and travel someplace else. Surely the people there were just as needy for a message from God, right?
Through a series of the most unusual circumstances, God got his attention and he reversed course to fulfill God’s call on his life. However, when Jonah arrived in Nineveh, his call to repentance didn’t come from a heart of love and compassion.
He actually wanted God to destroy the city. He fulfilled God’s command in action, but his heart was filled with prejudice, bitterness, and self-righteousness.
When God chose not to destroy the city, Jonah fell into a depression! He so rejoiced in the destruction that he was sure God would send upon them that when it didn’t happen he literally wanted to die.
We can write convicting posts, articles that go viral and get hundreds and thousands of comments; we can take God’s message all over the world -physically or through technology; we can sacrifice everything we have and even become a martyr for the gospel, but if it’s not done out of a heart of love…
…we have wasted our time!
The question isn’t whether or not we will see the lost come to Christ.
Nineveh still repented despite Jonah’s attitude. Their repentance wasn’t God’s stamp of approval on his attitude or delivery. God was being gracious to the Assyrians, and used that grace to teach Jonah a lesson about love.
It’s not so much what we say as much as what is in our heart when we say it. If what we say does not spring from a fountain of love that seeks to build up and unify God’s church, if more than 50% of what we speak is criticism and negativity, we need to fall on our knees and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with His love so that our words have value and beauty, so that they are easily received and bring forth fruit in the lives of the hearer. – 14 Days of Agape
There are those who – like Jonah – confront a brother or sister in Christ about their sin while choosing not to believe that God can or will bring that person to repentance. Instead, they choose to assume that this brother or sister will remain in their sin. I wonder why they bother at all? Because a confrontation not done in love is an annoyance, not a blessing. If it is not done out of love and genuine faith for their repentance, it is not done in true obedience to God’s Word, it is done in self-righteous pride, assuming that God is not capable to move even the hardest of hearts.
Sure He is! He moved an entire nation to repentance!
My dear friends, if we want our works for the kingdom of God to have value, if we want our lives to count for something, if we want to receive a reward from God’s hand, we must allow His love to saturate every part of us: body, soul and spirit. If we don’t, nothing we do has value, we will be nothing and all be in vain. – 14 Days of Agape
If love isn’t the point, then what’s the point? If the point is to fulfill some sanctimonious requirement, a church activity, prove to God or others how dedicated we are, go into full-time ministry because its expected of us, or any other point we are not a blessing, we are noisy gongs and clashing cymbals.
However, sometimes we have other motives and personal agendas without even realizing it. That’s why Paul didn’t end with verse 3, he went on to show us what real, godly love looks like.
Get ready, because tomorrow we’ll be digging deep.
Have you been guilty of doing God’s work with an ulterior motive or with heart of bitterness and self-righteousness? How did God get your attention?