The Journey - May 8, 2014

The Journey with Ron Moore

Circumstantial Christian | Jonah 1:17-2:9

Jonah 1:17-2:9 But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.' The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit 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."

Jonah had been running from God, ignoring God, wanting nothing to do with God...until…until he woke up in the belly of a great fish. Amazing how our circumstance changes our attitude. Amazing, isn’t it, how people, who are running from God, get “religion” when they find themselves in a difficult situation? I have met with men who wanted nothing to do with God until they lost their job, or their marriage met disaster, or their child was giving them fits. They got real religious until they found another job, or their wife came back, or the situation with little Johnny settled down. Then they were back to the same ole, same ole.

How about you? Are you a “Circumstantial Christian?” When things are going well, you pretty much leave Jesus out of the picture. But when things go south, when you get swallowed by the big fish, you’re all about wanting Jesus to bail you out. Jonah had been ignoring God, flat-out turning his back on God, but now, “from inside the fish Jonah prayed.”

Following Jesus should not be dependent on our circumstances. We should trust him just as much in our success as in our failure. When we have a job or when we don’t, our dependence on him should be the same. When our marriage is going great, just as many prayers of thanksgiving should be on our lips as prayers for help are when things are challenging. Why do we get really serious about prayer right before the big exam? Why do we keep so busy running and only stop to pray “from inside the fish?”

Father, I don’t want to be a circumstantial Christian. I don’t want to get “religion” when things are challenging. I want to serve you full-out every day in good times and bad times. Help me to move from circumstantial to consistent. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

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