April 23, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"And Jonah arose and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD." Jonah 3:3
Have you ever considered how long-suffering God is with us? Especially when He seeks to lead us in a way that is for our good and His glory. Whatever we encounter in life, we need to learn to accept it in grace, deal with it in honesty, and, through prayer, go through it in His strength. He will be our sufficiency, deepen our faith, strengthen our commitment, and glorify Himself.
It was not until God dealt with Jonah the second time that Jonah responded in obedience with a sense of urgency. I think Jonah realized that God was going to deal with Nineveh, not because of who he was, but because of WHO GOD WAS. It is beyond our comprehension what God did through an unworthy servant like Jonah. He was a Jew and the mortal enemy of these people.
It is not that God needs us...WE NEED GOD! God can do anything He pleases without us. God will accomplish His will. If we fail to respond to His leading, we are the ones who lose out on the blessing God had for us.
Yet when Jonah proclaimed his simple message, "Repent or perish," they believed God, declared a fast, put on sackcloth and ashes, and cried out mightily to God. Even the king issued a decree for them to call on God and turn from their evil ways. The sincerity of their repentance brought a radical reformation in their hearts and a transformation in their lives! This was wholly the work of God, and so it must be in our lives if we are to experience such a radical change.
Repentance does not simply bring us to an awareness of our sin but to a sense of "utter unworthiness." These people were not content with some meaningless acknowledgment of their sin. "They cried mightily unto God" because of their sin. They saw how deeply they merited God's displeasure and wrath. Their concept of God was an avenging God who was just in His actions. Their repentance demanded a complete change in their commitment and the focus of their life.
James writes that your "faith is dead" if it does not manifest itself in and through your life in HOLY LIVING! The dimension of your spiritual life will be in direct relation to your daily walk, your attitude, your relationship to others, your speech, the place self has in your life, and the whole of your life! Jesus sets the standard and it is up to us to accept or reject it. He said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself daily and take up his cross, and follow me."
The fruit of the Spirit--love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance--can be manifested only through a clean and pure heart, made so by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It requires a total commitment of our will to His divine lordship. The channel must be free of impediments that hinder the full and free flow of His Spirit through us. When God seeks to work in our lives, may we respond immediately and fully!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-04-23
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