Day 22: Don’t Go The Downward Slope

I have a teaching ministry. And by the grace of God, my teachings are now reaching practically every nation on Earth in various forms: radio, in video, in audio tapes and in print. That’s the practical expression in my life of my commitment to the coming of the kingdom of God.

Now you are not called to do what I’m called to do. But you are called to do something. And first and foremost you need to get your priorities right. It’s not seek the kingdom of God when it suits you or when you’ve attended to all the other things that concern you, seek it first. And when God says first, He means first.

As I was preparing this message I got a vivid picture in my mind of the prophet Jonah. I want to turn there for a moment. God said, “Go to Nineveh and preach what I tell you.” Nineveh was east and Jonah went the opposite direction, he went west. I think the reason why he didn’t want to preach to Nineveh was that he was afraid the people would repent. And, Nineveh was the number one political enemy of his people Israel. So he did not want to do anything that would forward their cause. But that’s my personal opinion.

And the remarkable thing is when God eventually got His way with Jonah, the greatest experience of conversion recorded in history happened through him. An entire city—people believe at least six hundred thousand people—was converted.

But before that happened, Jonah had to learn a lesson. This is very interesting. He lived on the mountains of Galilee. And when he turned his back on God every step he took was a step downwards. He went from the mountains to the plains, to the plains to the harbor, from the harbor to the ship. And, that wasn’t the end. From the ship into the sea.

And let that be a warning to each and every one of us. When you turn your back on God every step you take will be a step downward.

God was on Jonah’s case and when the ship took sail it is said that: “God hurled out a storm into the sea.” And all these pagans began to cry out to God and ask for help. Where was Jonah—the only one who knew the true God, the only one who had the answer. Let me read. Verse 5:

“Then the mariners were afraid and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down and was fast asleep.”

You know what made him sleep? A bad conscience. He couldn’t face life. I’ve met people who take refuge in sleep. I knew a lady who if things went wrong would sleep for sixteen hours. That was her escape from life.

“The captain [who was an unbeliever] came to him and said to him, ‘What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God. Perhaps your God will consider us so that we may not perish.’”

You know, there are a lot of Jonahs in the world today. They’ve had a call from God, they know full well what God wanted them to do. But, it didn’t suit them so they’ve turned their back on God and now while the world is tossing in the tempest, where are they? Down in the bottom of the ship fast asleep. That’s a tragic situation.

Dear Father, help me to never ‘fall asleep’ and turn away from You on the downward slope in disobedience. Show me the specific call You have put on my life and I make myself fully available for You, and the advancement of Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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