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Resistance to Commitment - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
September 27, 2022 12:00 am

Resistance to Commitment - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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September 27, 2022 12:00 am

Be encouraged to address the areas you haven't surrendered to the Lord.

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Abidan Shah

Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, or what God has called us to do. that, resisted God's call, resisted what God was asking of him.

And let me begin by simply asking you this. What is it that you know right now that God is requiring of you but you're holding him off? What is God challenging you to give up? What area of your life is he challenging you to alter?

What relationship is he saying to you, sever that? What matter in your business is God challenging you to commit to him? Is it your wealth that he's requiring of you to commit to him?

Is it your faithfulness to him? What is it that God keeps bringing up to you? You see, if you really want to be obedient to God and you're resisting him and your commitment, what happens is he keeps bringing this issue up. You get on to pray, he brings it up. You get on to pray, he brings it up again. So usually what we do, we either eventually deal with what God is bringing up or we cease to pray. You won't keep praying, God keep bringing it up.

One of the two things that'll happen, you will deal with it or you'll stop praying. Well, let's look at Jonah's life for a moment. If you recall in the first chapter, the first verse, the scripture says, the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, arise, go to Nineveh, the great city and cry against it for their wickedness has come up before me.

And so God has said to Jonah, I want you to go to Nineveh and I want you to say to them, thus saith the Lord. But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, found the ship, which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Listen, anytime you're running from the presence of the Lord, you're going down. He went down to Joppa, down to the side inside the ship, always going down, down, down. So when he got down there, the scripture says in verse four that God hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break. And of course, Jonah had gone down into the sides of the ship and gone fast asleep.

So when the captain comes down, wakes him up, he says to him, man, what are you doing sleeping down here? Wake up, come up on deck, call on your God that He may deliver us from this storm. And so when he came up on deck, they cast lots to find out whose fault it was that God had sent this storm because believing in their different gods, they had all kinds of attitudes about magic and so forth and the mysteries of the seas and the skies. And so they said, let's find out whose God has caused this storm.

So when they cast the lots, of course it fell upon Jonah. So they said to him, they said, where are you from? What is your occupation? What are your people?

What country are you from? And this was his answer. He said, I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land. Then the Scripture says that he told them that in verse ten that he was running from the presence of his God. So they kept on questioning him. And finally, he said, just pick me up and throw me overboard. And if you'll do that, the storm will cease.

Well, they didn't want to do that. And so then they began to pray to Jonah's God. They cried out, oh, Lord, do not let us perish on account of this man's life. And so finally, when the storm did not cease, the Scripture says in verse fifteen, so they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. Do you know why some of you are raging on the inside? You've got a Jonah aboard, my friend.

Something in your life that you won't surrender, something in your life that you won't give up, something in your life that you won't face. You absolutely refuse to deal with it. And the storm keeps raging on the inside, and you think somehow you're going to get the storm to cease and keep holding on to what is not of God in your life.

It'll never happen. That's not the way God operates. Threw him overboard. And it's interesting what the Scripture says. The Scripture says the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. So the fish swallows up Jonah.

After a while, something happens here. The Scripture says in chapter two, verse one, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish. Now, as you read this chapter, you see a man in true distress. Jonah prayed to the Lord. And he says, I called out of my distress to the Lord.

Now, I expect if he'd ever been distressed, he was distressed right then. And the Scripture says, he answered me, and I cried for help from the depth of shield, from the grave, he said. You heard my voice, for you have cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas. And the current engulfed me, the current inside of that great fish. And all thy breakers and billows passed over me.

Here he was being tossed to and fro in the inside of this fish, and the water covered him. Verse five, water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me. Weeds were wrapped around my head. I descended to the roots of the mountains.

The earth with its bars was round me forever. But thou brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. Now, listen, verse seven, while I was fainting away, he thought he was dying.

I mean, this is it. While he was dying, he said, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to thee into thy holy temple. Then, verse nine, that which I have vowed I will pay. Now, listen, you can imagine why he would make a vow before God to go to Nineveh. That is, what he was saying is, I made a commitment to you, Lord, and at this very desperate moment of my life, anything, God, just get me out of here. He says, I will go to Nineveh. I'll do exactly what you say.

Now, let me give you a little warning. Don't wait till God has you in the clutches of pressure until you are willing to say, yes, Lord, I'll do your will. You know why Jonah took this ride on the whale? The reason he took a ride is because he rebelled against God. He refused to fulfill the commitment he'd made to God as a prophet. He committed himself to God. God made a call to his life.

He refused to be obedient to God. So God put the pressure on him. Sometimes we cry out to God and we say, oh, Lord, I don't know why I'm in this mess.

Yes, we do. We got ourselves in this mess. We are where we are because we deliberately disobeyed God. We heard the call of God. God began to deal with our hearts in a certain area of our life.

He's telling us what to do, how to do it, how to go about it. We say, oh, no, Lord, not this. And while you are healthy and strong and you're in control, it's very easy to say, God, not now. When you get in the belly of the whale, my friend, and as he says he thought he was dying, that is one point in your life where you're willing to be obedient.

Don't force God's hand to put you under such tremendous pressure before you're obedient to him. So the scripture says, of course, that the whale, fish, vomited him out on the shore. Look, if you will, in chapter three, verse one. Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.

He didn't have to come the third time, just the second time. Came to the second time and said, arise, go to Nineveh the great city, proclaim to it the proclamation which I'm going to tell you. So Jonah rose, went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Nineveh was an exceeding great city, a three days journey.

Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk. He cried out and said, yet 40 days and Nineveh will be overthrown. Now when we talk about and ask the question, why would you and I resist God? All of us have made some commitment to him in some fashion or another, but knowing God as you know him already, why would you and I resist him? Well, one of the primary reasons we resist and refuse to fulfill our commitment to God is number one, we're afraid. We become fearful. We are fearful first of all that we'll fail.

Here's what God's called you to do, some area of service in your life and you think, oh God, suppose I fail. Afraid of failure. Afraid of criticism. What will they say if I don't measure up to their expectation?

Afraid of exposure. They're going to see my weaknesses. They're going to see my faults. They're going to see that I'm not as good as I ought to be. I'm not as capable as I'd like to be or that they'll see that there are other people who are more capable than I am and other people who can do a better job than I can do.

And so we're afraid of exposure, afraid of failing, afraid of the unknown. Suppose I do what God says do, what's going to happen then? Listen, the act of faith is being willing to place your trust in the wisdom and the will of God without knowing the outcome. How many times has God required of you something and you said, Lord, but suppose this and what you did, you paraded before God all the things that could possibly happen. And when you built your case, looking at your own case, you became so fearful. You said, Well, God, there's no way for me to do that.

Suppose any one of these things happen, and then what will happen to me? You see, if you, my friend, will be honest, one of the primary reasons we don't obey God is we are afraid of the results of the circumstances because we don't know the circumstances. We don't know the ultimate outcome. We say, Oh, Lord, but if you'll just tell me what's going to happen and assure me that everything is going to be all right, then I'll do it. That isn't obedience and that isn't faith. That's trying to fit God into your mold and trying to make Him fit into your plan so that you're not trusting God, not obeying God. You're just following by sight, not by faith.

He's not going to do that. Let me ask you this. How many blessings have you missed in your life because you were afraid to trust God? What have you missed in your business life because you were afraid to trust God? What have you missed in your relationship to others? Wouldn't open up, wouldn't be honest, wouldn't be open, wouldn't become transparent. Do you know what you've missed?

You've missed deep abiding friendships and fellowship. What have you missed in life because you were afraid to give your money to God? Well, if I give God ten percent, what's going to happen to what I have left? I can tell you, my friend, He will multiply.

That's what will happen to it. But you see, if you don't trust Him and you say, well, suppose I give God a tithe. Look at who I owe.

You want to get your bills paid off? Start giving to God first. You see, if you sit back until you've got it all figured out, what you're saying is, Lord, I'm afraid of the circumstances. And until you can assure me what's going to happen, I'm not going to do it.

Then, my friend, you will ultimately utterly devastatingly fail in the eyes of God if you don't place your trust in Him. Are you afraid of failure? Afraid of criticism? Fearful of what people are going to see?

Exposure to see you just the way you are? Is it the unknown that troubles you? Is that the reason you won't follow through on your commitment to Jesus Christ? There's a second reason that we fail to follow through on our commitment, and that is just pure selfishness.

And here's the problem. Oh, is this what you want me to do, Lord? Well, here are my plans. That doesn't happen to fit into what I want to do. And more often than not, one of the primary reasons we don't obey God is because what God is requiring of us doesn't fit our plan. That doesn't fit what I want. It doesn't fit my schedule. It doesn't fit where I want to go. It doesn't fit what I want to do. And so we say, Lord, no, that's not what I want to do. Now, we don't say that.

We just casually and quietly go about doing our own thing. And what we're saying is, Lord, your plan doesn't match my plan. I choose my plan over your plan, so what we do is we rebel against God out of a pure motive of selfishness.

Your plan doesn't meet mine. Now, let me tell you why Jonah refused to follow through on his commitment to God as a prophet. He was very prejudiced against the Ninevites. The Ninevites were about 500 miles east of Jerusalem, and they were a threat to the people of God. Jonah didn't want them to repent. He wanted God to destroy the people of Nineveh. Now, let me show you why that's true. Look back into chapter 4 for a moment.

He gets so upset. Look if you will in verse 1. He says, And he prayed to the Lord and said to him, Please, Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this, I fled to Tarshish. I knew that thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me.

Death is better than life. You know what he wants? Rather than be obedient to God, and here's God, he's performed a tremendous miracle among these heathens, and here's Jonah up in, here he is up here pouting. That's really what he's doing.

He's pouting. He said in verse 5, Then Jonah went up from the city, sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what was going to happen in the city. Now, what was he going to do?

He was going to stay there 40 days. God said, In 40 days, I'm going to wipe this place out if you don't repent. So people repenting all over the place, and God's awakening the city, he's sitting up on the hillside hoping God's judgment's going to rain down. Verse 6, So the Lord God appointed, now he appointed a fish, now he's appointing something else. He appointed a plant, and he grew it over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomforts. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. Now listen, unhappy about the revival meeting and happy about the plant, where was his priorities?

Is that about the way you felt sometime? Totally, listen, totally unconcerned about spiritual things and concerned about something that had no lifetime value to it at all. Now listen what God did. God saw his attitude, but God appointed a worm. God appointed a worm. When dawn came the next day, it attacked the plant, and it withered.

So here he is sitting up there waiting to see what's going to happen, and all the shade's gone. It came about when the sun came up that God appointed, here's God appointing something else. God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint and begged with all of his soul to die, saying, Lord, death is better to me than life. And God said to him, Jonah, do you have a good reason to be angry about this plant? He said, I have a good reason to be angry even to death. Then the Lord said, You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right hand, their left, as well as many animals? Isn't it interesting that that ends the book?

Here was Jonah. He didn't get his way with God. Have you ever pouted because you didn't get your way? No, I'm not going to do that.

That's not what I want to do. Selfishness. Now, he was prejudiced because he was afraid the Ninevites were going to attack God's people, and so he refused to be obedient to God.

Now, listen, here's what I want you to see. Sometimes the reason we disobey God is we have God's plan all misfigured. We think, oh, Lord, if I do thus and so, here's what's going to happen.

What you must remember is this. If God tells you to do something, God knows the beginning, the end, the middle, the ultimate results, and God also knows if He's telling you to do it, He's telling you to do it for a divine reason which you and I are not to question but rather obey. And that's the reason God tells us to do something. Look, if you will, the Scripture says He disobeyed God. His plans didn't fit God's plans.

He was prejudiced. And then I think there are two other things that I'd mentioned concerning us, and that is sometimes we say to God, oh, Lord, I couldn't do that. It's too costly. What is that going to cost me? Or, Lord, that will inconvenience me. But you see, the real problem was selfishness.

You see, our selfishness will absolutely destroy us. What we have to ask is, Lord, what did I commit myself to? I committed myself to living in submission to your divine authority whether I liked it or not. That's living under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

But that's the third reason I believe that sometime we resist the Lord, and that is we have a poor self-image. Oh, God, not me. You've got to be talking about somebody else. There's no way for you to be talking about me.

You must be talking about him or her. Lord, let me give you a list of prospects that you could call on. You could ask all of these folks to do a job.

They'd do a much better job than I. You couldn't be calling me. Look at me.

You remember the sixth chapter of Judges when God came to speak to Gideon about freeing the Israelites from the Philistine bondage. The Bible says the angel of the Lord, who is Christ, approached him while he was down there working at the mill, and the angel addressed him by saying, O valiant warrior. Who? Me? O valiant warrior?

Not me. He says, while my family's the least in all of Israel, besides that, he said, you know, I feel so inadequate, you can be, listen, that's the kind of people God's looking for. People who are inadequate apart from God.

Adequate in him, but totally inadequate apart from him. You see, we resist being committed to God because we're afraid. We don't know what's going to happen.

Selfishness, poor self-image, don't know how to respond to these things. Suppose I get in the middle of this Lord and I can't handle it. Then what?

Let me show you something. Whatever God calls you to do, my friend, when he gets you in the middle of it, you bet your life he's going to be in the middle of it with you. So whatever he calls you to do, he's going to take your hand. He's going to walk with you through that every single step of the way. All he's looking for is commitment. All he wants you to do is to follow through on what you said to him when you said, I receive you as my savior my life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-03 07:48:14 / 2023-01-03 07:56:39 / 8

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