Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17
“…and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.” (Jonah 3:10b – 4:1)
I thoroughly enjoy reading the little book of Jonah. This was one of the first Bible passages that I ever read or learned about as a child; but it still helps me today. I got to thinking about how Jonah is not much different than me a lot of times. I get rather apathetic toward the things of God; and sometimes even get hardened toward His people, losing my compassion for them. As I read today, I thought about three ways that you can tell that you are a backslidden preacher. By the way, this does not just apply to preachers in the pulpit, any Christian can make these applications.
You know you are a backslidden preacher when:
1 You avoid and even run away from opportunities to serve God.
Jonah was given a unique opportunity to serve God by preaching to the Ninevites: a people that God loved, but Jonah despised. Millions of others were bypassed, and God chose Jonah; but he refused; he rebelled; he ran away from the will of God. Preachers and Christians today often do the same thing. It may be something as big as running from a ministry; or it may be something as small as not volunteering to serve in the nursery. Either way, an opportunity was there to serve the God of Heaven, to make a difference in His Kingdom; but it was refused.
2 Your life ceases to be a blessing to those around you; but rather, you become a burden.
If Jonah was on board the ship on his way to fulfilling the will of God, the sailors would have been helped along the way by the blessings of God. Notice also, that it took the storm to get Jonah to even mention God to the sailors.
3 You fail to rejoice when God saves a soul. You even get angry in the midst of revival.
I remember when I was in college. We used to see literally hundreds of people saved and baptized every week. At first, I was excited as I saw the the people lining up for baptism, but after I had been there for a while it got old and I wondered to myself “when will the service be over. I want to go home.” The thought of people getting saved didn’t thrill me like it used to. Now I am here in New Jersey, and I don’t see nearly as many saved as I used to; but I got my excitement back. God gets excited over one sinner that repents. We have become hardened to the true spiritual victories that God gives us. We would be thrilled if somebody gave us something tangible, but we have lost our zeal over the spiritual blessings.
Have you found yourself becoming like Jonah? Do you get angry about the trivial, when God is doing great things in the eternal realm? Ask God to re-kindle the flame of revival in your heart; and re-ignite a passion for people.
Posted in Thoughts from Jonah by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.