Selfish Child

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Jonah 4:1-10

After Jonah delivers the message to Nineveh he has his own little pity party because things didn't go the way he wanted. He's basically angry with God because God chose to spare Nineveh when they repented (Hmmm...isn't that what God did for Jonah, too?). Anyway, this selfish behavior continues when Jonah goes outside Nineveh to wait and see what will happen. Jonah's behavior reminded me of a spoiled child, and by the time I finished Jonah 4, I found myself thinking Maybe Jonah could use another dose of fish belly!

Now as much as I want to point my finger at Jonah, I know I've acted like a spoiled, selfish child and treated God poorly more than once in the past and I'm guessing you have too. So what are some things we can do to combat this kind of attitude and thinking? And, for those times when we do end up there, what do we do to get back to the right perspective? Tami W.

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I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

-John Newton---1779

Spend time every day being thankful even for the small things and thanking God. It changes your whole frame of reference. I struggle with a grouchy spirit, so I have to ask God for help with my grouchiness and He does! I self talk to myself. I have enough experience with my grouchiness to know my triggers and before when my back used to arch up when I felt a trigger coming, now I try to remember to say a quick prayer, Father help me. Because I know I'm about to be tempted. Sometimes I'll get caught off guard and when I respond how God would want me to I get so Happy and Thank Him because I didn't go to grouchyville. Put on a Spirit of Thankfulness each and every morning and throughout the day look for opportunities to be Thankful.

I am greatly greaved at todays reading. I am totally disgusted with Jonah's attitude and unthankfulness. Almost immediately God showed me a picture of myself and my inability to stop whining about my situation. Which probably explains why I am so disgusted. I have been looking at all the things that others have (believers and unbelievers alike) that the Lord has not given me and asking why He doesn't love me that much. Like Jonah, I think I'm trying to goad God into actions that would materially benefit me. Thank You Lord that Your grace is sufficient to break through the darkess of Jonah and myself.

It is real easy to get caught up in negative thoughts, like you thought a job interview went well, but didn't get a call back. I find myself catching myself from the "woe is me" deal, to thinking that maybe the Lord knew that this was not the right place and time for me. And amazingly, I often get a call for another interview somewhere else that same day! We just have to know ourselves, and what our triggers are, and the warning signs of when we are about to start acting like a spoiled little brat, and nip them in the bud. At that moment, I like to take time to say a prayer of thanks for all the good things I do have in my life, and ask God for the strength to keep in my quest to be able to better take care of my family.

I sometimes use a tool from my support group, Celebrate Recovery, called a Gratitude List. Maybe it came originally from AA. I list all of the good things happening in my life. It really helps.

Also, I relate to David M. I have had many interviews that I thought went well with no call back. I'm still waiting on two right now. But I have three interviews today that I can thank God for! So at least I have no reason to be down. I pray for all of us who are going through this hard time of finding work that we would seek our value in Christ, and look for ways to be kind to our interviewers, since we are called to minister to everyone.

I've often noticed that when God transforms an individual that we often perceive as destined for hell based on our assessment of their lifestyle, there are times when as Christians we are hesitant to embrace or accept them into our fellowship when they get saved. Simply because they may have criticized us when they were in the world or they may look a bit different from us on the outside, that is, with a tattoo here and there or with signs of body piercings.
The fact is, when the Spirit of God moves on an individual and grabs a hold of their life, it doesn't matter what they are involved in, mixed up with or the direction in which they were heading; it is God working through the Holy Spirit who's responsible for reaching and rescuing all of us from the darkness of sin. We are therefore not to consider ourselves so "sanctified" that we forget where we once were and had it not been for the grace of God we would've been lost (I really can't help but get emotional at this point). I am thinking of the words of the song writer: "O the love that drew salvation's plan, O the love that brought him down to man, O the might gulf that God did span at Calvary".
Finally, we should all have the attitude of the angels, which is to rejoice and give glory to God when a sinner is saved, and in fact, count ourselves privileged to have the opportunity to share in nurturing them in the word.

Something struck me today, although I have read this before. Jonah didn’t want this nation to repent. He didn’t even want to give them the opportunity to repent because he knew the character of God and that God was “a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster”. Lest we get too smug, let’s not forget that Jonah was a prophet, someone that God used and wanted to be used by God. If Jonah could fall into that way of thinking, I’m pretty sure that I can too.

I wondered as I read this passage about the motivation behind the various individuals and groups who loudly proclaim God’s hatred of sin and call down judgement on those who are either living in sin or living according to a lifestyle that they may find offensive. I think, for example, of people who practise their sexuality in ways contrary to the word of God. There is no shortage of those who will proclaim God’s displeasure and hatred – not only of the sin, but of those engaged in it. Is the motivation to see a genuine repentance? Or is the motivation to call down judgement and then delight to see God punish. I expect that there are those in both groups. It saddens me when I see well meaning Christians want to see God punish rather than save. But that is really no different from Jonah is it?

Jonah must be alive and well in 2011! After all, I've been around so many Christians, including myself, who are jealous or otherwise mad at what others have or how they live their lives. Has anyone ever been around Christians who say such things as: "God is really dealing with them" when a tradjedy strikes them. Sometimes we Christians don't need to stand around waiting for tradgedy to hit someone (especially the unsaved), just so that we can say that God is really with them. Instead, we need to lead by example by living a Christian life (remeber Jesus said that the two great commandments were to love the Lord our God with all we have and then love our neighbors in a likewise manner (paraphrasing)) As Christians we don't need to stand on a hill watching and waiting for God to deal with them. Rather, we need to go to the lost and explain God's plan for salvation. We also need to go to our brothers and sisters, regardless of their denomination, and help them when help is needed.
We also need to remember that as we stand on that high hill watching, that a storm may arise, and we need to remember that lighting tends to hit the high places first. Maybe it will be you who gets hit by the storm, and then your friends can stand on their own hill and say that God is dealing with you.
Let's make a change folks and live the life that Christ showed us.

I was amazed and a little amused at Jonah's brattiness...until I realized that I have basically done the same thing more than once. I am growing in maturity but I will combat that attitude by praying and realizing that everything is God's and that he desires mercy.

Thirty-nine years ago I spent a nine months in developing countries, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and others. I saw how desperately poor many millions of people were. When I returned home I realized how really rich we in the first world really are. Even now I am overwhelmed by the quantity and selection of food we have in our stores. That trip taught me to help the poor and serve God when ever I can and the giving of aid stimulates a feeling of gratitude to God for the privilege of living here, surrounded by abundance. Since then I have had a few very bad experiences that God has allowed into my life but they have always been followed (not always immediately) with a greater blessing (see Romans 8:28). The lessons I learned were deep and eternal. They were enough show me to trust God always. "The Lord gives, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord". I am content.

Jonah needed to be humbled, and God did just that...blasted his gourd and laid him low. It's a lesson we all must go through; the breaking of our pride and the instruction of selflessness. God's word tells us again and again the benefits of humility...consider this verse (Jesus speaking); “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Think He's talking about humility here? Food for thought....

Yes, as already been posted, I too have pouted when I haven't gotten "my way". Then I had a reality check and realize my Father God is the one in control. HE is the one who controls me and everything within and around me and I humbled myself and get a child-like heart in His presence. Needing Him, not He needing me! I also realize the hopefully, His denial may just be a delay.

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About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Tami W published on November 3, 2011 5:00 AM.

Never Too Far was the previous entry in this blog.

Lessons from Jonah is the next entry in this blog.

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