Summary: A look at how a defiant attitude can cause us to not care that we're disobeying God.
HOW CAN JONAH SLEEP SO SOUNDLY WHEN RUNNING AWAY FROM GOD? Defiance can overwhelm any sense of guilt.
- Jonah 1:5.
- There are other possibilities here for why Jonah is able to enter into a deep sleep: it could have been physical exhaustion; it could have been that he’s so tormented by his choice away from God that he’s emotionally exhausted; it could have just been the rocking of boat.
- I think that when you look at the book as a whole that the explanation that best fits here is defiance.
- Jonah understands what God is asking him to do and he’s defiant to God’s will.
- We want to think that everyone who is running away from God is just wracked with guilt. They know they’re not doing what God wants them to do and it really bothers them.
- That is often not true, however. Two of the main ways that happens:
a. Over time, we gradually get used to our sin and lose any sense of guilt or remorse over it.
- That’s the one that we tend to talk about more often when we think of this phenomenon.
b. The other option, though, is defiance.
- We don’t like what God is asking of us and we’re defiant toward Him.
- In that situation, we’re wrapped up in our own self-righteousness. We’re consumed by our self-righteous anger.
- When that happens, we aren’t having any guilt feelings. We’re not wringing our hands and wondering if what we’re doing is the right thing. We’re offended by what God is asking of us and we’re standing tall against him, not apologetically, but defiantly.
- Defiance messes up our moral radar.
- I’m reminded of Romans 1:32 which talks about how those who are sinning aren’t just continuing to do them, but they’re actually applauding those who do them. In other words, they’ve shifted from mere accommodation over to framing them as a positive good.
- It’s worth noting here that guilt is not an absolute measure.
- Sometimes we act like it is and that if I don’t feel guilty then I must be alright before God. That’s simply not true.
- We will not ultimately be judged by our sense of guilt. We will not ultimately be judged by our opinions of right and wrong. We will ultimately be judged by God’s standards of truth.
- A lack of guilty feelings does not mean a lack of guilt before God.
- We will not be judged by our feelings, but by the facts.
- We might not feel bad, but that doesn’t diminish our guilt if we’ve stepped across a line.
A GOOD PRAYER IN THAT SITUATION: “Make him miserable.”
- Those who are away from God (whether taken as Christians who are in disobedience or non-believers who have never accepted Him) are often not the least bit bothered by being away from Him. They are defiant in their stance.
- Because of that, one prayer we should be praying is for God to move them from the self-righteous and confident defiance to a place of realizing their wrongness.
- Unfortunately, getting to that place almost always requires the introduction of struggle and problems into that person’s life.
- That sounds like a terrible thing to pray for someone, and I guess in one sense it is.
- In a larger sense, though, it is a merciful prayer. The greater tragedy is not to have to go through struggle, but to stay wrapped up in your defiance and live your life in opposition to God.
- We’re not praying this because we want the person to be miserable, but because we want the person to see their sin and make a change. Far better to have a small struggle now than to face God unprepared later.
EXAMPLES OF TIMES WHEN WE SHOW DEFIANCE TODAY:
- I want to give you some examples of times when we do this today. I’m going to limit myself to the Sermon on the Mount. Some of these things are big things; some of them are smaller issues. But in all of them, there are moments when see the way God is leading and we defiantly say, “No. I’m not going to do that.” And because it’s defiantly, we don’t feel bad afterward.
1. “I’ll stop being mad when she stops being an idiot.”
- We’re warned here to watch our anger, but we justify it and say the problem is them.
2. “I’ll forgive them when they apologize.”
- Matthew 6:12, 14-15.
- We’re called to forgive and not just after the person has groveled to us. We refuse, saying that’s too much for God to ask us to do.
3. “I don’t know anyone who fasts.”