Summary: This is part 5 of a 5 part series on surviving the storms of life. Jonah storms are storms of our own making. Find out what causes these storms and how to prevent them and even stop them once they are started.
Surviving the Storms of Life
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the storms of life and how to survive and even thrive in the midst of them. We have walked through spring showers, thunderstorms, and even category 5 hurricanes. Today I want to finish this series by talking with you about a different kind of storm, a Jonah storm. These are storms of our own making. Some characteristics of Jonah Storms.
They can be of varying intensity - from spring showers to Category 5.
If not dealt with they will become deadly. Even spring showers Jonah style are deadly.
These are the only storms that WE can control.
These storms represent a fundamental spiritual problem.
Let’s look at Jonah chapter 1.
If we are going to survive Jonah storms we need to know several things. I said before that these are the only storms over which we have control. Therefore we need to know where they come from and how to stop them or better yet how to prevent them.
1) Causes (v.1-3) Now I want you to know that I have named these Jonah storms for a reason. Not because he is the only one in scripture to have them, to the contrary almost every important person in the scriptures has faced these storms. Jonah just is a perfect example in a few verses. He displays perfectly all four of the major causes of these storms. Let’s look at four major causes of Jonah storms.
1a) Disobedience God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh. Jonah boards a ship for Tarshish. Understand Nineveh is in the east near modern day Mosul Iraq. Tarshish is in the west on the Mediterranian. Jonah did exactly the opposite of what God said to do. Now let me tell you something very important this morning. You cannot disobey God without consequence. God’s desire is always for our best. As a father watches over his children so God watches over us. Always desiring the very best for our lives. He gives us instruction for a reason - to protect us and prosper us. We disobey him at our own peril. I talk with people all the time who know what God wants for them but they simply say "I know it’s not right but I’m going to do it anyway."
1b) SELF-indulgence - What I mean by this is pampering that part of ourselves that cries out to be indulged. The I part. I want, I deserve, I need, I, I, I. Jonah didn’t want to do what God said to do - so he didn’t and he paid the price. Jonah cared more about feeling good than about obeying God. The danger in this is that what feels good and what is good is often different. I could spend all day talking about this but I think you know what I mean. You know the difference between right and wrong - between good and bad. While wrong and bad might feel good for a moment they lead to a lifetime of consequences. Sin might feel good for a moment but ask Jonah and he would tell you that "Sin always takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you want to pay."
1c) Spiritual Disregard - The scripture says the "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Jonah disregarded the spiritual war that was raging around him. Satan had a plan for Nineveh (the thief comes but to kill, steal, and destroy). God had a plan for Nineveh (Ch 3:5 "Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.") What Jonah failed to realize was that he had the opportunity to be the servant or God or the servant of the Enemy but he was going to be one or the other. Folks you cannot live your life with no regard for spiritual matters - they are life.
1d) Outthinking God - What I mean by this is thinking we know better than God what should be done. Have you wondered why Jonah did what he did? Was he scared to go to Nineveh? Was he intimidated by the scope of the job? Look at Chapter 4:2. Jonah knew that God would change Nineveh and he didn’t want Nineveh changed. He wanted them destroyed. We get into major problems when we think we know better than God what should be done. The world is full of progressive thinkers who reject the word of God. I listened to a news program the other morning where a broadcaster actually advocated abstinence till marriage. A email came in asking what century he was living in. Folks it doesn’t matter what century your living in truth is truth. You might think it’s outdated you might think it’s old fashioned but you are going to learn eventually that God knows best. You may be one of those who thinks we have fought the sexual revolution and that society has chosen a better way. The truth is that the battle is still raging - the front has just shifted - now the battle rages in abortion clinics, aids hospices, and sexually transmitted disease treatment. The truth is on many fronts we are still losing - we think we are in the midst of cultural progress and the truth is we have cast off all restraint and now we are reaping the whirlwind in Jonah storms.