Living on Purpose
Sunday we continued our series on Jonah with a look at Jonah's prayer. What we see modeled here is a powerful prayer of repentance. But if we're being honest, it's also a prayer that probably never should have been needed. We celebrate the beauty and power of this prayer, but often ignore the disobedience that lead to its necessity.
And I think that's the problem. If I were to guess, I would say that most of us are, at least on some level, in need of spiritual restoration. We are in our own "belly of the whale" type situation, and the worst part is we're not really sure how we got there. I think this is a huge part of the problem.
Most Christians are living life unintentionally.
I can't tell you how often I meet with Christians about something that has blown up in their life. By the time we meet, they have made a pretty big mess of things, and they are looking for a miracle. And almost every time, I hear the same surprised exclamation: "I just don't know how this happened!"
It happened, because you weren't living out your faith on purpose. Faith is more than a one time transaction, where I put my faith in Jesus and He gives me my token to get into heaven. Following Jesus means more than that. When we read the story of Jonah, it starts rather abruptly for us. God called Jonah and Jonah disobeyed. But the reality is Jonah was making decisions before we ever pick up the story that led to his justification of his rebellion. One day he wakes up in the belly of a great fish, wondering how he ever got there. Yes, he got there by disobeying, but make no mistake, that disobedience was on the tail end of an unintentional life. As the saying goes, if you aim for nothing, you hit it every time.
Socrates claims that the unexamined life is not worth living. I can't say I disagree. But as believers, we should be measuring our lives against God word and God's will. Most Christians are living reactive and not proactive lives when it comes to their faith journey. They are going through the motions, but they are not seeking God. So when He interrupts their lives with His will, it is incongruent with the life they have been living. God calls them to a life of purpose, but they haven't been living on purpose and aren't sure they want to. The key for Jonah comes in the form of confession:
Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’ (Jonah 2:4 NLT)
Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach. (Jonah 2:10 NLT)
Jonah had to admit that he had not been looking to God. When he does, God has the fish vomit Jonah up of all places back in Joppa where it all started. He gave Jonah a second chance to live on purpose.
Are you living on purpose? God has a plan for you, but you'll never experience God's plan for your life by accident. It's time to start following. It's time to start living on purpose.