10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, “How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
A Wingman should consistently live out a life of godliness. That is what those people who know us, expect of us.
This well-known story of Jonah never gets old. God commanded the prophet to go to Nineveh, one of the most evil places on earth. His calling was to preach the message of repentance to them. Jonah knew that God was the kind of God Who would reach out to them and give them another opportunity before judgment came. God spoke to Jonah and had a specific assignment for him. God continues to speak today primarily through His Word. Each of us is given a specific purpose or assignment in life. Jonah, however, disobeyed God.
Jonah went down to Joppa, a port, in order to find a ship going in the opposite direction of God’s will. He took a ship going to Tarshish instead of Nineveh. Joppa represents a decision to compromise; it’s the place where you begin to leave out God.
Tarshish was due west, the opposite direction from God’s will. At the time it was considered to be the furthest place in the world you could travel. He wanted to get as far from God and His will as he possibly could. Are you running from God in any area of your life? At times we all have a little Jonah in us. Jonah paid the fare for the trip to Tarshish. Disobeying God always costs. Satan will always be happy to provide the transportation to take you out of God’s will.
As the ship, with the prodigal prophet onboard, journeyed to Tarshish God sent a ferocious storm. Sometimes the storms we face are not from the enemy but are brought on by our own disobedience. If you are a believer and keep saying “No” to God, He will discipline you as His child.
The sea-worn sailors were terrified and began to jettison cargo to lighten the ship. Things were no longer important, life was the most important. All the while, Jonah was below, sound asleep, snoring away, oblivious to the storm. The sailors couldn’t understand why Jonah wasn’t praying to his God? They were praying to theirs. The sailors then cast lots to determine the culprit of the storm and the lot, of course, fell on Jonah. Jonah then confessed his running from God and he offered the only solution, to throw him overboard.
In this devotion we will focus on Jonah 1:10, specifically when one of the sailors said to Jonah, “How could you do this?” That is a Jonah Jab—when a non-Christian shames a Christian for not acting like a Christian. A Jonah Jab damages a Christian’s testimony and influence.
The truth is, non-believers expect believers to act like believers, not like non-believers. These ungodly sailors expected Jonah to live his faith. The world expects Christians to be different, not weird or obnoxious, but discernably different from those without God. Non-Christians expect Christians to have a passion for living and telling the truth, have a radical love for people, a working knowledge of the Word of God, a life of purity and holiness, a lifestyle of consistent prayer, posses an attitude of compassion, an enthusiasm for our faith, and a commitment to the hungry, the orphans, widows, the abused, abandoned, and the least of these. When we don’t live up to those standards, the name of Jesus is besmirched. The world is watching. Christians can’t be perfect, but we can be serious about living our faith out loud. Don’t be the reason someone gives for not becoming a Christian.
So how do you avoid the Jonah Jab? Here are some “Be” Suggestions:
I. Be Real
Never try to hide the fact that you are a follower of Jesus. That should permeate every part of your life. When you have transparency, genuineness, integrity, and character the world knows we are serious about our faith.
II. Be Scriptural
View culture through the lens of Scripture; don’t view Scripture through the lens of the culture. Give your life to studying, knowing, and applying God’s Word.
III. Be Spirit-Filled
Daily give the Holy Spirit control of your life.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
Everyday keep your sins confessed up to date and surrender to the Holy Spirit’s control.
IV. Be Kind
Be considerate and gracious with people. Smile! Say “Please,” “Thank You,” “How can I help you?” Be friendly and encouraging. Be generous with your compliments.
V. Be Humble
God promotes and blesses those who are humble.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Ken Blanchard suggests, “Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less.”
VI. Be Obedient
Never say “No” to God. Instantly, immediately, consistently, passionately, and radically obey God. Say “Yes” to Him even before you know what He wants you to do.
VII. Be Pure
Satan has his sights set on your purity. If he can get your purity he can get your influence and testimony. Jesus promises that the pure in heart will see God work in their lives (Matthew 5:8). Be aware that you too could fall into sin.
VIII. Be Praying
We have at our disposal the greatest power in all the universe.
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power]. (AMP)
Pray scripturally, specifically, consistently, passionately, humbly, intentionally, and submissively.
IX. Be Forgiven and Forgiving
Choose to give up your right to hurt back those who have hurt you. Forgiveness is not a feeling that you feel, it is a choice that you make. Keep choosing to forgive and your feelings toward the person will begin to change. Then, if you have not acted like Jesus around someone or somewhere. If you have been in the wrong. If you said something you shouldn’t have said. If you neglected to do something God told you to do, then go to that person and say, “I am sorry; I was wrong; please forgive me.”
X. Be Committed
Christians must be passionately committed to their faith, so much so that daily you live for Christ and have a willingness, if necessary, to give your life for the sake of Jesus Christ. The world must see we are more committed to Jesus than others are committed to their cause.