We’re on the second week of Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. We learned this week that when God gave a command to Jonah, the prophet covered his ears and ran! He did not want to receive further instruction from the Lord, so he skipped town and turned away from prayer. Jonah was not willing to obey the Lord.

During the week we had an opportunity to examine our own lives and chances to obey or disobey when called by God. We examined our lives for personal allegiance and purpose. We easily fall into a downward spiral of disobedience as we run from God like Jonah did and become “sleepers.”

Jonah was on a run from God not only with his feet but with his heart as well. -Priscilla Shirer

Priscilla Shirer reminds us there is “no neutral ground.” Neutral ground theology was the exact concept Satan used with Adam and Eve! Neutral ground = Did God really say that?

When the worldview is stronger than our Biblical foundations, we listen and sometimes accept that neutral ground. What happens then? Being outside the will of God impacts our prayer life. We distance our hearts from Him.

“When God’s prophet is out of fellowship with his God, it causes problems not only for himself but also for those around him.” (KJV Commentary)

Think about a time when you rebelled against God. Did you run away mentally, emotionally, or spiritually? I rebelled in college, and ran away emotionally as I feared man more than God. I knew God would continue to love and forgive me. Like Jonah, I tried to hide in the wrong relationships, and like the prodigal, I hid inside pride.

Jonah wanted distance from the presence of the LORD.  In my prodigal season, I avoided Christians. Anyone who looked like Christ lived like Christ, and talked like Christ was NOT allowed near me. A very typical college experience here in California. “Don’t see me” was written on my heart back then. Then hardship and crisis brought me closer to God.

Priscilla Shirer writes, “We find the people who are most subject to bad consequences and join them in their negative results.” We will always find someone who MIRRORS our rebellion. They are easy to locate. The harder step is walking away from that…and living like Jesus.

In college, I thought I was putting distance between myself and God. Not really. He was always present, I was not seeking or seeing Him because I made the decision NOT to look.

Going down is a metaphor for Jonah… he goes down to Joppa, down to the port, down below the deck of the ship, and lying down he falls into a deep sleep. Then he goes down into the water.

Temptation comes from our desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15 NLT)

God in his mercy calls us back from self-centered flight.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.