Not Despite, But Because

In a conversation with the great Kevin Watkins the other day, we uncovered a take-away from the story of Jonah.  And I've studied Jonah just about every year for the past decade.

And one of the blazing things that jumps out to me every time I check out Jonah is this:

Jonah disobeys God not despite his knowledge of God, but because of it.

In Jonah 4, Jonah reveals he dodged his call to Nineveh because he knew God was "a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity."

We often think that the problem is Ignorance.  "If people just knew about Jesus ... " our hopes go.  But the story of Jonah reveals another reality.  Some of us run from God, not despite, but because.  Knowledge alone can't save.  We need something more.

And the problem isn't just Self-centeredness, though the Lord knows how much selfishness pumps through my veins.  Sometimes, my disobedience flows rebellion.  I disobey Despite.  Sometimes, it flows from something else, a Because.

God's values don't always line up with mine.  His strategies confuse and frustrate me at times.  I worry that he doesn't have my best interests in mind, that he isn't going to take care of me, that it isn't worth it.  Sometimes, I disobey because, not despite.

What difference would it make if you corrected because's, not just despite's? 

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