Where is your “boat” headed? By Michelle Tipton

boat

Photo by Callum Chapman on Unsplash

The book of Jonah is a good reminder to obey and trust God. But how often do we read it and still think we’re not like Jonah? I mean, he literally attempted to run from God, traveling the opposite direction God told him to go. We laugh when we read that because seriously? Come on, Jonah, everyone knows you can’t run from God! It’s almost a silly story that remains in children’s church because a younger audience is appropriate for such a basic, obvious lesson.

But one sign you’ve boarded your own boat to Tarshish is when you stop waging the good warfare.

Paul refers to war and war-like images many times in his epistles. Specifically, in 1 Tim. 1:18-19 he exhorts Timothy, “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith.”

We know what God has called us to: Holiness, commitment, purity, growth in Scriptures and in Christ, evangelism, love, etc. When we stop fighting our flesh and the enemy in order to obey God’s call, that is when we start running from God and doing what we mock Jonah for doing. Because when we give up the fight, we begin following our own call on our lives, whether that be conveniently avoiding an evangelism opportunity, watching more Netflix and reading less Bible, scrolling social media more and praying less, or booking it out of church on Sunday in an attempt to avoid engaging in meaningful conversation with church family.

So when we stop fighting, reject God’s commands and follow our own, we find ourselves en route to a shipwreck. Why? Because God won’t let us get away with it. When we justify our sin, we can’t expect God to do the same. When we’re proud, we can’t expect to receive grace from Him (1 Pet. 5:5).

The problem is, when we’ve let go of the fight and of spiritual disciplines, it’s very hard to return to them. So how do we get back?

I don’t believe there is a sure-fire formula. But the following list will be helpful:

    • Read the Bible, even when you don’t feel like it.
    • Pray, even when you don’t feel like it.
        • It doesn’t have to be a profound, “I’ve-come-back-around” prayer. But it does have to be an honest prayer.
        • Pray for God to revive your passion for Him and for the Gospel.
      • Admit, repent of, and ask forgiveness for your sin.
    • Ask for accountability and prayer from your spouse, family member, or close friend.
      • The war isn’t fought alone.
  • Make necessary, tangible changes.
      • Cut out screen time, add prayer instead. It’s even helpful to pray multiple times a day, at the same time each day.
      • Set reminders on your phone to think about the Scripture you read that morning (because we all need reminders of that!).
      • Work on Scripture memory at the same time every day.
      • Make a plan to invest in a brother or sister in Christ at church, then do it.
    • Make a plan to share the Gospel with at least one person you know, then do it.

These are merely suggestions, but they are what I have personally needed to get back into the fight. And when we re-enter the fight, even if we’re weak at first, we will eventually find greater delight in the Lord and more peaceful rest in the Gospel. So let’s turn the boat around and follow the one true God – the One who delivered us from our sin and has been our faithful Father from the beginning.

Michelle (Meade) Tipton is a follower of Jesus. I am originally from Tennessee but am currently living in Louisville, KY. I recently married my husband, Isaiah, on January 5, 2019. I received my A.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Northland International University and my B.S. in Humanities from Boyce College. My husband is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and we are involved in Christ Community Church here in Louisville.

One thought on “Where is your “boat” headed? By Michelle Tipton

  1. Marvelous message Michelle, and so very practical too. Although I currently do some of your suggestions, it is easy to fail on others.to quote Dr. Warren Wiersbe” we are not on a playground, we are on a battlefield”. Thanks for sharing Michelle.

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