When Running Slows You Down

“And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17).

Moses struggled while trying to do God’s will, but Jonah took it a step further and actually fled from the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:3). He seemed to succeed for a season, but then things closed in on him. As Jonah learned, we cannot succeed in fleeing from the Lord. Try as we might, we will be weighed down by our own folly and the Lord’s hand of discipline.

Today people cry out for freedom and proclaim that they want to be bound by no one or no religion. But Jesus spells out the true nature of freedom:

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin’ ” (John 8:34).

Going our own way does not lead to freedom, but captivity. We can live in a free country and enjoy many liberties and yet be bound by our own desires. But Jesus points the way to freedom:

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Trusting God leads to freedom, but running from God leads to captivity. Freedom is not a place; it’s a spiritual relationship with God. It’s not a circumstance; it’s a spiritual connection with God. Paul and Silas were bound in chains while in prison, yet sang songs of praise to God (Acts 16:25). Outwardly they were bound, but inwardly they were quite free. The Son sets us free.

The next time you contemplate running from God remember three truths:

1. You cannot run from God.

2. You cannot hide from God.

3. You cannot be held captive if you trust in God.

Paul was imprisoned, but the Word of God was not (2 Timothy 2:9). As God’s Word cannot be held captive, so the freed soul cannot be either. We do not need to flee when life overwhelms us. We can quietly trust in God, do what He says, and make our request known to God. Then the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

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