Finding Our Significance
Ever felt, meh, like, you don’t amount to much in this world? Maybe you had hoped you would be more successful or that God would use you in a greater way. But finding our significance is not based on our achievements. Our significance comes from whether or not we know God.
Sometimes we have a different idea than God does for our life. Ever tried to avoid doing what God called you to? We have our excuses, right? Problem is, God knows everything. And when we try to run away from His will or plan for our lives, we are running away from where our true significance lies. Knowing Jesus. Finding our significance helps us to live significant lives. Even when our calling seems hard, it’s harder to be outside God’s will than to be in His plan.
Bible Reading of the Day: Jonah
We are reading a new book of the Bible today, the book of Jonah, written by Jonah, and the story of his disobedience, repentance and revival. God had a calling on Jonah’s life and Jonah ran from God.
What caused Jonah to run?
We can tell that he did not want to go where God told Him to. He was bitter toward those people and prideful. Maybe even fearful.
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because their evil has come up before me.” 3 Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence.”
Did you catch that—FROM the LORD’s presence? What has God called us to do that we don’t want to? We might not end up in a belly of a whale if we don’t obey God, but we could certainly bring consequences into our lives for not obeying God.
Finding Our Significance—In Focusing on Others
When God called me to adopt my youngest son, Samuel, I knew God was calling me to adopt. It was hard, y’all. Real hard. And going to Russia? Let’s just say that is not the vacation hotspot. I had a lot of fears to face but I knew God was calling me to do it.
A couple years ago, God called me to go to Guatemala to meet a precious little girl that my husband and I sponsor through Compassion International. Honestly, I did not want to travel to Guatemala. It felt unsafe. But God said go. There is no safer place to be than in God’s will.
God also has me to represent children through Compassion as a speaker. If God is tugging on your heart to sponsor, you can do so on my page through Compassion and I would want to give you a thank you gift for doing so. www.compassion.com/denisepass. You might not have to travel to a foreign country, but your impact can be just as much to sponsor a child.
Finding our significance happens when we aren’t focused on self, but on others.
Perhaps a little history about who Jonah was and who the people of Nineveh were might help us to understand.
This is from gotquestions.org:
“Proud, stubborn, disobedient, unfaithful, a grumbler, and altogether a bad-tempered, cantankerous old curmudgeon—this was Jonah, whose name means “dove”! (That’s just hilarious!). Jonah was the son of Amittai, who came from Gath-hepher in Zebulun (called Gittah-hepher in Joshua 19:10-13). He was the earliest of the prophets and close behind Elisha in his place in the Old Testament. Jonah’s story is told in the short (just 48 verses) but powerful book of Jonah.
“When God called Jonah to go and warn the violent and godless Ninevites of their impending doom, all his pride in being a Hebrew—and therefore uniquely favored by the Almighty (so he thought, no doubt along with many others of his nation)—rose up in rebellion. Pagans, to him, were the worst kind of human garbage, not even fit to pollute the good earth by living on it. They were the “untouchables,” and that God should take an interest in them was unthinkable. Therefore, not being one to put up with that which was not to his mind, he fled to Joppa and got himself a passage on a ship bound for Tarshish, which was in the opposite direction from Nineveh.”
The Easy English Bible Commentary says that Nineveh was the capital of the land of Assyria. An intimidating place to visit, for sure. But we cannot allow fear of man to be greater than a fear of the LORD.
Finding Our Significance—Knowing God
What struck me today is that any of these prophets we are reading about in the Bible – they are in the word of God because God ordained it to be so and because of their interaction with God.
Jonah does not have a long resume. But God used Him. This is what makes Him significant. This is what makes you or I significant—that we know God. Our calling is not about us, but about the One Who saved us. How He wants to use us is up to Him.
When Jonah was asked who he was, he identified himself by his relationship with God. Finding our significance in our relationship with God helps us to stay focused on what really matters and what lasts for eternity.
“Then they said to him, “Tell us who is to blame for this trouble we’re in. What is your business, and where are you from? What is your country, and what people are you from?” 9 He answered them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship[b] the Lord, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land.”
Scripture of the Day: Jonah 2:7-9 (NLT)
“As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. 9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”
Finding Our Significance—In Obedience to God
God wants to send us where he wants us to go. Will we be obedient to that?
Jonah was angry at the result of his obedience to God. Anger is an interesting response. When people respond to the Gospel message I share, I praise God that he used me!
“Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and one who relents from sending disaster. 3 And now, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
God simply asks a question. God often asks us a question to our little rants.
4 The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Finding Our Significance—In God’s Plan
What is it that maybe you are angry with God about? What is it that has kept you from fully seeking God and His purposes for you? Are you upset at some of the pain that God has allowed in your life?
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room – is there something that has kept us from fully pursuing God and being used by Him?
I remember standing in a courtroom and telling God that I didn’t get why I was in that circumstance. Then God revealed to me that this was a mission. This was not my idea or plan, but I needed to trust Him in that place. I was on a mission and God was using me. Could I trust Him? finding our significance in Christ helps us to be obedient to Him rather than finding our significance in things in this world.
Finding Our Significance—In God’s Purposes
Jonah thought his significance was in his purposes. But it was in God’s purposes.
May we recognize, like Jonah, what our significance is—that we know God – from who we are in Christ. It is our relationship with God that we are telling the world about so they can come to know Him, too.
It’s not about me. It’s not about you. And it wasn’t about Jonah. It’s all about Jesus.
Having Biblical Faith in a Modern World
Do you need help trying to live your faith out in this crazy world? I hope you will join me this coming Saturday at a women’s conference as I share about “Having Biblical Faith in a Modern World” at Good Hope Baptist Church from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. There will be breakfast and lunch, worship and four talks about how we live our faith in a post-modern society.
You can buy tickets at https://www.goodhopelive.com/events/womens2020
Finding Our Significance—Application
- We cannot hide from God. We wouldn’t want to. His plans are best for us.
- Our significance comes from knowing God.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #262: Jonah
Scripture of the Day: Jonah 2:7-9
Join me live at 8am ET: Denise Pass – Author/Speaker/Worship Leader
Bible Reading Plan: https://denisepass.com/bible-reading-plan/