Circumstantial Christian

Devotion Text

Jonah 1:17 – 2:1

But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 

Jonah had been running from God, ignoring God, wanting nothing to do with God . . .until . . . he woke up in the belly of a great fish. Amazing how our circumstance changes our attitude. Amazing, isn’t it, how people, who are running from God, get “religion” when they find themselves in a difficult situation? I have met with men who wanted nothing to do with God until they lost their job, their marriage blew up or their child rebelled. Then they got serious about God until they found another job, their wife came back or the situation with their teenager settled down. Then they were back to the same ole, same ole.

How about you? Are you a “Circumstantial Christian”? When things are going well, you pretty much leave Jesus out of the picture. But when things go south, when you get swallowed by the big fish, you’re all about wanting Jesus to bail you out. Jonah had been ignoring God, flat-out turning his back on God, but now, “from inside the fish Jonah prayed.”

Following Jesus should not be dependent on our circumstances. We should trust Him just as much in our success as in our failure. When we have a job or when we don’t, our reliance on Him should be the same. When our marriage is going great, just as many prayers of thanksgiving should be on our lips as prayers for help are when things challenge the relationship. Why is it that we get really serious about prayer right before the big exam? Why is it that we keep so busy running and only stop to pray “from inside the fish”?

Father, I don’t want to be a circumstantial Christian. I don’t want to get “religion” when things are challenging. I want to serve You full-out every day, in good times and bad times. Help me move from circumstantial to consistent. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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