Running Away From God
By Edwin Christiaan
The other day, I was thinking about a certain beautiful young woman that Sophia and I used to know. I remember meeting her the first time during a church service where I preached. She was bubbly and excited about being a Christian and serving Jesus. Her eyes were beaming God’s love. She asked me if I would pray for her since she had this great desire to know in which capacity God wanted to use her. I laid my hand in prayer on her head and prophesied over her, and she fell down under the power of the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues, praising and worshiping Jesus.
That was the last time I saw her, till years later when we met her again. She was completely changed. She now had a successful career which brought her notoriety and fame, and a rich boyfriend she was living with. She told us that she absolutely did not want to have anything to do with God.
As she was sipping a glass of wine and smoking a cigarette, she said that she was finally living a truly free life. One of the reasons – she went on to say – for giving up her faith in God, was that all the Christians around her were struggling financially and having hard times, and that God wasn’t helping them at all. Then she went on blaming God for almost everything that is wrong with believers, and openly rejected Jesus Christ as the true way of life.
As we tried to reason with her about how good and faithful God really is, and to no avail encouraging her come back to Jesus who loves her and is ready to forgive her, I became sad and grieved inside and heard these words whispering in my ears: “She is running away from God because of her love for sin and she is now a backslider.”
“The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways,” Proverbs 14:14 NKJV
As believers, most of us want to know God’s will. We say that if God’s will is made known to us, we will gladly follow. However, we often have our own idea of what the will of God should be in order for it to fit into our lifestyles, so many of us only follow if it lines up with what we’re thinking. We pray for decisions that we have to make, but are we seeking God’s will? Are we willing to do God’s will regardless of what that might mean? Or, will we run away from God?
It may sound odd to think that there are true followers of Jesus Christ who are running away from God’s will, but the reality is that there are many believers who seem to think that doing God’s will put them in a bad spot.
People run from God for all sorts of reasons; for instance because of bitterness towards God, or because of a tragic event in their life such as the death of a loved one, or bad experiences. They judge God based on the present circumstances, failing to realize that we were placed upon this earth to be tested by God just like the Son of God, Jesus Christ Himself was tested by going through painful experiences as He sacrificed Himself for our sins.
“Therefore, it was necessary for Him to be made in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since He Himself has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tested.” Hebrews 2:17-18 NLT
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4 NLT
You might find yourself in one of the following categories of reasons why you might want to run away from God:
Maybe God has been convicting you for years about a habit or a private sin, and you just won’t confess it and turn from it?
Maybe God has told you to reconcile a broken relationship that has been severed for years, and you refuse to swallow your pride and seek the person out?
Maybe God has told you to serve in a specific capacity in ministry that requires you to re-adjust your priorities and time, but you don’t want to make the sacrifice?
Maybe God has been convicting you of your desperate need to turn your life over to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but you are unwilling to give up certain “things” that God views as sinful?
Maybe you are a teenager who is in an unhealthy (sexual) dating relationship, and God is telling you to end the relationship?
Maybe you are a businessman or woman who is facing a challenging situation at work and God is calling you to take a tough, unpopular stance when it would be much easier to take the easy and popular way out?
Maybe, quite simply, whatever the situation may be, God is telling you to stay put when everything inside you says run away, move on, take another job, go to another church?
On the flip side of that coin, maybe you know God is telling you to go, to move, to dust your feet off, to take action, and everything inside you says stay put – remain comfortable, the risk is to great?
In Old Testament of the Bible, there was a prophet named Jonah who was called by God to go to the ruthless and violent city of Nineveh to preach to its people, but instead of doing that, Jonah ran from his assignment, and it almost cost him his life.
“The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord.” Jonah 1:1-3 NLT
In the New Testament, we can read about Jesus telling His disciples the story of the lost son who demanded his share of his father’s estate, and when he received it, ran away to a distant land from his father to live his own sinful life that led him to devastating consequences.
To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.” Luke 15:11-13 NLT
If you are running from God, you are only destroying yourself. Most of the people running from God are actually running from themselves out of hatred and resentment for their own sins, inadequacies, failures, and shortcomings.
God wants to make everything right for you, and He is patiently waiting for you to come to Him and repent from your sins.
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2. Peter 3:9 NLT
Both Jonah and the prodigal son repented for their sins and came back to God the Father who lovingly restored them.
“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me!” Jonah 2:1-2 NLT
I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Luke 15:18-19 NLT
Therefore, it is very important to heed the voice of God, and not harden your hearts and rebel like the Israelites did in the desert when God spoke to them.
Remember what it says: “Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.” Hebrews 3:15 NLT
It becomes extremely dangerous when we disregard His voice and reject Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit altogether. It will be impossible to come back to repentance!
“For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.” Hebrews 6:4-6 NLT
Running away from God will NEVER pay off.
“So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires.” 1. Peter 1:13-14 NLT
Copyright©2011 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan