What a simple and profound truth. When you listen to the vane lies your soul (emotions) are speaking to you of how you deserve to complain, murmur, hate, disobey God, cling to pride, hold offense, or whatever your particular case at a particular time may be, you forsake your own mercy. By choosing to focus on, listen to, and be led by your emotions (soul/flesh) that is so easily influenced by the devil and your own pride, you are choosing not to listen to and be led by the Spirit of God. When you choose to listen to the soul (emotions), which are always self centered around what you think, what you want, and what you feel, it is causing you to stand in opposition to what God wants, what God feels, and what God knows to be the best for all involved. This serves only to prevent the goodness of God’s plan from manifesting in our lives and His mercies from doing their perfect work both in us and through us as we allow the lies of our vain emotions to keep us in a place of torment, pride, rebellion, or unforgiveness.
This was the place that Jonah was in. This was his “belly of the fish”. I think that most all of us have spent some time in the belly of that fish. You see, Jonah ran from his call to bring a message of salvation to the Ninevites because he didn’t like them. Jonah had logical reasons not to like them, they were a vile, filthy, violent, selfish, and all out wicked people. Therefor, Jonah had no heart for the Ninevites and when God told him to go minister to them, he ran in the other direction. He listened to his flesh, his emotions, his soul which spoke to him only of bitterness, brokenness, wickedness, hurt, and fear. It justified how right he thought he was by telling him how wrong he knew they were. Yet God, through the Spirit was speaking to him of forgiveness, hope, redemption, healing, and love, but Jonah chose to listen to the soul instead of the Spirit and it caused him to reject the very mercy of the deliverance that God was ready and waiting to give him and the Ninevites alike. He was stubbornly choosing to sit in the torment of his own pride and bitterness that was holding him back from all that God had for him.
The more Jonah listened to his emotion the worse things got for him because your emotions (being so easily influenced by the enemy) will always take you in a direction that is opposite of the word, will, and wisdom of God. However, God knows best what is best and running from the wisdom of God toward the logic of your emotions will always separate you from the presence of God which is always a dark and tormenting place to be. So things just got worse and worse for him. He went through storms, he got cast out of his boat, he was swallowed by a fish, he was drug to the depths of the sea, he wallowed in darkness, distress, and emotional torment until he realized the thing he missed the most was the Lord, the presence of the Lord. The moment he let his soul (self/flesh/ego/emotions) die and he put his heart, thoughts, and trust back in the Lord, His will, His words, His wisdom, and His love, immediately he was delivered from all his torment and finally he could feel God’s presence, hear His voice, rest in His peace, and see the light of day again. The soul (influenced by Satan) will always tend towards fear and self preservation, but the Spirit (influenced by God) will always tend towards love and the salvation and preservation of others. Choose today to crucify the flesh, and follow the Spirit into the destiny the God has for you.
“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” – Jonah 2:7-10
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:24-25
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:13-15