As we move into a new year, we must prepare our hearts and minds to be in expectation. God used Jonah to reveal four things that we can do to make sure we experience the fullness of all God has in store for us in 2016.
Chapter 1 reminds us to be considerate of how our actions impact others. God told Jonah to go to Ninevah to share a word, but instead, he fled to Tarshish. As he began to flee, the Mariners he traveled with began to experience a great deal of turmoil. Jonah knew his disobedience was the cause of such chaos. We must be mindful of those around us and realize that we don't know how our actions will affect the lives of others, so we must consider our ways.
In chapter 2 Jonah teaches us the importance of being consistent. As a result of being swallowed by the well, Jonah had become distressed. In his moment of distress, he began to pray. His actions were a reflection of how we often wait until something bad happens to seek God when he told us how to avoid that situation all together. We must practice consistency to avoid certain delays and detours that could put us in a state of distress.
Chapter 3 shows us how our obedience leads to great increase to the Kingdom of God. When Jonah was released from the whale, he finally obeyed the Lord and went to Ninevah. He shared what the Lord had told him and that led the city of more than 120,000 people to repent. Through Jonah's obedience God was glorified and a mass number of souls were saved.
Lastly, chapter 4 is a reminder of why we need to be compassionate of others. After Jonah did what was asked of him, he actually complained about how gracious and merciful God was towards Ninevah. He had not realized that kingdom work was not about him, but about establishing the Kingdom of God on earth and saving souls. His lack of compassion revealed his lack of understanding his position as a prophet and servant of the Lord. To avoid becoming selfish in our gifts and callings, we must take the time to gain a clear understanding of what God would have us to do with all he has equipped us with.