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Do You Run From God or Run to God?

Updated: May 30

Have you ever found yourself running from God instead of towards Him? It's a common struggle, often fueled by guilt, confusion, or fear. But remember, God's love is a sanctuary, a place of forgiveness and grace.


This article delves into why people run from God, the consequences, and the immense benefits of running towards Him. It serves as a reminder that God's arms are always open, ready to receive us, even when we stumble or fall.


Get ready to see how we should always run to God, not from Him.


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Why Do We Run and Hide from God?


Hebrews 4:16 (NLT) So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There, we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Running from God is as common today as it was thousands of years ago, and the reasons for it haven’t changed. People see God incorrectly and not according to the written word. They don’t realize that God has an open-door policy.


Hebrews 4:16 assures us that we can boldly enter the throne room. God is full of mercy, grace, and compassion. Verse 15 says that Jesus understands our weaknesses. There is no reason not to run to God!


I praise the Lord that I always had a propensity to run to Him when messing up. I can’t remember any time running from Him. I have always known that He is there for me. This has done me well in my time of walking out issues in my life. I know I can take it to Him to work it out.


Running from God can look different for many. Here are some that you may be able to identify with:


  • Sin and guilt

  • Anger and disappointment

  • Doubts and questions

  • Legalism and burnout


If you can see yourself in one of these or a couple, take some time right now and pray to God. Let Him know the struggles you are going through and that you need His help. Have faith that He will. I can assure you that He will. You have to give Him a chance and be open to His work in your life.


guy running on beach

What Happens When You Run from God


Jonah 1:3 (NLT) But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.

Many of us know the Old Testament story about Jonah running from God. It didn’t work out too well for Him, but he did cry out to God, and the Lord spared his life. But what if Jonah didn't surrender? It probably wouldn’t have ended up well with him. More than likely, he would have died in the belly of the fish.


When we run away from God, it can cause unwanted issues in our lives. We might feel lost or confused, and our relationships with others can suffer. We may struggle with turmoil in our day-to-day life.


Years ago, God was calling my wife and me to the mission field by moving to Honduras from the USA. My wife couldn’t see it and disagreed. After a couple of years of believing and trying to pray it through, I didn’t see any changes in her heart. Finally, I told God I was done. If He couldn’t get a hold of her heart, then I am moving on with life. I am no longer going to the mission field. I can tell you the next two weeks were some of the most miserable times in my Christian walk. I was depressed; I had no joy or peace. Finally, I went back to the Lord and told Him, I get it, I will go to Honduras. My joy and peace was restored. Also, I am glad to say that, in time, we moved to the mission field. God had His way.


Here are some things people may deal with because they are running from God:


  • Loss of inner peace

  • Spiritual emptiness

  • Increased fear and anxiety

  • Lack of moral guidance

  • Broken relationships

  • Lack of forgiveness in their heart

  • Reduced personal growth

  • Missed blessings and favor of God

  • Lack of hope

  • Subjection to temptations


As you read some of these, they may resonate with you. I can tell you this: nothing is worth running away from God. I have been serving the Lord for 33 years. I have never looked back to my old life and said it was much better. It is always best to stay in the arms of our loving and compassionate Father God. There is no better life!


Different Ways People Run From God


Jeremiah 23:24 (NLT): "Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?" says the LORD.

As much as some people want to run from God, they can’t. It’s impossible. You can talk to the most devout atheists and see their anger and frustration in dealing with those around them who profess the name of Jesus. Only God knows the convictions they are dealing with in their lives. I wasn’t an atheist, but I had no desire to serve Him while in the military. I remember the Lord dealing with me before my commitment to Christ. God is everywhere. The saying from Joe Louis, the famous boxer, rings true, “You can run, but you can’t hide,” rings so true.


Everyone must look at their lives to determine how they run from God. So, when it begins to happen, you can recognize and deal with it immediately. Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking, well, I’m a good person and read my Bible daily. I must not be running from God.


Running from God can be avoiding prayer time or not serving at your local church. We all have a propensity to run from God on various levels, some more extreme than others. Also, minor ways of running from God can lead to major ones as well.


Just this morning, I was praying to the Lord. I have noticed lately that I have not been taking my prayer time seriously. I have been looking at my cell phone, allowing my mind to wander off and not stay focused. I don’t want to say I am running from God, but I want to point out that the Holy Spirit showed me that I needed to deal with this. I prayed and asked Him to give me power and the desire to devote myself to quality prayer time in the morning. This is according to Philippians 2:13. It was vital for me to respond to the Holy Spirit and get ahead of this lack of desire to pray now than later.


Here is a list of ways we run from God. Maybe you can see some that are familiar to you. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas where you are running from God.


  • Ignoring Convictions

  • Neglecting Prayer and Bible Study

  • Avoiding Church and Fellowship

  • Pursuing a Sinful Lifestyle

  • Denial of Faith

  • Compartmentalizing Faith

  • Prioritizing Material Success

  • Conforming to Secular Values

  • Holding onto Unforgiveness

  • Questioning God’s Will

  • Indulging in Doubt and Skepticism


If you read this list and sensed the Holy Spirit prompting you to take note of certain areas in your life, I encourage you to pray like I did. Ask the Lord to give you the power and desire to overcome. I promise you that if you do, the Lord will help you to be free.


woman running on beach

Running to God


Ephesians 2:4-5: "But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)"

Because of God’s love for us and the mercy that He pours out upon us, there is no excuse for running from God. Just as He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, to bring salvation to our lives, He also has much more to provide us. There is nothing to compare to what He has to offer us. A life of rebellion and sin will never give us enough pleasure in exchange for what we would be missing out on with a life in God.


When we fail or make mistakes, our first instinct might be to run away from God out of shame or fear. But this is the opposite of what we should do! God wants us to come to Him when we mess up like a loving father. He wants us to be honest about our failures and ask for His forgiveness and help to make things right. Proverbs 28:13 says, "People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy."


Running to the Lord should be your first response to anything. He is not an abusive father that you have to live and cower in fear. He is forever there with His loving arms open, ready to guide you in the way that you should go.


Who is God


1 John 4:8 (NLT) — 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Many have taken for granted God’s love on so many levels. In many cases, it has given them a license to live a life opposite of what the Word of God expects of us. In saying all this, it is essential to recognize that He is a God of love. Everything He does is motivated by His deep and unconditional love for us.


Yes, He is a just God, but He is not ready to strike with punishment at any moment. He is more concerned about getting us on the right track by forgiving us and restoring our lives.


Just this morning, I was reading my Bible, and while doing so, the Holy Spirit pointed out some things I needed to fix in my life. We had a conversation about it. I repented to having certain thoughts. I told God I didn’t want to think those thoughts and knew they did not please Him. I decided to walk away from them, and I asked God for help in doing so. See, I didn’t leave that time of prayer feeling ashamed. No, I believed in my heart; by the help of the Holy Spirit, I would be free and victorious. I knew Father God was well pleased. This is the type of heavenly Father we all have.


Psalm 86:5 (NLT) — 5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

Like this scripture, the Bible is full of reminders of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Psalm 86:5 expresses His heart for us. He's not some distant, uncaring deity. No, He's a loving Father who is always ready to forgive and extend His unfailing love to us. When we approach Him with a humble and repentant heart, He quickly welcomes us back into His loving arms.


Lamentations 3:22–23 (NLT) — 22 The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

God’s love is limitless. It never ends. He will always continue to be merciful. How refreshing to know that every day is a new day in Him. There are no silent treatments or fits of rage. You won’t be screamed at with emotional and mental abuse. There are no broken bones or ER visits. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can count on that. With this in mind, there is no reason to run from Him; you need to run to Him.


The only reason why I believe anyone would want to run from Him is that they have no intentions of changing. They want to keep their lives, even though they may be apart from God. They would rather have what they have. Spiritual blindness keeps them from making the needed steps forward.


Shawn Paul

Why Should We Run to Him


Romans 8:1 (NLT) — 1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 4:16 (NLT) — 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

First and foremost, if you belong to Christ Jesus, you should not be walking in condemnation. Condemnation is a tool of the enemy to torment you spiritually and mentally. It will place you in bondage and hold you back from being who you are in Christ. You need to tell yourself and the enemy who you belong to and who you are. Don’t just say it, but believe it.


This kind of belief and confidence can only come through prayer and reading God’s Word on your Identity in Christ. As you do, there will be a boldness that rises within you. You will not be permitting the lies to fool you any longer. You will stop them right in their tracks.


Also, as a child of God, you have the right to enter the throne room of God boldly and with confidence and courage. There, you will find God’s incredible graciousness and mercy. He will not shun you but welcome you with open arms. Here, you will receive the comfort needed when you need it most. There is restoration and transformation for your life while in the presence of our Heavenly Father. Never leave that time of prayer the same, but be molded into the child of God you are destined to be.


Remember this: when we give our lives to Jesus, we are forgiven and made righteous through His blood. Don’t ever think that we can live the same as before. Yes, the Holy Spirit will deal with sin in our lives, but we are not condemned. We are called to live holy lives because God is holy (1 Peter 1:16), but this is done through the power of the Holy Spirit, not our own strength. God never intended us to fix ourselves; we can’t; it can only be done through the Lord’s Spirit working in our lives. But we must make an intentional effort to work with the Lord. As we do, we will witness Him working in us through the Holy Spirit to bring the needed change.


What are the Benefits of Running to God


The benefits of staying in God and running to Him are endless. By running from Him, you are only heading into darkness and bondage. The enemy has nothing for you except lies, heartache, broken relationships, loneliness, hardships, and much more.


When you weigh out the benefits, you will quickly learn that there is no better life than being in God's arms. Here are some benefits to consider:


  • Peace: God promises peace to those who turn to Him. "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27, NLT)

  • Comfort: God offers comfort to those who run to Him. "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT)

  • Forgiveness: When we confess our sins to God, He is faithful to forgive. "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:9, NLT)

  • Strength: God gives strength to those who depend on Him. "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble." (Psalm 46:1, NLT)

  • Guidance: God guides those who seek Him. "The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'" (Psalm 32:8, NLT)

  • Deliverance: God promises to deliver those who call on Him. "The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles." (Psalm 34:17, NLT)

  • Rest: God gives rest to those who come to Him. "Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.'" (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

  • Healing: God brings healing to those who trust Him. "Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise." (Jeremiah 17:14, KJV)

  • Provision: God promises to provide for those who trust in Him. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, KJV)

  • Joy: God fills us with joy when we are in His presence. "You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever." (Psalm 16:11, NLT)


guy in church praying

Wrapping it Up


Running away from God doesn't do you any good. But running towards Him? That's a whole different story. God's love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace are up for grabs for everyone. Not just a few special folks but everyone who wants it. Whether you're having the best or worst day, your first move should always be to run to God. There's no place safer or more comforting, and there's no love bigger than His.


Life sometimes scares us into running away from God. We might feel guilty, scared, or just plain confused. But as we've talked about, running away only leaves us feeling empty, messes up our relationships, and steals our peace. On the flip side, running towards God fills us with His never-ending love, grace, and rock-solid peace even when life is tough.


God is always there, ready to catch us when we trip or fall. He's not some far-off, doesn't care kind of God. He's a loving Father who hurts when we hurt. He wants to forgive us, fix us up, and show us how to live a life worth living.


So, how about we decide today to stop running away from God because we're scared or feeling guilty? Let's run to Him instead, wide open, ready to take in all the love and grace He has for us. Let's say yes to His advice, lean on His strength, and thank Him for His forgiveness. When we do that, we're not just lining up with our real purpose in life but also opening the door to a life full of peace, joy, and love that won't quit.


Devotional Questions


1. Reflect on a time when you found yourself running from God instead of towards Him. What circumstances led you to this point, and how did it affect your spiritual life? What steps can you take to ensure that, in the future, you run towards God, especially during difficult times?


2. I mention several benefits of running to God, such as peace, comfort, forgiveness, strength, and guidance. Which benefits do you need most in your life right now? How can you actively seek God's presence to fully experience these blessings?


3. I emphasize that God is a loving Father who is always ready to forgive and extend His unfailing love to us. How does this truth impact your perception of God and your relationship with Him? In what ways can you deepen your trust in God's love and mercy, allowing it to transform your daily life and decisions?


Scriptures on God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace


John 3:16 (NLT): "“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."


Romans 5:8 (NLT): "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."


Ephesians 2:4-5 (NLT): "But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)"


Psalm 86:5 (NLT): "O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help."


Hebrews 4:16 (NLT): "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."


1 John 1:9 (NLT): "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."


Psalm 103:8 (NLT): "The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love."


Titus 3:5 (NLT): "He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit."


Romans 6:14 (NLT): "Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace."


Psalm 145:8-9 (NLT): "The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation."


Frequently Asked Questions


How can I find peace and comfort in God?


The good news is that you can find peace and comfort in God. Philippians 4:6-7 says to not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then, you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.


I know life can get tricky, but Isaiah 41:10 assures us that God is with us. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Knowing that God is always by our side can bring comfort and assurance in times of trouble.


Lastly, in Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." God's invitation for us to come to Him with our struggles and burdens is a beautiful promise of finding rest and peace in His presence. Let's take Him up on that offer and experience the true comfort only He can provide.


How can I experience God's mercy and grace?


It's all about opening your heart and allowing the Holy Spirit to work within you. As Romans 5:8 says, "But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." This act of love and sacrifice is the ultimate demonstration of God's mercy and grace towards us.


When we surrender our lives to God and accept His gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, we can experience the fullness of His mercy and grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, "God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for our good deeds, so none of us can boast about it." Only through this act of faith and acceptance of God's gift can we truly experience His mercy and grace in our lives.


So, if you desire to experience God's mercy and grace, all you need to do is turn to Him with a humble and repentant heart. As Hebrews 4:16 encourages us, "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." God's mercy and grace are readily available to all who seek Him with sincerity and faith.


What are some practical steps to grow closer to God?


One practical step is to spend time in prayer each day. Building any relationship takes time and effort, as does our relationship with God. Matthew 6:6 says to go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in private. This private time with God can help you grow deeper in your faith.


Another great way to grow closer to God is by studying the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. So, by diving into the Word of God and seeking to understand it, we can gain wisdom and insight to help us draw nearer to Him.


Lastly, serving others is a crucial way to grow closer to God. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." When we serve others with love and compassion, we show God’s love in a tangible way. This not only helps others but also brings us closer to the heart of God.


So, let's prioritize praying, studying the Bible, and serving others as practical steps to grow closer to God!

 

Shawn Paul

Shawn Paul is an author and missionary who has been living and working in Central America for the past 10 years. He is passionate about living for Jesus Christ and inspiring others to do the same, which is the focus of his blog, where he shares his expertise in Christianity.


In addition to his missionary work, Shawn enjoys reading books, studying God's Word, growing plants and flowers, feeding birds, and keeping up with the latest technology.


As a writer, Shawn's unique perspective and passion for his faith shine through in his work. Shawn's goal for the future is to impact people around the world for Jesus through his writing and missionary work.

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