“For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food” (Job. 23: 11, 12).
This week I have been processing some things as I read through the Book of Job. I’ve noticed something new about this man of God, this man who is blameless and of complete integrity. (Job 1:1) Last year I marveled how no matter how painful his trial became, he embraced God and grew in daily wisdom. He maintained his faith when things got unbearable, remaining surefooted on the path, “following his ways and not [turning] aside” no matter how critical his friends spoke (Job 11).
But. This year God opened my eyes to “see” something, and to answer a prayer that I have been praying. How many times do we hear Beth Moore say, “I want to be defined by who I am, in Christ alone?” She has said it so many times, that it has become something I pray for! Actually, at first, I do not really think I knew what I was praying for, but, at the same time I was led to pray this way. So, over the last year, I’ve come to know the meaning and want it! I want to claim it for myself. I know I am not defined by Him alone, ~ yet. I know my vulnerable human nature wins over Christ. God has shown me how to get to that place, but the in between steps remain anything but smooth! Practicing His presence, – that is what it boils down to, – time with Him.
Thus, my God moment this time with Job hit hard. This is what I have been noticing about our role-model, Job: His self-image was in Christ. Don’t most people you know blame other people or circumstances when something goes wrong in their lives? How many times do I get bitter, dissatisfied or overwhelm myself in self-pity when a curve ball hits; and furthermore, how many times does my self-image depend on what others’ say about me? When people are praising me my self-image rises; but, when they do not I feel defeated. This is what I realized: Joy is a free gift of the Holy Spirit! Free, girls’! When we truly are abiding in Him, we will be experiencing joyunspeakable, no matter what situation we are in.
Job did not need praise from people to maintain his faith since his confidence was in the wisdom and justice of his Creator! I want that to sink deep into my bone marrow. He was a man that walked in obedience, as he “treasured his words more than daily food,” not wavering in his faith in God (12). Job endured every hard spot and remained victorious! Why? How? His faith was not dependent upon pleasant circumstances, but rested in the expectation of the glorious appearing of his Redeemer. We could not have been more affected yesterday, when this lonely man looked past his suffering and shared some even deeper spiritual wisdom concerning our Savior when he stated, “I know that my Redeemer lives,” (19:25) and what a splendid revelation that was – life after death!
We will see God lift Job from the yolk of hard times in His perfect time, – not necessarily Job’s timing! Just like we see God redeeming every believer from sin as they come to repent and receive Him as their Savior. It is easy to wallow in self pity and forget that God is orchestrating a bigger plan than we could ever imagine. Our small minds can not begin to wrap around the glorious plan that is taking place right in front of our eyes.
Dear Sisters how the desire of my heart is to be like this faithful follower of Christ. A man defined by Christ, not wrapped up in himself. God expressed high esteem for Job and at the same time we see the painful suffering he endured. As I continue to read Job I can not help but focus on another verse from a completely different area in the Bible: “Consider it pure joy sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces ..” (James 1:2). What may God need to produce within each one of us today?
Finally, enduring through a trial allows us to produce a new nature our old trait is chiseled away as we begin to look a little bit more like Christ himself! Yes indeed, my outlook now of hard times remains very different than when I began this Book back on January 19th. Indeed, I’m finally getting it. When I hit a hard spot it IS ok, for there IS an area within me that needs some tweaking, some producing of some kind! With this in mind, as God grows larger within me, my old ways are diminishing. PTL, for His patience with me!
Application: My prayer is that God would be my daily joy, my contentment, my satisfaction. God alone. That my thoughts would be kingdom thoughts till the Last Day, the day when I breathe my last breath. That my eyes would be pure, seeing the good in everything. And, my thoughts mercy, Lord, help me!