Making a Covenant with Yourself

Job revealed one of the spiritual principles that allowed him to live righteously before the Lord.(Job 31:1) He said that he made a covenant with himself and with the parts of his body to stay away from sin and to do God’s will. He learned God’s will, and he determined what he would do with his eyes, his mouth, his hands, his feet, etc in any situation that might arise. Then, when he was confronted with a decision, he already knew what he would do.

I think about this in the context of my training in baseball. I played a lot of short stop, second base, and third base in my day. My coaches taught us to know what to do with the ball even before the pitch was thrown to the batter. If we did not assess the situation beforehand and make that decision, once the ball was hit, it was too late. There was no time to decide, and the pressure of the moment made the decision so much harder.

As believers, we need to do what Job did. We should read God’s Word and listen to the Spirit. When we learn a command or a principle, we should decide how to apply it. Then, we make a covenant with ourselves to do whatever it takes to obey and to stay away from sin. Job’s example here is that he did not look at a young woman. Why? He knew that could lead to lust, and that was not God’s will. Therefore, he simply turned his eyes away. Simple enough solution, but it is hard to practice because of the flesh, unless we have made that covenant with our eyes. I am sure you can think of hundreds of these covenants that we need to make with ourselves, so that we live like Jesus. The Spirit will empower us to obey, but we have to decide what we will do.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 34-37.



Wisdom and Understanding

Job responded to his friends by giving a long talk on what was really important, getting wisdom and understanding. He gave a very clear and concise description.(Job 28:28) We all need to hear and apply what Job told them.

Wisdom is the fear of the Lord. This is because wisdom is seeing everything from God’s perspective. Therefore, if we respect God’s power and holy nature so much that we fear what He can and will do to us, if we fail to follow Him, we are directed to see things His way. Wisdom is not knowing facts. Anyone can learn facts. Wisdom is seeing how they fit together. It is seeing the big picture and the details, so that we can know how God designed things to work, whether it is relationships or science. Reading His Word and allowing His Spirit to direct us fully are essentials in gaining wisdom.

Understanding is departing from evil. If you want to do the right thing every time, find out what is wrong, and go the other way. If we do not have this plan of attack, we will try to justify doing the wrong thing in some way. If we just try to see what is the best way, but we do not consider the evil way, we may have skewed vision, so we can’t really see the best way. God’s way is always the total opposite of sin and evil. When we really have understanding, we will stay as far from evil as possible, and we will guard against every form of evil Satan will through at us by tempting us by the flesh and the world.

It is not rocket science. It is seeing God’s way and staying away from the wrong way. It is up to us. The more we do it, the easier it gets, and the more we see the benefits.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 31-33.



Creating Something from Nothing

People who do not believe in God don’t like to talk about the real origin of the universe. They only talk about evolution and the big bang. Instead, let’s get back to the very beginning. What was there to go bang? Where did matter come from? Is it really intelligent to believe that matter is eternal? If that is the case, then matter is god, so we all ought to be pantheists. However, even Job knew the truth about origins 2,000 years or more before Christ. God created the earth out of nothing, and He hung it on nothing.(Job 26:7) That is what the Eternal, All-Powerful God can do, and it is what He did to form the universe.

For a person to truly believe in God, he has to believe God is eternal. There is no one or no thing greater than God. If anything created God, that thing would be God, so God had no beginning, and He has no end. Then, when there was nothing except God, He decided to create the universe out of nothing, just like it says in Genesis 1-2. Only God can do that, and since He can do that, He is Lord of all. Jesus is God. He is eternal. He is the God of creation.(John 1:3) When a person “believes in” Jesus or “trusts” Jesus, he can only do that by confessing Him as Lord, because that is who He is. Then, we submit to Him, who created all out of nothing, who hung the earth on nothing, and who created humans from the dust of the earth, giving us a spirit and a soul.

The fact that Jesus became a God/Man to live a sinless life on earth and to die for our sins is secondary to His Lordship. He was Lord way before He became the Savior. We can’t trust Him as Savior and ignore that He is Lord. That is why creation is so important. It shows He is Lord of all.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 28-30.



Spiritual Success

God tests us so that we can succeed and get stronger in love and faith toward Him. He desires for us to pass every test with a 100, and He even gives us what we need to succeed if we trust Him. Why do believers fail God’s tests then? I believe it is for 2 reasons, lack of trust in Him and a belief that spiritual success is too difficult and almost impossible, so people do not really try. Job shows us it is possible when we trust the Lord.(Job 23:10,11)

Think about it. God wants us to grow. He does not want us to fail. However, growth requires effort. Success is never easy, but it is possible. Realize you can’t do anything without Jesus. Begin trusting Him in everything and watch to see what God does for you. It is amazing! Job had trouble, big trouble. It was to prove his faith. He knew he would come out like gold in the fire. Why? He knew he was staying right in step with God. That is what it takes. It is worth it. Spiritual success is so much better than the alternative that it is worth whatever it takes to trust Him.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 25-27.



My Redeemer Lives!

One of the greatest faith declarations in the Bible is found in Job 19:25,26. Job confidently confesses that his Redeemer lives and one day he would see Him. I am not sure how the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to Job, but it is evident that He did. He reveals Himself to all of us. The difference comes in our response. Job responded in faith, so he received certain assurance of his Redeemer and his future. The same can be true for anyone anywhere.

Jesus is not a far away God who is detached from His children. When we say we have a personal relationship with Him, we mean it. He is very real and very personal. If that is not the reality in your life, you do not know the Redeemer. There is only One, and He wants us all to know that we are saved, we have eternal life, and we will see Him face to face. That reality changes us from frightened souls to confident children waiting to see Him like Job was.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 22-24.



Complacency

Complacency is a constant enemy for any believer. It is so easy to slip into a rut and stop growing and advancing in our relationship with the Lord. The Lord will not allow this to happen without a fight. He will jerk us out of complacency, and He knows just how to do it. Job found that out.(Job 16:12)

Let me share a very important spiritual principle. We are either growing closer to the Lord, or we are getting farther away, but no one can ever stay where they are in that relationship. That is why complacency is our enemy. Complacency causes us to start slipping away from the Lord. We can’t live on past victories. We can’t bank on tomorrow’s growth. We must live each day striving to keep our eyes on Jesus and growing to be more like Him. We can’t take breaks, or we will fall back.

Most people would like to be “at ease.” They think that is the goal of life. That is not true spiritually. If you are at ease, you are in danger of falling into Satan’s traps. You are going to stop trusting the Lord for everything. Soon you will be far from Him. Therefore, when God senses complacency, He grabs His children by the neck and shakes us. He sets us up as the target for His attack, so that He can strike us, and we will wake up to Him and His will. It is the only loving thing for Him to do. The good thing is that you can count on it. If you think your problems are all caused by Satan, you are wrong. It could be that you are complacent, and God is attacking you like He did Job.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 19-21.



Being Real with God

Don’t ever try to fool God. It never works. If you can’t be real with God, don’t bother to try to have a relationship with Him. He won’t waste His time on hypocrites. Job knew that.(Job 13:15,16) Job would not stop trusting God, even if God killed him. That is real faith. Any believer should be able to make that statement sincerely.  At the same time Job was going to defend his ways before the Lord, just like we do in any relationship. However, he knew his defense better be much more than just words. If his words did not match his heart and his actions, God would see through it immediately.

Hypocrisy is a serious problem. Jesus dealt with hypocrites in a very no nonsense way. He called them “white washed tombs.” What a description! They were all spruced up on the outside to look good for other people, but inside there was nothing but dead bones. No words or outward appearances can ever make up for a heart relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus is Lord. Anyone who approaches the sinless Lord must repent of sin first. If you don’t decide that sin is wrong, and He is right, why would He talk with you? Anyone who comes to the Lord comes in submission to His authority. Any other way is not coming to who He is, the Lord. All He asks is faith, real trust in Him. Anyone can do that, but we must decide to trust Him, not ourselves or anything else. Then, we start a relationship with Him. We relate to Him minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. It is not just a one time prayer, and then, we go on our merry way. When we mess up and sin, we confess it to Him. When we have problems, and we don’t know why, we ask Him to show us, and we defend our actions, until He shows us what is going on. He will show us, too, if we come sincerely, and we really want to be right. He just wants real faith and for us to be real before Him. Then, He will never leave us or forsake us, even when we are going through trials like Job.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 15-18.



Resistance is Futile

God is wise and mighty. It is impossible for any of us to fight against Him and win. Job realized this when he was weighing his options.(Job 9:4) He was in between a rock and a hard place, because God had allowed these trials to come upon him. However, fighting God was not an option for Job. It shouldn’t be an option for us either.

When we think of fighting against God, I believe most of us think about taking drastic measures to rebel against Him. We think of declaring ourselves to be atheists and starting an organization to eliminate any type of Christianity from society. Yes, that is fighting against God, but it is not the only way to harden ourselves against what He is saying to us. Actually, we resist God mostly by ignoring Him. We tell Him that we don’t have time to do His will, because we are too busy. That is still fighting against God. Resistance if futile, no matter what form it takes.

How many have told God, “I am too busy to go to church this Sunday?” Maybe it was, “I am too busy to pray or read my Bible.” Perhaps, we said, “I can’t take time to teach my children about Jesus at home, because I am busy.” All of these things are hardening ourselves against the Lord and fighting what He tells us to do. Of course, these are just some of the main ones. There is the whole “making disciples” command, which most people ignore, as well.

How is resisting God working for you? Why not end the resistance, and turn your heart over to Him and His way completely? It is the only way to prosper in this life.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 11-14.



Why Does God Care?

Job asked many questions as he went through the grief process after losing everything but his life. Anyone who is grieving does the same thing. One of those questions is usually something like, “Does God care? or Why does God care?”(Job 7:17,18) The hurt is so real, and the pain pushes us to question God’s love and care. Gradually, we begin to hear from the Lord, so we can see that He really does care about us. In fact, He loves us more than we love ourselves.

There are about seven billion people on this earth today. The God of the universe cares deeply for each one of them individually. He knows everything about each one. He knows the number of hairs on their heads. He feeds them and blesses them with good things. However, because of sin and the nature of life, there is sorrow and pain, as well. There are needs that go unmet at times. Pain is a part of life. God cares, but He is trying to show us the reality that this world is not eternal. Life is not about us. It is about trusting Him and His plan for us.

Yes, God has His heart set on You. He wants you to break out of the pain and grief of earth into the joy and gladness of heaven. He wants you to see through all of the tests of life that you can’t do it yourself. However, He is there for you. You are His highest creation. You were created to relate to eternal God, not to live in a sinful world forever. Stop and listen. You will be able to hear Him say, “I do care. I care because I am love, and you are the object of my affection. Please, look at Me and love me back.”

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 8-10.



Accepting Adversity

Job realized something that we all need to learn well. God sends  us both blessings and adversity, and we need to learn to accept both. If we don’t, we will sin.(Job 2:10) How many times have we had something difficult happen to us, and we automatically spit out a cuss word or something caustic? Why does that happen? We do not accept adversity as a normal and healthy part of life, even something that God sends into our lives like He sent into Job’s life.

Adversity is not bad. Each trial is an opportunity to trust God and to succeed. It is a test, and we can make a 100 or a 0. If we are programmed to see each adversity as a bad thing, we will fail every time. If we see them as growth times, we can succeed by learning and growing in the Lord. Each of us has this choice to make.

Growing physical muscles takes pain. When we exercise our muscles, they hurt for a while. I believe they actually break down a bit, and then, when they grow back, they are stronger than before. It takes exercising little by little over a long period of time to grow muscles. The same is true for faith. Strong faith does not happen over night. In each trial we must exercise our faith by going through a difficult experience while trusting God for insight, strength, and stamina. When it is over, we may have been broken down some, but we come out stronger than before. Over time our faith grows this way. Without it, we remain spiritual babies. That is why we must accept adversity and learn to grow from it. That is God’s plan in sending it.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Job 5-7.