Wednesday, May 14, 2014

If You See Me Wallowing in the Mire...

Let's say that you are walking one day and you find me on the side of the road.  There I am, in a huge muddy pit, just sloshing around in the dirt.

Although it initially looks like I may be struggling to get out as my members contend with the weight of the caked on debris all over my clothes, skin, and hair, you are just not sure.  As you watch me roll around in the mud, you wonder if in fact I might actually be enjoying it...and maybe to a certain extent I am.

Each day, you walk by and find me in that same muddy hole.  Each day I seem to be a little deeper in it.  The degradation of my condition worsens, and the stench from the pit soon becomes overwhelming.

You eventually discover that I have resorted to eating the mud around me, for lack of any other nutrients nearby.  Yet each day you walk by, and if only for a brief moment, our eyes meet.

In such circumstances, can I ask you a favor?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sincerely Wrong vs. Willfully Ignorant

A brother called recently to talk to me about the story of Job.  He shared how - at the end of the matter - God never told Job why he was allowed to suffer.  His three friends insisted that his suffering must be the result of either his sin or his children's sin.  They claimed that this was a judgment against Job because he really didn't serve the Lord at all.  Yet, each of these friends were wrong (Job 42:7-8).

God starts off stating that Job was a perfect & upright man (Job 1:8) and He ends by justifying Job and blessing him anew (Job 42:10-17).  Yet here is the kicker: There were still things God needed to work out in Job.  Job needed to learn that God is sovereign (Job 38:1 - 41:34).  God does what He wants to do and He owes us no explanation...even while His hand of protection remains upon us.

The point here is that - through this process of suffering - Job was convicted and brought to repentance over having spiritual pride (Job 40:3-5, 42:1-6).  Job was a righteous man, but there were still things in his heart that God wanted to reveal so that Job could be further purged and cleansed (Job 33:14-29).

God is not primarily concerned with the things that are wrong within us; these are no surprise to Him.  He knows there are things in us that are are not in alignment with His will & His ways.  That is why He sent Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sin and the Holy Spirit to be a sanctifier of our hearts.  Perfecting God's people is something only the Lord can do, and He is faithful to complete the work He has started in us (Philippians 1:6).  However, in order to be perfected, we must stay sincere before Him.  Our job is to yield to Him as He does His work.

This is how we are able to live blamelessly before God, even with there still being things which need to be set right within us (Luke 1:6; I Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 2:15, 3:6; I Thessalonians 5:23; I Timothy 3:2-10, 5:7; Titus 1:6-7; II Peter 3:14).  Being upright is not about having no sin, but about not being in covenant with sin...and that is a big difference.