Have you read the book of Job lately?
I've been scratching my head over the years trying to figure out where we get this "patience of Job" stuff from.
I don't see patience.
I see the same arrogance that God saw.
I see the same arrogant and self righteous attitude that's in me.
Let me save you years of self introspective searching here. It's in you too.
In the beginning passages of Job God declares him as a blameless and upright man.
The problem is that Job considered himself a blameless and upright man.
His "friends" (who in my opinion have to be the prototype of "with friends like these, who needs enemies"), clothed in their own arrogant self-righteousness, unmercifully harangue and harass Job as they conduct an inquisition inundated with poor advice.
Here's the nutshell:
Job is singled out by God to prove to Satan that Job can withstand everything the devil throws at him short of killing him. Job consequently suffers the loss of his family, riches, and good health.
Oddly enough he obstinately maintains the one character flaw that perhaps God was trying to erase.
Job was stubborn and arrogant.
He just couldn't see anything in himself that needed to change.
Short of cursing God, which the devil hoped for and his own wife encouraged, Job actually argues his case as to why he feels he has been unjustly afflicted.
God saw righteous qualities in Job.
Job saw it too.
That's self righteousness, and it has to go bye-bye. No, really... it has to.
If that sounds confusing to you, let me put it this way.
When we become born-again we are deemed righteous by God. We really are in God's eyes a righteous person because of what Jesus does for us. That's a very cool thing.
Walking around boasting about our righteousness is not cool.
It's wonderful to be righteous. Not wonderful to think you're righteous.
It transfers the rightful credit Christ deserves over to us.
Which scenario is more palatable to you?...
#1 - "The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men--extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers--or even like this tax collector here."
#2 - "But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am!"
Jesus said it's what's behind door #2!
Tell him what he's won Jesus!
"I tell you, this man (#2 ) went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man (#1); for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:11-14)
I love that. Those who think they are "all that", will become less than all that. Those who realize that they are nothing apart from Christ will be "all that" in God's eyes.
Could you accept that?
I mean, could you actually get to that place of humility, of humbleness before Christ? That place where you can strip away all the false righteous arrogance?
This is a tough place to get to. Our phony baloney self imposed importance won't easily allow it.
Step #1 is to take a good hard look.
I did, and I was disgusted by what I saw.
You might be too.
But there is a cathartic effect that goes way beyond just how you view or think of yourself.
It enters into the realm of restoration.
The Book of Job is not all about Job. It's about his friends as well. It wasn't until God enters "in a whirlwind" that the rebuilding of Job is accomplished, and it doesn't happen until his friends see something about themselves.
Job is restored when he recognizes his own faults, and when his friends intercede with sacrifice, not poor advice.
Basically it's called living in a society...God's way.
My prayer today is for healing and humility. Perhaps we need to see ourselves as smaller than God today. Perhaps we need to recognize the largeness of God and His desire to purge us from arrogance and self righteousness. Give us the courage this morning Lord to accept less of ourselves for more of You!
Be blessed today in all you do and say!
Keepin' it Real,
Pastor Kevin <><