Job's Character - Where Do Your Problems Stem From?
- Job 1:1 “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
- vs. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
- vs. 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”
After our big travel trailer wreck in 2003, Amy and I were using various beat-up vehicles to get to our meetings since we were only 2 years into evangelism and very limited on funds. On one such trip, the car we were driving broke down, which was a common scenario for a while :). We called a tow truck, and on the way over to the mechanic’s shop I struck up a conversation with the tow man about Jesus and salvation. The worker was very interested in the conversation and started listing all of the terrible things going on in his life. He explained that he felt like Job in the Bible. My heart went out to him, but at the same time almost every “trial” he was experiencing was a result of bad choices in his life.
Although trials can come simply as a result of living in a sin-cursed world, there are also other trials in our life that come as a result of our poor decisions, our thoughtless words, and our wrong deeds. For those specific trials, we must be humble and honest enough to see and acknowledge the truth. Those specific trials do not come as a result of our good character, but rather, our sin nature and imperfection. For example:
- – If a church closes because it was forced to by a socialist dictatorship, then the trials of that church are not the fault of the church. If, however, a church closes because of sin, negligence, and/or apathy in the church, then obviously the “trials” of that church are the church’s fault.
- – If your spouse demands a divorce and you refuse because God hates divorce/divorce is wrong (Mal. 2:16), you are choosing good character. However, if you are the one demanding divorce, you reveal a hardened heart (Mt. 19:8) which is not good character. The terrible results of divorce will be “trials” you brought upon yourself.
- – If you are a saved, divorced parent who rarely has access to your children, the trials of prodigal children are not your fault. However, if you and your spouse are both saved and your now-grown children have forsaken God, you must be willing to shoulder the blame. (Please read “Proverbs 22:6” series.) It is extremely selfish and haughty to put all blame on your prodigals. Remember God lifts up and gives His empowering grace to the surrendered, honest, and humble (Jms. 4:6-10).
- – If you have “lost everything” as a result of your factory closing down, debilitating illness, famine, etc…, the trials that come your way are not your fault. However, if you have “lost everything” as a result of poor financial choices and dealings, the “trials” you experience were a result of you. (See “Money Management” articles “Surety” and “Usury”.)
Now, please understand that none of this is said to rub dirt in your face. No, no. Even in sin and bad choices, Christians must love, forgive, and “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2) However, if your trials are a result of your sins and bad choices, your trials will not simply go away until you honestly confess your sins to God (I Jn. 1:9) and change whatever it is that you are doing wrong.
It is very important when looking into Job’s trials to remember Job’s character. Job’s trials did not start as a result of sin in Job’s life. From Job 1:1-5, God assures us that Job was living a righteous life and making righteous decisions. Job’s 3 friends had wrongly judged that Job’s trials came as a result of Job’s sin(s). (See “Bad Things Only Happen to Bad People?”) However, God’s Word reveals in Job chapters 1 and 2, Job’s trials actually came from Satan as a result of Job’s good character. It is important to note, though, that Job’s three friends weren’t wrong for addressing sin in Job’s life if there had been any sin. The problem was that “they had found no answer (proof or specific examples of sin), and yet had condemned Job.” (Job 32:3) Too often contemporary Christianity negatively views those who try to deal with sin in other believers, especially those going through trials. (See “Receiving Reproof in Trials”)
In conclusion, if you are going through trials, daily check for any sin in your life and errors you have made. Note that righteous Job wasn’t perfect in his trials. (Read “People Problems” and “When He Prayed For His Friends”.) Confess your sins/errors and repent just like Job did in 42:1-6. Only after honest, humble confession can the Lord accept you (42:9) and bless you (42:10) as He did Job.