In our last article, we decided to explore the powerful story of Job. Job was a loyal servant of God who was greatly tested on his faith through a series of hardships. In this testing, Job failed; he questioned God on His just nature. God responded to Job’s cries of pain, saying that the world is a lot more complex than it appears to be and only He possesses the knowledge to exact punishment and rewards. If you are interested in reading more about Job’s story, click here.
Job’s story contains a multitude of lessons that we can use to live our lives with reverence.
We are living in a time full of calamities, fears, and suffering. Job’s story teaches us how to navigate these obstacles with integrity, honour, compassion, and humility. His obstacles give us perspective in our moments of defeat. In this article, we will be outlining the top 4 lessons that we learned from Job’s story that we can use to navigate this anxiety-filled era in our world.
1. We cannot control what happens to us; however, we can control how we react.
This is something that many of us sometimes forget – including myself. Those of us with anxiety may struggle with the urge to control things that happen to us. I speak for myself when I say that I don’t like surprises. I am a planner. When unexpected things happen, especially the bad things, I get anxious. I go immediately into planning mode, rearranging schedules, preparing for the next step. This sometimes leads me to be short with people, even if I don’t mean to be. I mostly blame this on my anxiety or give a half-hearted apology (which is something bad that I will be addressing later).
I give the example of my poor reactions to change and trials to show how God does not want us to react. He does not want us to take matters in our own hands. God wants us to trust and rely on Him wholeheartedly. He wants us to turn to Him and rely on His Word as we navigate our situations. Yes, God gives us free will. We can choose to react however we choose to, which can include leaning into our anxiety; however, God wants us to rely upon Him. His was is the best way. Period. Full stop. There is more peace found in reacting to conflict with humility rather than yelling and screaming at the person you disagree with. We have control over our actions. If we are seeking solace, then it will work in our favour to act in the way of the Lord.
2. Our greatest battles are not external – they are spiritual.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Ephesians 6:12 New International Version (NIV)
The greatest battles we can ever face are trifold; our biggest enemies are against the world, the flesh, and the devil. So, you may be wondering how spiritual battles can take place in human flesh or the world around us. It’s simple. Sin is everywhere; we are born into it. We sin every day. Sin is in the things we watch, read, talk. It is in how we act and who we interact with. Where sin is, the devil is. The devil plants sin in our hearts and minds, which is how Job, one of God’s most righteous servants, submitted his heart to insecurity and entitlement and began to curse God.
So, if our greatest battles are against the unseen spirits of temptation, pride, arrogance, war, hatred, immorality, impurity, and all of the things that are endorsed by the devil, then shouldn’t our warfare be spiritual? Shouldn’t we be reading the Word to determine how to fight these things? Should we not be listening to God? Job prayed to God, but in praying, he recognized his anger before God’s authority. God must be first in everything.
We are being tested every moment of every day. He is leading this war against sin; therefore, we must rely on Him for direction. We must use the tools He has equipped us with if we want to be victorious.
3. Our sense of pride and entitlement can be our greatest downfall.
I addressed my battle with pride earlier in this article. I mentioned that in conflict, I have difficulty taking ownership of my wrongdoings. My display of pride is a consequence of my insecurity. My insecurity is a result of not allowing the purpose of my actions to be rooted in Jesus.
Similarly, Job’s display of pride and entitlement was not pleasing to God. He automatically assumed that he was suffering because God was unjust. His friends assumed that Job was being punished because He did something wrong. It turns out that nobody was correct. God’s ways are higher than all of our ways. He sees beyond the next few seconds; meanwhile, we can barely see beyond the next millisecond. God allowed Job to endure pain and loss so that he could experience the richness of His blessings at the end of his suffering. His reasoning had nothing to do with Job at the moment; rather, it had everything to do with the outcome God wanted for Job.
When we exalt ourselves above God and others, we display pride. When we point fingers at others, forget to show humility, seek attention, demand that we are right, or engage in behaviour that supports our insecurities, we display pride. Pride is a sin because it goes against God’s will for His people to be kind, generous, empathetic, and humble. Pride goes against God’s will because we place ourselves, our needs, our thoughts, and our wants, before Him. We idolize ourselves, and God says we should not have anything before Him (Exodus 20:2-4). We eradicate pride through humility, which we talk about in this article.
4. We may not understand God’s actions, but He will see us through.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
When I go through a difficult time, I tell myself that it is not my job to understand God’s ways, it is only my job to obey Him. God does not allow for coincidences. Everything He does has a purpose, and He reveals everything to us when we are supposed to know about it. Job was supposed to endure suffering and hardship. Without it, he would never know that God is with us through the bad and the good. Without it, he would have never gotten past his mindset of entitlement. God needed Job to learn these lessons so that we could learn these lessons in reading His Word.
These days are filled with pain and suffering from every angle. There might have been some of you who have questioned God’s ways. Why are You allowing the coronavirus to be here? Why have You chosen to take my family member’s life? Is there a reason why You allow Black people to die at the hands of racist police officers? Why is there so much pain and suffering in the world today? God allows us to go through pain and suffering for reasons beyond our understanding. Like Job, we must pray to Him if we have anguish to release or questions to ask. When praying, we should ask Him to guide us as we read His Word so that we are equipped with Scripture to defend, guide, protect, and comfort us. If we ask, He will give us the wisdom to apply His Word and teachings to our daily lives.
What have you learned from Job’s story?
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