We all know the story of Job; “the greatest of all the men in the east,” a man described by God as “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” However, Satan challenges Job’s integrity; “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan’s point: Job loved God for the benefits (Job = the Bill Gates of his day). And so, God grants Satan permission to test Job, and Job loses everything: his children, wealth, possessions, everything. It’s a story most of us are familiar with, but I was challenged in a fresh way by Job’s response?
1:20-22 “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said, Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Through all this Job did not sin, nor did he blame God.”
And his wife’s response was quite different…
2:9 “Do you (Job) still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
“But he (Job) said to her, you speak as one of the foolish women speaks. (Notice again his integrity; he doesn’t call her a fool he says she’s speaking like one.) Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity? In all this, Job did not sin with his lips.” (Magnificent theology!)
May we not speak like Job’s wife, as fools, when things don’t go our way but rather, set a guard over our lips by “setting our minds on the things above” so we can battle sin with God’s word and grow in our love for the Lord.
Joshua “So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God.”
I also loved the way in which Job maintained his integrity amidst adversity. He maintained the same testimony in the good times and bad because he was UNDIVIDED IN HIS LOVE FOR GOD. He understood his circumstances were not just random arbitrary occurrences that happened by chance… but that God was still in control, still loving, still good; thus, what the Lord allows is also, in fact, good. Confidence in the sovereignty of God is crucial to our trusting Him. We must decide how we will respond to adversity; may we choose to believe in God’s goodness and providence and refuse to turn aside. I pray for a heart like Job, ready to accept all that God gives (both the good AND bad) with an undivided heart and because my trust/security is in Him alone….a life of faith, anchored in Jesus Christ.
Ps 118:6 “The Lord is for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Session #2 (I loved the Scripture… SO good!)
On understanding the root of unmet expectations:
- Prov. 27:20 “Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.”
· 1John -17 “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”
As you can see from the verse above, when we take our eyes off Christ we look to created things for satisfaction. Having our focus on something else ->leads to discontentment-> which leads to the fruit of discontentment->
(I.e. bitterness, anger, irritability, depression, mopey, disunity, conflict, pouting, jealousy, not trusting God, not trusting others, covetousness, disappointment, hypocrisy, fear, anxiety)
When your ugly fruit comes out: trace the problem back to its root (discontentment) and seek to correct your wrong thinking with Scripture!
On overcoming the disappointment of unmet expectations:
Contentment = Satisfied
- Phil. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
- Ps. 90:14 “Oh satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
- 2Cor. 12:7-10 (Paul’s thorn in the flesh)
- Phil. 4:11-13 “…for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
- Heb.. 13:5 “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU, so that we confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”
The key to contentment = the Lord will never forsake us; HE will help us, whatever the circumstances
4 non-negotiable beliefs we must live by.
1. I am a sinner and deserve everything that happens to me.
v Titus 3:3-7
2. My trials are fewer than my sins. (Our God is SO merciful)
- Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
- Ps. 103:10 “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the east, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
3. If I am experiencing unmet expectations it is because God has deemed it good for me.
v Lam. -33 “For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly, or grieve the sons of men.”
v Ps. 119:67 “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word.”
v Heb 12:1-11
4. The Lord will never disappoint me
· Ps. 22:5 “To Thee they cried out, and were delivered; In Thee they trusted and were not disappointed.”
· Rom. 5:5 “and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
· Ps. 25:8-10 “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and testimonies.”
Side-note: Even when God does not act the way we think He should… HE is still: just, righteous, faithful… The issue is our man-based, me-centered, perception.Ps. 33:4-5 “For the word of the Lord is upright; and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.”