Sometimes you meet people who are so impressive that you’re intimidated by them. It might that person’s achievements. It might be that this person is so much better at something that you think you’re quite good at. I’m intimidated by Job.
Over the last month, we’ve gotten to know Job. We were introduced to him as someone who was extraordinarily successful and wealthy, with a thriving family. However, those things were of secondary importance, because Job was described a man who ‘was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil’. Incredibly, he retains his personal devotion to God even when everything’s taken away from him: his possessions and wealth, his children and health. That level of devotion is intimidating. I ask myself, ‘Would I act like Job in a similar situation?’.
This Sunday, in chapter 31, we hear Job’s closing speech. It’s like he’s been in a court of law, defending himself, bringing forward evidence to argue that he’s innocent of wrongdoing that merits the suffering he’s experienced. In this chapter, he once again gets very personal, as he reviews his own character and behaviour. He offers an itemized list of qualities, inviting condemnation if he’s made any violations.
Here again, Job is intimidating. Whilst he doesn’t pretend to be perfect, his personal integrity and holiness are deeply impressive. It’s clear that Job is incredibly concerned about his walk with God. And it gets me thinking, ‘Am I the same?’. In our jobs, we work very hard to improve and get better. We want favourable performance reviews. Are we similarly devoted to increased holiness in our personal lives?
John Newton, the former slave-trader and hymn writer, like Job examined his own character and wrote, “My heart is like a country but half subdued, where all things are in an unsettled state, and mutinies and insurrections are daily happening. I hope I hate the rebels that disturb the King’s peace. I am glad when I can point them out, lay hold of them, and bring them to him for justice. But they have many lurking-holes, and sometimes they come disguised like friends, so that I do not know them, till their works discover them.”
How often do you, like Job and Newton, examine your heart and review your character? Yes, we are saved by grace alone, through Jesus alone. However, God is most concerned with your personal holiness, and you should be as well. What parts of your life are you not letting Jesus be the King?