Thursday, February 04, 2010

That’s Not My Job

OK, so it’s a silly little word play. We’re not talking about a task, but a person. But you will get the point.

“that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:1 NAS95)

This verse refers to a man named Job (in the Old Testament, right before Psalms), and it also describes Jesus. I wonder to what extent it would, or could, apply to me.

I did a series some time ago on Jonah and Jesus. I concluded that I was much more like Jonah than Jesus. But this one is different. Job starts out, out of the gate, with very high credentials. I’d like to spend a few moments on each, for my benefit, - maybe for someone else’s as well.

Blameless” is translated in KJV as “perfect.” It has the sense, not of flawlessness, but rather, of completion. Job was complete in his makeup, and in the dedication of the totality of that makeup, to God.

Job was not half a man. He was not one of those “men without chests” described by C.S. Lewis. He was not one of those “little-souled” men, as Jesus called his disciples on more than one occasion (translated “men of little faith”). Job was not big on talk and little in action. He was not merely a man of good intentions, lacking in follow-through. He was not compartmentalized, so that he could be holy in one corner of his life, and perverse in another.

And Jesus was also blameless, and even more so. No void. No shadows. No secrets. No regrets. He was, and is, complete. As I walk in fellowship with Jesus, I must find the He is not tolerant of tolerated inconsistency. We must identify and attack areas of life that display less than whole-hearted discipleship.

Upright” means straight. Job knew what he was about, and he was not distracted from that high road. Jesus also knew His mission. And His mission was not merely a task, but a life lived in fellowship with God, and in fulfilling God’s will, no matter what it cost Him personally.

I am easily distracted. I pursue goals that prove not to be worth the time and effort. My latest “great idea” collects tarnish in a hurry. There is a back room full of them. I am also easily discouraged, lacking the fortitude to pursue godly behaviors and pursuits through the gauntlet of difficulties and disciplines needed to accomplish something worthwhile, by God’s grace and enablement. But Job, and Jesus, even more so, walked a straight path of fellowship with God and fulfillment of His will for their lives.

Job feared God. Many of the details of Jobs life are lost in the fog of ancient history. God has given us all the details that we need. But one of the mistakes we often make (I read this recently in Chesterton) is that if it happened a long time ago, then, because of progress, we conclude that it was different for them. In this case, I struggle with people-pleasing, but Job probably didn’t have that problem, because, why would you bother trying to impress primitive men? It must have been easier for Job to fear God than for me. Rubbish. God was large in Job’s mind and heart, and He is far too small in mine. And Jesus, even more so, displayed a rock-solid understanding of God’s size and sovereignty. I have a deep need to read my Bible slowly, and to take what it says about God (and other things) literally, that is, as though it is really true.

Finally, Job turned away from evil. He did not walk in the counsel of the gody, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1). He did not play games with sin, or flirt with temptation. Job was a man who could tell himself “No!” and mean it. And I, and you, must do the same.

So far, this Job isn’t my Job. But I would like him to be. But Jesus, though I fall far short, is indeed my Jesus, because He gave Himself for me in order that I can become like Job, and even more so, like Jesus.

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