June 8, 2017

June 8, 2017

JOB 24-28

Focus Verse: For as long as life is in me,
And the breath of God is in my nostrils
Job 27:3


There it is right there. This is the pride killer. This is the answer to all of your problems. “You don’t know me.” you might say, and that is true, but I do know the Gospel and what it tells me of the human condition. I do know myself and all of the junk that I wish I didn’t struggle with, and I’m willing to wager, if you look deep enough, you’ll see some of the same traces in you that I see in me.


We need this attitude toward life or we will be consumed. I wrote about my favorite Bible verse a few days ago, Job 13:15, “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him”. This verse is the prequel to that verse.


You cannot suffer well so that Christ is glorified unless you realize the truth of this verse. Job is recognizing that his very life is borrowed. His breath is not his own. If you approach it any other way, you will never make it in front of the throne of God. Why can I be so sure of that? Because there is nowhere in the Bible that teaches that the proud will inherit the Kingdom of God, quite the contrary actually. The only thing promised to the proud is that they will be humbled…one way or another.


Ok! Deal. Then we all just need to strap up our boots, realize it’s God’s breath in our nostrils and that’ll take care of it. WRONG! I’ve heard a lot of people say that worship is the path to destroying pride. I don’t even think that’s the case. I understand it, and I’m splitting hairs a little bit on this, but I think it’s a hair that needs to be split or else we could come away with a faulty conclusion.


Praising God is absolutely a great way to keep our pride in check. Giving Him our thankfulness, our worship, our praise – recognizing all that He has done for us – that absolutely is a great thing.


But if we claim that as the way to destroy pride, then the power to destroy pride still lies within us and our actions…and that’s the problem with pride: as long as you have ownership, as long as it’s yours, pride will always accompany it one way or another.


Jesus Christ is the only one who can destroy our pride. I said earlier that pride will never let you approach the throne of God, but once you’re ready to get rid of that pride, the throne of God is the only place where you can get rid of it. God has to take it. The most beautiful illustration of this comes from C.S. Lewis’ book, The Voyage of the Dawntreader from the Narnia series. Just reading through it makes me tear up every time when I think of what God has done for me.


The passage is about a young boy named Eustace, who, because of his greed, tries to take a dragon’s treasure and finds that he himself has turned into the dragon. He tries to peel off the dragon scales on his own, and succeeds in pulling them off, but no matter how many times he tries, he continues to find that underneath there are more scales, more layers of dragon skin that he cannot be rid of. Then the lion, Aslan, the Christ figure in the story, intercedes:


“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.


“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”


“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.


“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”


Do you need to turn into a boy (or girl) again? Jesus Christ will take your pride, your greed…any sin that is standing in between Him and you. It will hurt, realizing what you’ve become, but the freedom on the other side is unlike anything you have ever felt before.


It’s all His to begin with. Your very breath belongs to Him. When you give it back and become that boy (or girl) that He initially created you to be, you will experience freedom like never before. Following Christ will become a joy! Even in the midst of suffering! You will finally be who He created you to be…there is nothing more glorious than that!

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