Posted By Kelly Reins on August 12, 2010
Some of you have waged battles against the flesh, works of repentance have been done, out of obedience to parents, to the Word, and it’s a work that needs to be acknowledged, praised, rejoiced over, and seen as valuable considering you’ve gone against the cultural flow, perhaps sacrificing relationships which would have compromised you, purposely choosing fidelity to Christ, it’s no small accomplishment. It is an excellent investment in your future, in yourself, for the household you live in now, so that you can wisely counsel as a Titus 2 (for the community of believers) and so that you have the perspectives, virtues and character, which will be needed to invest in a husband’s household and his work.
Are we thanking God for this victory? It was His accomplishment in reality.
When new hard perspectives hit us like, “Christian boys are flirting with substandard girls and I am being passed up!” be careful not to murmur against the Lord and say like the Israelites, “Did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Was all this for nothing?” Be conscious of the fact that your faith is being tried.
What causes our faith which once brought us out of our personal Egypt or being a slave to sin and the ways in which it manifested in our lives, to fail us when it could carry us further?
Guard Against Taking Into Your Flesh The “Curse God and Die Syndrome”
When tormented with circumstances not of our choosing but none the less afflicting our souls…
Like when we see brothers fall into sin, it is gut wrenching because we have a good doctrine of righteousness and know that they do as well; we understand evil. We mourn the loss, the failure and could not nor should not do otherwise and still keep our Christian integrity.
Like when we are mocked, railed against, when our piety is scoffed at by those we respect and we find ourselves alone, when for our faith as well as the application of our faith we are belittled, it is a weighty affliction to our souls because we know our Christian integrity is ours only by the grace of God. He has done a work we humble rejoice over, a work by which we find delight in Him over and that reality is despised.
Like when those closest to us curse God continually, feed their flesh, which revels in bitterness, and allow their resentment against God to spill over on us, when they state where their allegiance really lies and we bear the burden of their separation because we know what it means. It is tremendously lonely but for our Comforter’s integrity.
Like when those we respect blame us for their problems raising false accusations about our virtue, compromising our hard earned reputations and futures it can be devastating because we are intimately familiar with what God intends and a Savior that brought us out of our wretched state and is working to raise us up making us able to stand with Christian integrity.
Like when someone you love dearly will not bow the knee to Jesus Christ, even after all your devotion, example, prayer, instead they afflict Him and you.
Like when we suffer monetary loss unexpectedly due to the failures of other and the repercussions come. Our needs aren’t met, sickness comes, friends and family leave you alone to bear the consequences of others.
Like when everyone else is getting married, having, naming and revealing in the of their children’s awe and wonder of the world they are newly exploring, decorating their first homes, going one lovely family trips, shall I go on?
When loved ones leave you or pass away, whatever it may be…
When we are tormented with afflictions it is so very tempting to imagine God is doing nothing for our cause as well as everyone else we know, that the great Sovereign is sleeping, inconsiderate, preoccupied with His selfish interests and not ours, right when we are so very needy.
But, circumstances do not define God.
Satan would have us curse God and curse the circumstances attributing to our affliction and those who seemingly brought them on us. He will move us subtly to it and it to us. The temptation is managed artfully and often manifests when in the facing the afflictions exampled above. If we curse our circumstances, or curse those who seemingly brought on our circumstances, we’ve cursed God and the work that He intends to do by it. We’ve from the start stated our position faithlessness. We’ve chosen pride over humility requiring others to know and more importantly God to know that we are to good for God and what he intends. We’ve failed our test and often times misunderstood our circumstances perhaps missed a potential blessing but more importantly decided we love ourselves more than we love life with God lived by the grace of God.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. Psalms 90: 12-17
To God Be True
Expect to be kicked when you are down. Temptation accompanies trials. Satan seduces in order that we would deny our allegiance to God. He wants to rob us of our Christian integrity. Christ, Job, Adam and Eve, and many since the dawn of creation were tempted in this way. We must bravely make good and pass the test and carry the day. We must bless God in all things though we are tried. It is in part for our soul’s defense to plant our flag in allegiance to Christ, but beyond personal holiness it is the establishment of God’s purposes and glory here on earth. We owe Him more than the heathen did their idols.
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great. The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children. Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men. The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence. But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD. Psalms 115:1-18
A Wise Christian Walks Circumspectly
We must anticipate and not let down our guard because battles are not waged with one arrow.
Also, be on guard against subtle accusing thoughts, which are full of acute pain with regard to your want of reward for the services you’ve rendered the Saviour. When you coddle ideas of God being far off, when it seems to you He takes pleasure in making you miserable, of stripping you, scourging you without any provocation given, you will then leave off your love of him, of blessing him of delighting to serve him.
Some may moan, Some may curse, Some will rant and rail, Some may become a sober poet,
Dost thou not see that thy devotion’s vain?
What have thy prayers procured but woe and pain?
Hast thou not yet thy int’rest understood?
Perversely righteous, and absurdly good?
Those painful sores, and all thy losses, show
How Heaven regards the foolish saint below.
Incorrigibly pious! Can’t thy God
Reform thy stupid virtue with his rod?
—Sir R. Blackmore
But we must always be persuaded to bless God.
Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
Satan continually suggests to us hard thoughts with regard to God’s character and intentions, to our siblings, to our parents, to our church body, employers, neighbors, fellow walmart shoppers. He would love it if we’d believe God envies our happiness and delights in the misery of His creatures. There is nothing more false. He would love it more if we’d go beyond believing such slander to voicing it.
If we do not resist such temptations, we’ll think unrealistic evil of God, our siblings, our parents, our church body as we speculate about what we see them doing which seems to be derailing our hopes, plans, our earthly blessings.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. Psalms 30:11-12
Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Psalms 31:19-20
If we really are abased by our circumstances, it is more appropriate that we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and bring our minds to the meanness and poverty of our condition. We may indeed want for something. If God will lay us in the ashes thus we will be content to lie down. A low spirit becomes low circumstances and will help us to reconcile ourselves to them.
The Last Punch…
The last hope we’re clinging to can turn sour; it might be our last friend, or our last hope in a promising circumstance. But we must be persuaded to bless God. He is working all things for our good.
For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. Psalms 31:22
Satan’s policy is to send his temptations by those who are dear to us. For example, Adam and Eve, Christ and Peter. Job’s wife suggests two of the blackest and most horrid of Satan’s temptations, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and Die.” What is the use in retaining your Christian integrity? The truth is Christ suffered and was repaid. Only fools cling to impiety when they could bless God and live.
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them. Psalms 41:9-10
But that is the very question we must answer, “Do you still retain your integrity? Why? What for?” This is not a hard question to answer and often we avoid it blaming those the tempter uses to make a diversion from ourselves. If in your heart you’ve compromised your Christian integrity hoping after that which is not good, or that which is good but you’ve not earned, repent.
Always be persuaded to bless God, keep your integrity, and be obstinate in your religion so no temptation can cure you of it. Resent the temptation. Be indignant at such a temptation. Abhor the thought of it.
Christ gave us an example when He said, “Get thee behind me Satan” (Mat 16:23, Mar 8:33, Luk 4:8) and in so doing he showed us a constant resolve to cleave to God and think only good of Him.
Only those who are angry and are without sin IN their anger, are those who are angry only AT sin and take a temptation as the greatest affront. They are those who cannot bear those who are truly evil.
If those who we know are wise and good speak foolishness or act foolishly, reproof is necessary and we are faithful to show them the evil in private appropriate ways. (Galatians 6:1, Matt. 18:15-20) If God puts us in a situation where we have to ward off personally directed attack, affront, and/or temptation we should also endeavor to be convincing of why we should hold to our integrity. Whether we are stripped of everything else or not.
To think evil and curse your brothers and sisters in Christ is a wholly a different matter than righteous indignation. Discern between a restoring and cursing. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Are you offering the fruit of the Curse God And Die Syndrome? If so, keep the wretched distemper to yourself and repent. If not, bless God as the affront comes and speak sound biblical truth to the matter.
The Dividing Line Of Responsibility
Job’s wife failed but Job did not.
Thus, in a good measure, Job still held fast his integrity, and Satan’s design against him was defeated: In all this did not Job sin with his lips; he not only said this well, but all he said at this time was under the government of religion and right reason. In the midst of all these grievances he did not speak a word amiss; and we have no reason to think but that he also preserved a good temper of mind, so that, though there might be some stirrings and risings of corruption in his heart, yet grace got the upper hand and he took care that the root of bitterness might not spring up to trouble him, Heb. 12:15 -Matthew Henry on Job 2
The lesson from Genesis with regard to our first parents fall into sin tells us that if we follow temptation into sin we alone bear the punishment. Adam blamed his wife but she was not responsible for his sin and so he bore his own punishment and she hers.
He Fashions Us
A wise Christian will make good use of affliction. Both blessings and curses come from the hand of God. They are contrary to each other but they do not come from a contrary source or with a contrary cause and so in all things we can be persuaded to bless God. We must have our eyes on him, with thankfulness for the good He sends and without anxiety over the evil. We must prove that we know how to be abased as well as how to abound. Why are we surprised when we are tried? It is God who promised that we are His workmanship, that He would continually fashion us. What is it that strengthens us other than resistance? Character is built in the struggle. We are taught just how valuable God’s mercies are when we are being made to go without them. When the time comes in which we may abound when man’s folly usually turns to boasting we’ll have ingrained humility and be the just and wise stewards most cannot be. Afflictions cause us to partake in God’s holiness because when the abundance of your heart is for God it will produce good things and will suppress the evil that is there.
Always Be Persuaded To Bless God!
Adapted from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Job 2.