Special Provision – “Grace”

Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1-4, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,… Christ did not set us free to remain a slave. When Paul wrote to the Galatians Christians, they were not experiencing the freedom that Christ died to give – being liberated through grace.

Slavery is miserable, because it means something or someone has us chained in bondage. So what was holding Christians then and what is holding Christians today in bondage? Legalism! Paul wasn’t talking to the unbelievers, he was talking to Christians, so the sin issue was already settled.

Legalism is a wrong understanding of the law, or the wrong application of the law. The law – the Ten Commandments can be used when we hear the phrase “The Law.” The Ten Commandments in the Old Testament was the summary of the law. The Christians in Galatia were being held hostage by a wrong understanding of the Ten Commandments , the law, and instead of freeing them it was putting more chains on them.

Paul says in Galatians 1:6, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.” So what was leading them astray? Galatians 2:4 – But this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage).

Paul says over and over again that, when you come to Christ, you are no longer under the system of the law. Romans 6:14, For sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace.

If you are under law, then sin will have dominion. If you are under that system, sin will win.

First, the law was given to show us what was wrong with us (them). The law was not given to make us better. You have to understand this. Most people go to the law to get better in their actions and attitudes, by trying to keep the Ten Commandments, but it won’t work.

Romans 7:7 – Paul says, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”  1 Corinthians 15:56, says we do it because “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.”

The law can never make us better. Hebrews 8, verses 7 and 13 – (7) For if the first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. (Verse 13) In that He says, “A new covenant, “He has made the first obsolete and growing old, is ready to vanish away.” (Read also 2 Corinthians, chapter 3, verses 6, 7, and 9.) Trying to live by the law, brings condemnation. All it will do is make you feel worse because it will bring out the worse in us. If you are operating under the law then you are operating under a curse, Galatians 3:13.

The lost  say, “I live by the Ten Commandments, and some believers say “I live by the Ten Commandments.” The lost can’t get to heaven by this and the believer can’t bring heaven down, because they are both under the curse of the law. Trying to keep the Ten Commandments to be a better Christian is just adding “fuel to the fire.”

Paul says in Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”

If you choose to live under the law, then you have to keep “All the Law!” There were 613 laws. Can anyone keep all those laws perfectly? Only One did – Jesus.

When you insist on going back and living under the old covenant, Paul says in Galatians 5:4 that, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. Paul didn’t mean you lose your salvation, he says Christ won’t benefit you anymore – estranged. If you’re not operating under the New Covenant of grace, then grace can’t flow to you!

Do you ever wonder why nothing changes? Check which system you are living under, law or grace. When you fall from grace which is living back under the law, you will fall back into condemnation. So what are we to do if this happens (mostly because of wrong teaching)?

Let me clarify something first: Grace does not mean that there are no rules. That would be a misunderstanding and a misuse of grace. That would be turning grace into a license to sin if there were no rules. In fact, nine of the ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament for Christians. The only one that’s not repeated is about the Sabbath.,but the other nine are repeated under the grace covenant, not under the law covenant.

The new rules are under a new system. The new rules of grace are based on a “relationship with Christ..” Without the relationship, you only have rules.

The difference between the two systems: In the old system of law, the key word was “if.” If you do this, I will bless you. It was conditioned on what you do to get divine favor.

Under the grace system: The word if, changes. It is now “since.” This is what I am doing because “He’s already blessed me!” Let me prove it: Ephesians 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,…

In the old system it  was, “I have to .” In the new under grace, it is “Thank You!” Do you want to know why so many don’t live in grace? Because they are not thankful! They don’t understand what God has done for them. They don’t appreciate the cross; they don’t understand who the Holy Spirit is; and because the thankfulness is small, they don’t experience the flow of grace!

We are to be thankful and let Christ’s grace flow into our lives. and how does it flow? It flows by relationship not by rules trying to earn it. The mind set changes to: “Look what God has done for us, so we become obedient to Christ for what He’s already done! That’s freedom!

Christ wants us to worship Him because we LOVE Him! Grace gives us the ability to rule in our circumstances through His Spirit. To rule that to which use to be ruling us. We rise above the circumstances. The more you know Jesus and the power of His resurrection, the more we rise above what deems to harm and constrict us.

Under grace, we depend on God, the Holy Spirit, to empower us to live in obedience. If we could live perfectly, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die. Jesus had to die because we cannot “Pull-off” what God demands. We can only manage our sin for a while, but that’s not transformation.

So move from “have to,” to “want to,” from “if” to “since.”

Do you know that it’s in the interest of Satan for the Christian not to know any of this? He wants to keep you in bondage so he will keep control.

Oh, but when you find out that you are free to live under God’s grace, then you will be counted as one of the most victorious Christians you’ve ever known.

Everything we are or will ever be is found in Jesus Christ!

 

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The foolishness of Our Faith

The church in Corinth was divided along social lines – the upper class versus the lower class – and ethnic lines – the Gentiles versus the Jews.

To the Gentiles, the idea of a crucified God was pure folly. According to prevalent Greek philosophy; an infinite and powerful God would never submit Himself to becoming human. God, who is pure spirit, would never confine Himself to the evil inherent in human flesh. He would never come to us; instead, we would have to inspire to rid ourselves of our flesh and go to where He is, in a pure spirit world. Moreover, the suffering Jesus experienced on the cross was a sign of weakness, not a sign of Almighty God.

Thus, the gospel, the message that God’s Son had voluntarily submitted Himself to the horrors of crucifixion, it was pure foolishness – both to the Jew and the Gentile. Neither the Greeks, with their philosophical schools, or the Jews, with their intensive training in God’s law, understood or accepted it.

Yet this foolish gospel message is the wisdom of God. His wisdom transcends all our thinking. We tend to respect earthly achievements. Books are written on how to succeed, how to become learned, how to impress people, and how to exercise power over others. The beauty of God’s wisdom is that He humbles earthly wisdom, turning it upside down. He humbled Himself to suffer on a cross, in order to offer forgiveness to all those who believe on Him. In essence, God’s wisdom is love – an extraordinary love for us.

That is why Paul spoke about the power of this gospel message. The proud of this world are humbled, and those who humble themselves under God are exalted. They are freely forgiven and await an eternal inheritance in heaven.

Yes, Christians worship a God who revealed Himself in suffering and weakness – pure foolishness to a power-hungry world – but a powerful message of love to all who believe!

 

Do You Beg God For What You Already Have?

Most people pray asking God to give them what they have already been given, according to Scripture. Look at what Ephesians 1:3 says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Is Christ in you? Then this applies to you! God has already provided for everything we will ever need.

However, there’s a problem. It’s in another dimension. We need it here on earth.

The Bible says in Romans 12:3, we are all given “the” measure of faith. That means all are given the same measurement of faith. If your Bible says, “a”, instead of “the,” it has been changed from the original and it is wrong. There is a huge difference between “the measure of faith,” and “a measure of faith.” Each believer is given the same measure of faith to believe, and then its up to the individual what they do with their faith.

So now we need to use that faith (can be as small as a mustard seed), to get something to move from heavenly places into our hands.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). I have to get what’s in the invisible realm, to the place where I can see it.

We walk by faith, not by sight. So we know by faith that what we need is there, we just can’t see it, as of yet. We also know it’s true because God said it in His Word.

Where is the faith going to come from to believe all this. Romans 10:17 – So faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

What do we do after we hear the word? Now, what do we do after we have found the particular Scripture we need? 2 Corinthians 4:13 says, “But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak.”

We have the ability to read God’s word and speak it to ourselves. We embrace it in our hearts and continue to confess it “OUT LOUD!” We do this even though we don’t see it yet with our natural eyes.

Luke 10:19, Jesus said to His disciples (and if you are a believer, walking by the Spirit of God, you too have this same authority), “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm you.” That power and authority includes laying hands on the sick and they shall recover: Mark 16:17, 18 – “and these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; (Verse 18) “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. (This does not mean intentionally drinking poison or picking up a deadly snake or putting yourself in harm’s way, tempting God.)

This simply means each and every Christian has the authority through Jesus Christ to call those things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:17).

As long as the world remains, there will be seed, time, and harvest. Everything God wants to do in a Christian’s life, is going to begin with a seed and that seed will produce after its own kind. (If you need healing, don’t go look up a financial word.)

How many Christians do you know that are waiting on a harvest and have never planted any seed? They haven’t read one word that pertains to their situation. They are begging God to change something and He’s already given us His Word. God will respond when we use our mouth to speak His Word in agreement with what is written! And yes, sometimes we have to wait; the Scripture says, seed, you plant and speak, time, a period of waiting, and harvest, and then you will see the result.

The power of life and death are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Learn to say the same thing God says about you. Speak your end result that you desire to see, according to God’s Word. Therefore, we don’t speak what we see, we stand in agreement with what God says about your situation in His Word.

Keep in mind: Satan was defeated at the cross. More times than not, it is our lack of understanding of Scripture that frustrates us in our prayer life when we don’t see any results.

Go to God’s Word, get the desired seed for your particular challenge or situation, and continue to confess it “Out loud, because you believed it in your heart and watch it come to pass.

John 14:14 – “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

 

The Transformation

 

Do you ever think back to that person you were before you came to the Lord? Did you ignore the things of God and God’s people? Did you live unto yourself? Yes to all the above.

Now, let’s think about the time you came to the Lord. Did you make an apology or did you fully repent? After the initial time, did anyone have to beg you to go to church; did anyone have to call you to ask where you had been; did you have to be reminded to read God’s word; or did anyone have to tell you to pray? Are you still doing or not doing any of the above? Please don’t try to convince me that you are following God when you won’t even dart in a church door except for a wedding or a funeral and haven’t picked your Bible up in 10 years, or never.

If a real fire burns in your soul, there should be nothing external that has to motivate you to be intimate with God. Too many have asked for forgiveness, and they are forgiven, but it was more of an apology than true repentance. Just being sorry for the way you have been living won’t get you anywhere but stuck, right there. There has to be a transformation!

2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

Jesus never told us to apologize. He said, “Repent!” Godly sorrow is pain in your mind. God will allow us to hurt in our mind and soul to lead us to a place of repentance. God does use pain as a motivator. It will cause discomfort to the point of a changed behavior. Pain is not usually the first resort though. Usually it will be someone asking if you want to go to a Bible study, go to church, or someone telling you about Christ. However, it can be a gnawing in the spirit. But, if you are a “Jonah” God has a fish waiting on you, because His purpose will be done.

The sorrow that some get stuck in is a worldly sorrow, where their past is constantly dwelled on. Everything about them shouts bitterness. Their attitude toward others, how they treat others, and what happens is that they are so unlikable that no one wants to be around them.

Then there is the godly sorrow. This sorrow causes us to have a change of mind – repentance. Repentance is not a simple little prayer at an invitation to accept Christ. Repentance is when you change your mind and your purpose. There will be a huge shift in your life in every area. After this experience, then you start the journey of finding out what your purpose is, but you will never know if you don’t go forward with Him. This will be a pre-determined intent to change your mind about the things of God and then do everything, like reading His Word, attending His house of prayer, and treating others the way you wished to be treated. The Bible says you will not regret that decision. The only people who turn back to their old way of life are the ones that never truly changed their mind in the first place.

You cannot live for God and Satan at the same time; you are for either one or the other. If there is no true repentance than you will never know the full blessings of God, which comes with the kingdom.

Are You Ready For Eternity?

Luke 19:11-27

It is absolutely critical for you to have an eternal perspective for you to have an earthly life in the here and now. Jesus often taught through parables, a vital spiritual principle.

Luke 19:11 – Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought (the disciples) the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Jesus wanted to explain to them how they were to conduct themselves between the time of the King leaving and the King returning. During this time of rejection of Him, they were living in, and the time of His return. Since Jesus has not returned yet, we are now in this in-between time of His first coming and His second coming. Therefore, this story, applies to you and me.

The story:

A nobleman, which is Christ, leaves each of His servant’s ten minas, which is money, but much bigger is the representation of money. He’s actually talking about life! In this story in Luke, they all got the same amount of the same thing. In Matthew 25 when He uses talents, they didn’t receive the same amount of the same thing, but still the same principle. We all have the same things, but we all don’t have them to the same degree.

The first thing that all of us have is time. We’re not going to live to the same age, but we all have time. Within time is opportunity, because we use our time to do things for others and ourselves.

The second things all of us have are talents. We don’t all have the same talent but varying abilities. We have all been given the compactly to do things for the King and His Kingdom. Thus, the parable is about the King going to get a kingdom. We all have the ability to serve.

The third thing we all have is different degrees of treasures, resources. Not everybody makes the same thing, but we all have some level of resource. So when Jesus speaks about giving them all the same thing, He’s talking about the life He’s entrusted, that they are to do business until He comes back. In other words: “From the time of your conversion until He comes, we are to be a business man or woman. Do business till I come. He’s talking about kingdom business. So the King entrusts talents, time, and treasures, life, to us in order to do business until He returns.

“We” are to do the business with what He has given us to use. That’s why He will pick a person to use their time, talents, and treasures, to accomplish what He wills to be done until He comes back. He’s counting on us because of what He left “to us.”

Ephesians 2:8, 9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (verse 9) not of works, least anyone should boast. But look at verse 10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good words, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In others words: Your saved by His gift of grace, but once you are saved you are saved for “good works!” We are saved to a purpose, to accomplish something for God. Good works are things we do for God’s glory to advance God’s kingdom that benefits others in God’s name.

Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” God did not save us with time, talents, and treasures, to forget “Him!” The reason He didn’t take us to heaven the second we were saved is because there is a work for us to do. You and I are stewards while we live and breathe. In addition, the job of a steward is to protect and expand the assets of another! This is what is expected of us until His return.

Back to Luke 19: In verse 15, the nobleman comes back. (Verse 15) “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

The Father gave the kingdom to the Son, and when He returns, He orders the servants (us) to Himself, to see how we have conducted business in His absence. This is called accountability. All of Jesus followers are called to Him and He asks, “What did you do with the time, talents, and treasures you were entrusted with?” What did you do with what I gave you, that was mine in the first place, on loan, to you?” This is where every Christian, those called by His name will go before the “Judgment Seat of Christ!” He will evaluate what kind of business we did while He was gone. What did we do that glorified Him and benefited others?

The first servant appears in verse 16 where he tells the master that he earned ten minas. So the master tells him, “Well done, because you were faithful you’ll have authority over ten cities. This servant gave the master 100% return. He expanded what he had been given. Notice that the reward was consistent with the expansion. He had ten minas; he made ten, so he got ten cities.

Heaven is not floating around playing a harp or fishing all day or golfing, as some imagine. Heaven is participating in God’s rule and being given responsibility of our investment of our life during this in-between period on earth. It does matter what we do while here.

Now the second servant comes, verse 18: ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ He only has 50% increase, so this servant receives 5 cities he has authority over. Notice what the master didn’t say; he didn’t say, “well don!” The master only said, “Well done” to the first servant because that servant maximized his opportunities. This servant didn’t go over and above; he only did the basics, but yet was still rewarded.

Here’s the thing: The time the talents, and the treasures (resources), belong to the master. The moment we lose sight, of which these things belong to in the first place, we won’t have anything to show because we use all of these for ourselves! We become the master of our time, talent, and treasure.

Now we see the third servant in verse 20, “And another came saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. Oh, he’s saying the right thing when he says, “Master.” He sounds good by calling the king master.

Verse 21 – ‘For I feared you, for you are an austere (strict) man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ In other words; you are hard to please; your expectations were too high; your demands were too much; and you are too serious. This third servant did nothing with the time, talents, and treasures he was left in charge with. As some do today, they are saved and do nothing; they never share their testimony; they hide their Christianity under a bush.

Verse 22 – “And he said to him, “Out of your own mouth I will judge you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Verse 23 – ‘Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ His theology has not affected his activity! He was useless to his kingdom.

Bottom Line:

When Christ comes back, are you going to tell Him, “Well, I went to church, isn’t that good enough?” What about the ones who claim to be His and won’t even put the effort out to go to church? Is your theology right, but your activity is null and void?

But for all those who are faithful and devoted with their time, talent and treasure that doesn’t seem to be appreciated: Matthew 5:11, 12 – “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds’ f evil against you falsely for My sake. (Verse 12) “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

So what happened to the servant who only gave back what he had been given? Verse 24 – “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ So the one who had the most got a bonus!

Do you not know that the more you build up what the Lord has given you, the more He will multiply it? If you never do anything with what He has given, even what you have will be taken away.

Verse 26 – “For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

We don’t get credit for just being a servant! Grace saves us and that’s all of God. We don’t get credit for just being a Christian! We get credit for serving the Master and using the time, talents, and treasures that He has entrusted to us for His glory, to advance His kingdom, for the benefit of others to His glory!

We go through this Christian life with eternity in mind for the main goal, by doing business for the Kingdom of God until His return.

Life and Death – Truth

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Words will cost. One of our rights as Americans is Freedom of Speech, but does that mean I can say anything I want and not have to give an account to God for it? Words are not free. Our words said to another will cost us something. In any relationship, can you say anything you want and it not cost you something? Yes, as Americans we have the freedom of speech, but as a Christian, we belong to a Kingdom that is eternal and we will have to give an account to the words we speak. Just because its legal, is it right? There is a higher law than a government law.

Psalm 41:3 – Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Psalm 39:1 – I said, “I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle.”

Words can also hurt. Some people think that words that hurt are ok if they are just “Kidding.”

Proverbs 26:18, 19 – Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, (verse 19) is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “I was only joking.”

We do that all the time. We put jabs or hints in our comments with evil intent. We’ve all done this at one time or another to someone, but it doesn’t mean its right. The Bible says, “If it came out of our mouth, its because it was in our heart.”

Jesus compared words to fruit on trees and trees have roots, so what is the root growing in my tree, heart, that just produced that fruit or the speech that just came out of my mouth.?

Here’s the only way we can deal with bad words: Repent of them! We ask forgiveness and if bad words have been spoken to you, forgive! When Jesus came to deal with the heart issues, He came to deal with the root.

Words last. The lie is that words evaporate. James said the tongue can start a forest fire. We can verbally beat someone up with our words. We don’t have to win every argument by assaulting and cutting the other person down. We can win the battle, but lose the war. What will be the damage after the battle can last a life time with consequences we didn’t see coming.

Here’s the good news – good words last also.

2 Timothy 1:3 – I remember you in my prayers night and day. Then 2 verses later 1:5 – when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I’m persuaded is in you also.

Timothy is going through a tough time and Paul’s saying, “I’m praying for you.” Paul is telling him that he’s building a monument of your need before God – remembrance. Prayers bring people to the point of placing God in their lives.

Words cost, but they can be an investment in people. Words hurt, but they can also heal!

I’m guilty of letting the guard off my mouth sometimes. I will do better because hurtful things have been said to me and I certainly don’t want to ever make someone feel the way I did when they were spoken to me.

Pride

image-of-spirit-leaving-the-body

As we continue to read the Book of Isaiah, I thought it would be a good time to insert a little teaching on the Spirit of Pride, because you will see that this was a lot of Israel’s problem that brought about God’s judgment.

Do we, as Christians, ever grant Satan permission to come into our lives and take us bondage? Does God ever grant Satan permission to take us bondage in any area?

Keep in mind, Satan is a thief looking for an open door to come through. The number one open door for Satan to enter into a believer’s life is “Pride.” Before you tell yourself you don’t have any pride in any areas, let me give you some areas to reconsider.

#1 – Pride is trusting in your own strength. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Luke 22:31-34 – And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. (32) “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (33) But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” (34) Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.

Even in the New Testament Satan asked to sift Peter, but Jesus let Peter know He had prayed for his faith to not fail. That open door for Peter was in his own strength. We know this by the previous conversation they had, but Luke doesn’t record it. Matthew, Mark, and John, do.

Mark 14:27-31 – Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ (28) “But after I have raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” (verse 29) But Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” (verse 30) And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” (31) But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise.

Jesus even spoke scripture that had already been written and Peter said, “Nope, not me!” And then we see in Matthew 16:21-23 where the garrison of soldiers come to arrest Jesus and Peter tried to split a soldier’s head wide open and ended up cutting his ear off. There’s over a hundred soldiers there and Peter is going to take them all on – trusting in his own strength. Think about it; he was one of the strongest disciples and willing to lose his life to protect Jesus, but yet later on he denies that he even knows Jesus.

Many mature believers fall into this trap: They walk with the Lord for a long time and then begin to trust in their own strength to resist temptation. Is that the reason maybe King David fell into temptation with Bathsheba?

#2 reason we can fall into pride is trusting in our own righteousness. I’m sure you have read the story of Job. Again we read where Satan asks permission: Job 1:6-12 – Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. (7) And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (8) Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (9) So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? (10) “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (11) “But now, stretch our Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (12) So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

So Job loses everything except his hateful wife and wishes he had never been born, but wait, 3 of Job’s friends show up to comfort him. After they say all the things that they think where Job could have possibly sinned, a 4th young man has been sitting there listening and stands up to talk. This next verse says it all. Job 32:1, 2 – So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. (2) Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, aroused because he justified himself rather than God.

Job answers this man in Job 33:9 – I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me. Job is not Jesus, the only one that is without sin or iniquity. Here’s the thing; Job felt he was righteous because of what he did not because of who he knew! All through Job he states what he has done and hasn’t done.

I fell into this when things started to go really bad for me a few years back. And while I was reading and studying Job at the time, my prayers were always, “Lord, I’m tithing, praying, studying, going to church, I, I, I, and I stopped. The Holy Spirit said, “Listen to what you are saying.” That broke me. It was not what I was doing that made me pleasing to God or righteous or even strong, it was what He had done for me.

We are not righteous by what we do, we are righteous by the blood that was shed by Jesus Christ! He took all of our punishment that we deserved and gave us His righteousness. It’s called grace. And then God showed up to speak to Job.

Job 38:2 – “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (verse 4) “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? (5) Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! (6) To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, (verse 12) “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, (verse 22) “Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, (verse 24) By what way is light diffused, (verse 34) Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? (verse 35) Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, 39:26 Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread its wings toward the south?

Then God says this, 40:8 – “Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?”

Please don’t misunderstand; I believe we are to live righteous lives, but what we do does not make us righteous.

And the final thing that can open a door to pride is Trusting in our own wisdom. Do you think you know more than what God’s Word says is right? Can you be corrected? Sitting under ungodly counsel can mess us up. Don’t ever take what the world says to do, over what God’s Word says. Pride is a trap that the strong, the righteous, and those who think they know it all can fall into, when we don’t trust in the Lord for strength, righteousness, and wisdom.

So now, ask yourself, “Is there any area that I have trusted in other than the Lord’s strength, righteousness, and wisdom?” Job repented, just as King David did, and so do I.