Job 1, 2 Matthew 7
Gordon MacDonald wrote an article in the spring issue of the Leadership Journal entitled “Going Deep” in which he encourages us to develop deep people in our congregations. Deep people? What makes a person deep? Perhaps your perspective of a deep person might fall into the category of the bookish, the reclusive, and the introspective. Or one might think that it would take deep sermons to produce deep people. Not so, asserts MacDonald, and then he proceeds to list three things: emulation, information, and examination. In other words, we need models for the Christ life who will take time to teach, and then be there when life is tested.
Today’s passage introduces us to a really deep person–Job. God had so much faith in his depth that He agreed to allow even Satan to design the exam. In these first two chapters we see Job’s life change from extreme blessing to extreme loss. In one day, he loses everything he owns, and then he loses all his children. There was only one thing left to lose—his health. And that, too, was tested.
Was Job’s faith deep enough to withstand life’s storms? Even his wife suggested that he curse God and die. The conclusion? Yes! “In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”
Jesus challenges us in Matthew 7:1-5 with specific information which if we demonstrate in our lives, others will want to emulate:
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. (The Message)
This is but a morsel of what Jesus has to say in this chapter. If we as the Body of Christ could find strict adherence to these words alone, what might be the positive affect on our mission to save our world!
The chapter goes on to teach us how to pray, how to discern the narrow and the wide gates, how to be effective fruit bearers. The final word describes the difference between a wise and a foolish builder.
Nearly sixty years of knowing Jesus has not been without its challenges. Remaining within me after these years is a clear desire to deepen my skills in obeying Jesus. The curriculum is before us. Let’s grow together through this year into a deeper relationship with Christ than we have ever known.