Try this. Do that. You’d benefit from this.
We get advice all the time in our daily lives. It comes at us from all angles— friends, family members, spouses or significant others, neighbors, co-workers or bosses. How do you decide who to listen to and who to ignore? Doesn’t it come down to trust? If we trust them, we’ll probably listen to their advice. If we don’t trust them, we’ll probably ignore them!
In times of stress, we often look to the people we trust for guidance, and that’s what happens in our devotional reading this week. Last week, we read about all the troubles that rapidly hit Job. In chapters 4-14, Job turned to his three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar). He needed comfort. He needed guidance. He needed advice.
Unfortunately, his friends failed him in his time of need. Eliphaz’s advice was “Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?” (Job 4:6). Bildad told Job, “If you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place” (8:6). And Zophar said, “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame” (11:13-15). Do you hear what they’re telling Job? You did something wrong, Job. God is punishing you, Job. It’s up to you to fix it, Job. DO this, Job.
Job had no comfort from their advice. In fact, he was frustrated. “Do I have any power to help myself…A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends…But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow” (6:13-15).
We hear similar religious advice today. If you accept God in your heart then you can be saved. If you’re a good person, then you’ll go to heaven. Do more good than bad and God will reward you. But where’s the comfort in that!? Have I done enough ? Am I good enough? Our sinful nature nags us and points out our sins. Like Job, we ask, “Do I have any power to help myself?”
Thankfully, it’s not about what we DO. It’s about what God’s DONE. Jesus lived the life we couldn’t live. Jesus endured the punishment we deserved. Jesus rose from the dead. Because of what Jesus did to take away our sins, we have the comfort of eternal life! We don’t have to wonder if we’ve done enough. We don’t have to wonder if we’ve been good enough. Jesus did enough for us and IS good enough for us!
Despite the bad advice from his friends, Job could still say, “My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin” (14:17). He clung to the promise of the Savior. (Gen. 3:15, Gen. 12:3)
Hopefully, your friends give better advice than Job’s friends. If you’re in the need of a Spiritual pick-me-up, I hope you have friends that guide you to God’s truth. Friends who highlight what God’s DONE for you— not what you need to DO for God. That’s the advice we ALL need to hear .
Lord’s blessings on the rest of your week!