Job is the most popular example of affliction discussed by the church world. The Book of Job is solely dedicated to the severe tribulation of a man who seemingly did nothing wrong. Many of us feel we are not deserving of our current affliction, so Job becomes our favorite example for surviving while in pain. In doing this we miss a very important message God is communicating to the church.
It can be hard for us to identify with Daniel, Paul, and other perfect examples who suffered for righteousness sake. These examples are great in giving us hope of where we can be if we allow His grace to operate in our life. These righteous examples reveal to us the finishing line of the race we are now running. They show God’s maturing process ending in manifesting purity and righteousness. These men represent to us: if we walk in Him, we will show the world Jesus.
I CORINTHIANS 1:30 – But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who be-came to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.
We will show the world spiritual attributes, springing from the life we received from abiding in Jesus. Yet, many of us identify more with the examples of Peter and David than those who walked as Daniel. Why is this? Because Peter and David failed in many areas but God held out His hand to restore them to faith. This is where most of us are now! We will examine another Bible example; however, this example falls short but ends in restoration. Job presents to us a message for where we are today.
I avoided reading and studying Job for years. This was partly because it is a difficult book to understand, and due to the many erroneous teachings relating to it. For many, Job has become a religious icon allowing unbelief to propagate. To teach contrary to this popular Job teaching is a difficult task; nevertheless, in God’s timing those who are pressing into His Inner Courts receive His truth.
God spoke to my heart strongly one day saying, “read Job”; I instantly knew it was God (many times you realize it was God only after you see the result). That day the Holy Spirit taught me the book of Job in a way I never saw. I was changed—I received a revelation concerning affliction that adds much to the Temple Builders message.
Does understanding all these types of affliction make it easy for you? Yes and no. Affliction hurts just as bad when you know the ways of God than if you know none of His ways. Why do we teach it? To learn not to waste our afflictions. When afflicted, if you remain unchanged, you suffer needlessly, learning little. Understanding God’s ways is important so that you can mature as you receive pain. When you learn the lesson, you grow spiritually. When you stay puzzled, you waste that affliction.
Many times God designs affliction to challenge you to a duel—a duel with Him—a wrestling of wills. This is a duel—to win—you must lose. Those of little under-standing of the ways of God never show up for the duel.
There is a caution: We think, after learning these teachings, we can glide through trials and afflictions. Not at all, we all act as babies most of the time when truly afflicted by God. Those who make themselves above this type of conduct are in actuality hiding it.
God is after our first response to affliction; He wants us perfect in the initial response. Unless you have categorically died to self, your first response will be failure. This is normal; this is what God expected. As a mirror, those who understand the ways of God now see what they look like and deal with it, that is, unless something remains that prevents them from dealing with it, such as self-righteousness.
An excerpt from “Temple Builders: The High Calling”
John Robert Lucas