Summary: To be a holy person means that you will have trials, hardship, and suffering in life.
“Have a nice day!”
That’s a classic Americanism and statement one hears a lot in my home state of California. Usually, people do not mean it when they say it. After you complete a purchase, you hear, “Thank you, and have a nice day. Buh-bye.” Or even worse, when you try to return something and they refuse you, then say “Have a nice day.”
What is a “nice day” anyway? I guess it would be a day that is, well . . . nice! Presumably that would be a day free from sickness, conflict, and hardship.
God is sometimes portrayed as a Santa Claus figure that just wants you to be happy. He wants you wealthy, healthy, fat, and sassy. We can almost hear Him thundering from Sinai, “Have a nice day!”
Now, I am not suggesting God cannot or will not bless you with health, or even wealth. Nor am I suggesting that God will not bring happiness into your life, for He will. But that is not God’s primary objective. God wants to make you holy more than He wants to make you happy.
God’s objective is to be glorified in your life and make you like Jesus Christ. And your objective should be to be like Jesus Christ and glorify Him. But the good news is that happiness will follow holiness.
To be a holy person means that you will have trials, hardship, and suffering in life. Some would suggest that if you suffer, it is because you are living in sin. Or they would suggest that it is a direct result of wrong that you have done. Or, if you just had more faith it would not be happening to you. These wrong ideas about suffering are not new. In fact they are in the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job.
A Quick Review
In Part 1 of this message, we met a man named Job who suffered. He lived in the land of Uz (not Oz). This is not a fictional story; this is a story of real people with real problems who turned to a real God.
Job was a man of integrity. He also was a wealthy man, a family man, and a prayerful man. The Lord had really blessed Job and his family and he was indeed a man of God.
We were also introduced to Satan in Job chapter 1. We saw that he goes back and forth across the earth, watching everything that’s going on. This suggests activity, action, a restlessness. The devil is just looking for trouble, for lives to ruin, for saints to stumble.
Meanwhile, up in heaven, God was bragging on His faithful servant. “Then the Lord asked Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth . . . a man of complete integrity. He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil’” (Job 1:8).
Satan challenged this claim by God, suggesting that Job feared God for what he got out of it instead of genuine love for the Lord. The devil was allowed to bring a series of calamities on poor old Job. In one day, Job’s possessions were all effectively lost. But worst of all, a powerful wind blew in where Job’s children were. The house collapsed and all of his children died. Seven sons and three daughters gone!
So, how did Job fare under this test Satan said he would collapse under? He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21).
No wonder God bragged on Job. What faith! Not only did Job not curse God, but he worshipped Him as well. But from the devil’s perspective, this party was just getting started.
More Suffering for Job
Read Job 2:1–10
“One day the members of the heavenly court came again to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. ‘Where have you come from?’ the Lord asked Satan. Satan answered the Lord, ‘I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.’ Then the Lord asked Satan, ‘Have you noticed My servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged Me to harm him without cause.’ Satan replied to the Lord, ‘Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ ‘All right, do with him as you please,’ the Lord said to Satan. ‘But spare his life.’ So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot. Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, ‘Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But Job replied, ‘You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.”