Have I covered my transgressions like Adam by hiding my iniquity in my bosom, because I feared the great multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, and kept silent and did not go out of doors? —Job 31:33-34
One of the central themes, and struggles, of our Christian faith is how to live out the truth of Scripture. I mean not just what we believe but also how we act. I heard a pastor on the radio today call it Theology Applied. Like what the Apostle James said, we show our faith when we work it out; otherwise our faith is just empty talk (James 2:26).
When we practice our faith, it strengthens us and demonstrates the truth of the Gospel we are saved by. But it’s hard. In our verse, Job is defending himself against the accusation that he succumbed to peer pressure and didn’t help others. It challenges me to remember I have to do that too, for the sake of my love for Christ.
As much as I’m trying to figure out how to do this, I’m also trying to teach it to my kids. They are nine-going-on-10 and seven. They both proclaim belief in Jesus. So, when they share things that happen to them, I pray for a way to tie it back to Who Jesus is and what He would want them to do. A lot of times that means going against what is normal.
Last year, my older daughter was in third grade. She told me after school one day about a little boy in another class that didn’t say much.
Apparently, he is very short. I don’t know if he just hadn’t caught up with his classmates or if he has a physical handicap; either way, she didn’t think he had any friends. It was clear God placed him before her for a reason and I told her that. I asked her if she knew his name. She didn’t, so I tasked her with finding it out and saying “Hi” to him at recess.
It took a while; so, I kept asking her about it. When she found out his name and greeted him, she discovered he did have friends – one in particular was a very tall boy. (Kind of a funny picture there). She felt better and learned it wasn’t that hard to go out on a limb for another.
This may not be the most significant object lesson. It wasn’t building a well, or a house or feeding the homeless. Nor do I share it to make myself look like a godly mother. For both of us – it was working out our faith muscles. I wanted her to get out of her comfort zone, her usual circle of friends, to engage with someone a little different. That’s where I find the Lord – when I get out of my usual routine. When we step out in faith, it doesn’t just change the person we seek to help, it changes us too; a double blessing.
I hope to remind her of all of this when she gets a little older and it gets scary to go against the crowd. As she grows, the cost gets higher too.
That is where a lot of us are. We feel there is too much at stake to go out on a limb. We would never say we are afraid, but we are. The only cure is to do what my daughter did and go for it, as many times as it takes. With this in mind, I want to remind her (and you) to just do what she did before: be sweet and reach out.
That’s the secret to ministry, to showing people who Jesus is. The hurt of this world can be defeated by a kind heart reaching out with open hands.
We have to get out of our comfort zone for a second, stop worrying about what people might think and jump into love. Then we will be able to say like Job we are blameless in the Lord’s sight because we are living like His Son.
How can you go against the comfort of your day to reach out to someone in Jesus’ Name?
Holy God – I seek to please You. Help me to have an opportunity to work out my faith in You that will bless someone else. Show me how to love mercy, seek justice and walk humbly with You. Give me the eyes to see the chance to love on someone in Jesus’ Name and give me the courage to act. Always in His Name, I pray. Amen.
Further Reading: Exodus 23:2, 2 Chronicles 32:18, Micah 6:8