The core of religion is self
- I want to be blessed and to reach utopia - eternal happiness.
- Then comes the set of rules where I can follow to get blessings.
- I follow the rules to make life work, to ward off danger and to preserve my eternal life.
- Doing the right thing and getting thing right is the main activity.
Religion is really the mixing up of priority - Putting ourselves ahead of God.Success in religion is measured by the 'blessings' or 'enlightenment' one has.
- It leads to pride if one thinks he has succeeded and
- to depression if he thinks he has failed.
- If things go wrong, one's first reaction is usually - "What do I need to do to get it right?".
With such mentality, it is no wonder we can't fully understand the Book of Job.
More specifically, each of us have to answer this key question "- "Is our love of God greater than our materials blessings?". It is similar to our denying of self to gain Christ. i.e. For the sake of seeking Christ I am willing to give up everything. Mat 16:24-26, Php 3:8.
The Story of Job
Job's friend attributed Job's lost of wealth and his sickness to his sins. Their theology is "God punishes the sinners". Job must have sinned against God to get these punishment. Job, with same thinking framework, argued that he did not sin and challenged God for a fair hearing. Job accused God of punishing him without cause. God turning a blind eyes on the injustice. Evil people are not punished immediately.
God shows His glory and wisdom that resulted in Job realizing his brokenness and acknowledgment of his need of God. Job 42:5 "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Job 42:6 Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes."
Our love for Christ will be strengthended through testing, just like Job. We may be broken to give up on ourselves and to desire Christ more. Our brokenness leads us to yield to Christ, to be freed, and to taste His power. i.e. 2 Cor 12:10b when I am weak than I am strong and Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. . (see Larry Crabb's Soultalk too for more details)
Stage 4 Love Christ no matter what. Putting our lives fully into Christ's hand and let Him do whatever He like.