READ: Job 29-31
THINK: Some say that with enough faith, you can avoid suffering and escape tough times. But true godly faith isn't displayed by staying on track as you travel down easy street. Rather, the strongest faith is often proven on a path filled with problems and persecution. The fact is that it takes more faith to face and endure tough times than it does to escape them. What's more, God can help you develop the most resilient character through the roughest crisis. It's one thing to show personal integrity, devotion to God and kindness toward others when things go your way. But to maintain discipline, devotion and compassion when you have little or nothing to give or gain-when you treat others justly when you are misjudged-that's when true God-glorifying character shines through.
RESPOND: What desire did Job never lose through his suffering? (See 29:2 note.) What status had he enjoyed before tragedy struck (29:7-11)? Why had Job been so highly regarded (29:12-17)? How do Job's actions toward others challenge and inspire you? How did people treat Job differently after he lost everything (30:1-15)? How can God's silence through tough times actually help you grow spiritually? (See 3:20 note.) In chapter 31, what does Job reaffirm about his own life, his devotion to God, and his behavior toward others? (See 31:1-34 note.) How was Job committed to personal purity, particularly regarding what he looked at? (See 31:1 note.) What personal disciplines will it take for you to maintain this kind of purity? (See 31:1-34 note, subpoint 3, and 31:1 note.) What power do Christ's followers have to help maintain godly character and purity? (See 31:1-34 note, subpoint 2.) What example did Job set for leaders regarding how they treat those with whom they work? (See 31:13 note.) Why did Job treat people this way (31:13-15)? How did Job treat those in need, and how does this challenge you (31:16-20)?
PRAY: Pray for a more intense desire for God's companionship. Ask God to help you share His love with others through acts of generosity and compassion. Pray for strength and discipline to maintain a life of purity and integrity.
ACT: Do all you can today to help others and to show God's love, kindness and generosity to everyone you encounter, including your "enemies." Find a way to show active compassion to someone with a specific need. Make every effort to avoid situations that will likely entice you to think or act in ways that are not pleasing to God.
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