Life – a Battle Ground
The Battle in the heart and mind
The worst battle that we face is often the battle inside of our heart and mind.
When life becomes a major struggle (as Job’s life did) it challenges our emotional and Spiritual equilibrium. The intense struggle and the uncertainty and the lack of control force us to depend on God.
That is part of God’s plan; to break us from dependence on self and man and depend solely and totally on God. If we will do that, peace is there for us. If we do not do that, depression, discouragement and disillusionment can set in and we get into a downward spiral.
Struggle also forces us to introspection as we allow God to “search me and know me.” This is counter intuitive. Struggle and problems make us feel exposed. Allowing, even asking God to search and know us exposes us more. It is in the refinement of the fires of affliction that we become the gold of which Job spoke.
We can trust the potter to make of our clay what will most bless Him and us. As Job contemplated his total change of fortunes, he deplored the day of his birth. He despaired of life. However, upon hearing the accusations of his “friends” he was forced to evaluate his life in the light of God.
“To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty” Job 6:14. Job noted the desperate need of afflicted people to have kind friends when they begin to doubt. In the absence of this kindness, we need to go to God with open hearts and lives to know what is in our heart and where we stand with God.
Job realizes that God speaks to him also and he does not need to accept the assessment of his “friends.” Job begins to realize that it is God’s assessment of his life that is important and he does not need to accept wrong thinking. The key to this understanding of course is to allow God into all recesses of the heart so that there can be nothing hidden and so God has free course to evaluate life.
“My face is flushed from weeping, And on my eyelids is the shadow of death;
Although no violence is in my hands, And my prayer is pure” Job 16:16-17. In the face of intense pain, Job honestly looked into his own heart and saw that he was right with God. “The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you” Job 17:9-10. Job had clean hands and he knew it. He also knew that his “friends” were not wise.
This is a dismaying situation. To know that your detractors are not wise means that you have to stand alone with God. Just when you need real friends, you discover that your “friends” are not wise and cannot give you wise counsel. Not only have they not given wise counsel but their counsel is actually wrong. “How long will you torment my soul, And break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have reproached me; You are not ashamed that you have wronged me” Job 19:2-3.
At these times we need the reassurance of God’s favor. We need to search our heart for the assurance that we have been obedient to God and are continually feasting on His words. “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” Job 23:12.
It is crucial that we maintain integrity and not allow false accusations to implicate us and create doubt in our heart. “Far be it from me That I should say you are right; Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; My heart shall not reproach me as long as I live” Job 27:5-6. Do not allow wrong assessments to determine your self-assessment and God’s assessment.
How can we maintain a healthy approach to life amid the times of testing? Where can wisdom be found? “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding” Job 28:28. If we will do that, we can have the confidence that God will be faithful in giving us wisdom and understanding.
The battle in the heart and mind are won by obedience and the fear of the Lord. Wisdom and understanding bring healing to life. That healing brings emotional and Spiritual stability and maturity.