September 22

Job 31:24-25, 28 (NIV) 24"If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, 'You are my security,' 25if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained,

28then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.

Job continued his defense before his friends. He told how he always helped the needy and took good care of his workers. He said that he was consistent to do those things because he had a fear of God. He knew God required it of him, and that he would be judged if he did not. As we look at Job's defense, few of us can say that our lives come anywhere close to Job's. Yet, the real standard is not Job but Jesus Christ. Thank God for sending His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins.

In the passage today, Job says that he did not trust in his great wealth. Jesus told us it was very hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. Job seems to have been one of the few who could be trusted with wealth but not rely on it for security. He recognized that provision came from God. Though he labors to earn income, God is the Provider. How many of us can be just as secure when our bank accounts are bottoming out as when they are bulging? That can only come when we see God is our security regardless of how much we possess.

He did not even rejoice over his wealth. It is one thing to be thankful and another to find joy in something. Our joy should always be the presence of God in our lives. When wealth becomes our reason for rejoicing we are turning it into an idol that takes God's place. Job said that both trusting in wealth for security and finding your joy in wealth were both sins to be judged. Both are unfaithfulness to God.

Dear reader, pause and consider if wealth has taken God's place in your heart as the reason you rejoice. Let us guard our hearts so that we are not seduced by wealth to worship another god. In this passage, he groups this sin with worship of the sun and moon, other gods. If you have fallen in this area of making wealth a god, confess your sin, and put God back in His rightful place in your heart. See that He alone is your security and your greatest joy.

September 22

Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV) 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

In Paul's letter to the Galatians, he was encouraging them to walk in the Spirit. Other teachers were trying to get them to follow formulas and rules. The problem with that is that you can keep good rules with an evil heart. Obedience to the Spirit causes us to confront the areas of our hearts that are not surrendered to His love.

Since obeying the Spirit is not something that can be put in a box and formulated, Paul had to define what it looked like in some way. Anyone can say they are led of the Spirit, when in fact, they are just doing what they desire. So, what does obedience to the Spirit look like? How can we tell that we are not deceiving ourselves?

First, Paul listed what the works of our old nature look like. Then he listed the product, fruit, of the Spirit. Notice the word is singular. The work of the Spirit in us produces all the qualities mentioned together, not individually. If one is missing there is something of the flesh entering in. If I possess and express love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, I am walking in the Spirit. In the Spirit I would not be acting against God's righteousness. Therefore I am doing what God requires. But, if one of those qualities is missing, it is a warning to me that the flesh is interfering with the Spirit's reign in me.

Those who have given themselves to Jesus as a living sacrifice have identified with Jesus in His crucifixion. They have placed their sinful nature on the cross with Him. They consider that old nature judged and finished. It may struggle in death throws. I may revert, without thinking, to an old way of acting, but my heart has been changed. I don't desire those things. The rearing of its ugly head just makes me aware of an area I then readily submit to my new Master, Christ.

Consider: Are you a new creation?