Leaving Ourselves Alone
By David A. DePra
This is a transcription of the sermon entitled, “Leaving Ourselves Alone” by David A DePra. This message is Part 7 of 8 on the Book of Job.
For the audio message download click here: 674-mp3
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Editing has been done for clarity in putting audio into text form.
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Today I want to turn back again to the Book of Job. Today we are going to begin in chapter 42. The title for today is going to be, “Leaving Ourselves Alone”.
In chapter 42, we are going to find that God brought Job, despite all of his suffering -- and even though that suffering was still continuing -- to the place where he was able to leave himself alone into the hands of God. I want to look at that today to discover how that is possible, why it is necessary, and what the outcome of that will be.
Now, before I read this passage in Job 42 -- where it speaks of Job leaving himself alone -- I want to give just a refresher as to what has happened as a build-up to this. It is important to get this build-up or we won’t catch the real significance of Job’s choice to leave himself alone.
God’s Revelation of Himself
God, beginning in chapter 38, began to reveal Himself to Job. What God revealed of Himself to Job was, first of all, that God was bigger and more eternal -- greater and gloriously more wonderful -- than Job could ever have imagined.
Now, that is the understatement of the century. But when God begins to reveal Himself to us this is what we are going to see. We are NOT going to see a God who is SMALLER than our understanding. We are going to see One who is far beyond anything we could understand. And for this, I am grateful. I don’t know about you, but I am very grateful that God is a lot BIGGER than my mind — that God is a lot BIGGER than my understanding — a lot BIGGER than the, “boxes,” I put Him in. Now, He is fully in keeping with scripture -- but even scripture tells us that God is a lot bigger than our understanding. If God was no bigger than our understanding of Him, well, then God help us.
So, when God revealed Himself to Job, what He revealed was simply the TRUTH -- and that TRUTH is that God is greater and more wonderful than our capacity in this age will ever be to fully grasp. Now, we must not misunderstand. Despite the fact that God is greater than our capacity to understand Him will ever be, this does not mean that God is not going to reveal Himself to us in this age -- to the extent that it serves His purpose -- and according to what we can take. It is possible for us to have an incredible revelation of God in this age -- and He HAS promised to guide us into all Truth. God has clearly stated that it is His desire that we have a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Himself. (Eph. 1:16)
So God has promised to reveal Himself to us. We can have a great revelation of God in this age. But how many understand that EVEN THIS pales into insignificance -- in the light of who and what God almighty IS?
God today is speaking to us -- revealing Himself to us -- in His Son. One of the reasons Jesus came was to reveal the Father. But we do not have the time, nor the capacity, for a full revelation of God in this age. Yet when we are released into the eternal ages -- at the resurrection -- this hope will then be realized because we won’t be hindered by the natural, or by anything else of this age. And so, this is in our future.
But God, in THIS age is always going to be eternally bigger than our understanding. Frankly, unless we see this fact about God -- unless we have caught a small glimpse of the fact that God is eternally bigger than our understanding -- I question whether we really have seen Him at all. This is the TRUTH about Him -- and if we are going to see the Truth -- this is what we are going to see. And so, this is the God that Job began to see: A God who could not be contained within arguments.
Things Too Wonderful
When God spoke to Job, He did say that Job had, “spoken rightly of Him” -- unlike Job’s friends. They had NOT spoken rightly of God. But how many know that we could do the same as Job -- speak 100% Truth about God – and yet perhaps we are only speaking 1% OF the full Truth of God. I would dare say that this is the case with all of us. If any of us get to the place where ALL we speak is Truth -- praise God for that. But this does not mean that we know ALL truth. It is just that we are speaking the Truth that we DO know. God is infinitely bigger than anything you or I could imagine -- and in a good way. Job began to see this fact.
In Job 42, Job begins to realize a great Truth. We begin to get a hint of it in verse 3. He says, in the latter part of that verse: “I have uttered what I understood not”. Now, what Job DID utter was correct -- again, God said, “My servant, Job, has spoken RIGHTLY of Me”. But Job, despite uttering what was correct, is admitting here that he did not truly understand just HOW correct it was. He did not grasp the full meaning of his own words. You and I can say, “God is love, God is the God of all grace, God is righteous” -- and if we do -- then yes, we ARE speaking true words. But I have to believe that if we would actually see God Himself, and our eyes were opened to Him, that we would also say, “I said the right words -- but I uttered what I understood not.” As Job said here we would have to day, “These things I uttered were too wonderful for me -- which I really did not know -- even though I thought I did.”
Isn't it a fact that when we get a new and fresh revelation of the Person of Jesus Christ that it often makes us realize that even though we may have believed or taught correctly for years, that what we believed, spoke, and even taught, was shallow in comparison to HIM? Now all of this is really a good thing. It certainly was a good thing that Job began to see that God was way bigger than all of his arguments, all of his reasonings, all of his thinking, and all of his teaching.
And so, this is one thing that seeing God did in Job. It brought him to the place where he saw the greatness of God -- a greatness that was far beyond anything he could have anticipated or expected. Job saw that yes, he had spoken rightly of God -- but he had spoken things too wonderful for him. His words could not do God justice.
Job saw God. How many realize that we don't realize how blind we are until we at least BEGIN to see? If you have never had spiritual sight, you don't know you are blind. You may even think you can see. Thus, often the first thing God must do is show you that you are blind. Then you can seek God for sight.
If you read the book of Job it appears that at the start Job didn't know that he was blind, indeed, he thought he could see. After all, he believed many right facts about God -- and had rightly and correctly spoken those facts about God. But Job was slowly being brought to the place of a new realization -- Job was beginning to SEE. The first thing he saw was that he had been blind. That is ironic but true -- Job had to see that he had never seen!
I am going to read verses 5 and 6 -- this is the point where Job's eyes are opened to God Himself. Job says in verse 5: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye SEES You.”
God's purpose in this horrible trial, suffering, and ordeal with Job is arrived at right here in this verse 5. God wanted to bring Job to the place where Job’s life consisted of more than just teachings ABOUT God; where Job’s life consisted of more than just thinking, and living, and jumping through religious hoops. God wanted to bring him to the place, through trial -- which is the only way we can come -- to where Job actually SAW God. And Job 42:5 tells us that God had accomplished His purpose.
So Job saw the greatness of God. He saw God wasn't a teaching. Neither is a relationship with God, "on paper." God is a Living Person who may be rightly represented in teaching, but cannot be fully contained in mere words. There is always going to be eternally more of God and His Son than we will ever fully grasp.
In verse 6, we see this second thing which seeing God made possible for Job to see. Job says in verse 6, “Wherefore, I abhor myself, and I repent in dust and ashes”.
So SEEING GOD likewise opened Job's eyes to HIMSELF. And what Job saw was not pretty. Why was it necessary for God to expose Job in this way -- even though it was to Job alone? Because it was the Truth. Job had to see himself so that he would finally realize that his only hope was to stop fussing with himself -- and to leave himself alone into the hands of God.
So seeing God -- and all else that is illuminated -- was the very purpose of God in this entire ordeal from the beginning. It is likewise the purpose God has for us -- that we might know Him in His Son -- that we might have Christ revealed in us, formed in us -- that we might be brought to an inward realization of Jesus – and thus, to come to be His witnesses; come to be living evidence of the Christ. This is God’s purpose. It was His purpose for Job, and it is His purpose for His people today -- and He MUST accomplish this through suffering. We talked at length in Part 1 about this when we talked about the purpose of God in suffering.
The Greatness of God and Barrenness of Man
And so, this is the place to which God brings His people through suffering: To where we see God. But again -- as we just read -- two things come to the forefront as a result of seeing God. Number 1: Because we see Him, we have a new appreciation -- we have a new discernment and realization of His greatness and His glory -- which drives us to our knees in worship. Number 2: Going hand in hand with this we also see that there is nothing in us of value whatsoever. We are exposed for what WE are -- once God is exposed to us for WHO HE IS. Thus, Job saw GOD. But alongside of that, he saw HIMSELF. This is what happens when you see God.
From all of this, we can arrive at a principle that cannot be understated. It is a fact -- it is a Truth -- which we find all through scripture. This fact is this: The ONLY place that God is ever going to bring any of us, indeed the ONLY place we could ever arrive if we see Jesus Christ -- and thus see the Truth -- is exactly this same place as He brought Job. We are going to see the greatness of GOD and we are going to see the barrenness and reprobate condition of MAN.
But again -- why are we going to see these things? Because they are the TRUTH. Note that this is not something that God is, “demanding,” that we admit as part of some mechanical religious principle. He’s not saying, “Hereby I command that you declare yourself a reprobate, and abhor yourself, and repent in dust and ashes”. Then, should we ask God, “Why?” -- what do you think He would say to us? “Well, because, you know it will make Me happy?” Or, “Because I want to keep you down?” Or, “Because it’s religious, and it will keep you in line, and keep you humble?” How many understand the absurdity of such thinking? No. God reveals ONLY the Truth. And when we see God; see Jesus Christ -- we are going to see these Truths as the result.
This sounds absurd -- and yet people do this: People will confess sin -- they will say that they abhor themselves, and that they are reprobates without Christ -- but they are just doing it to be religious. They are just doing it because they read in the Bible that we’re supposed to, “repent” -- and it all gets turned into some kind of a religious law to follow. But this is not the result of seeing God. It is the result of practicing religion. It is the self-imposed humility that a verse in Colossians describes and warns against. (Col. 2:18)
There are certain things that you and I can fake really well religiously -- and when I say that, I am not inferring that most of us necessarily realize what we are doing. But religiously, many Christians have a lot of, “learned behavior.” We act the way we think we are supposed to act if we want to be a real and faithful Christian -- but it is all outward. It may not be based in Christ at all. We can see this sort of thing everywhere. People do what everyone else does -- or we do what teaching, and our own nature, has told us, “will keep us humble.” We do it and we think that it is right to do it. People act like they have come to repentance. Of course, with this kind of fake religion comes a whole bunch of laws and rules which people attach -- which are said to be things which you need to do to STAY humble, or that you will keep if you ARE humble and truly repentant.
For example, look at all the ritual that people have built into Christianity in the form of fasting and self-denial -- like the Roman Catholics used to have – like the requirement that you, “give something up,” for Lent. Growing up, we used to, “give up,” candy for Lent. Of course, as kids, we didn’t connect the dots as far as thinking that this, “kept us humble.” But behind it was a supposed expression of contrition. How about, “going to confession,” as a Catholic? You dip your fingers into the holy water, make the sign of the cross, and then go into the confessional and jump through the hoops telling the priest your sins. People do this and they are sincere in doing it. Their faith is IN IT.
Likewise, in the Protestant denominations, you have things like, “submission to authority” – cults have been built upon it. The Shepherding Movement of the 1970’s taught that heresy -- as did Bill Gothard -- who is a legalistic heretic. People by the tens of thousands followed these false teachings -- and today they still do in many cases -- thinking that the way in which you will be kept humble, be humble, show God that you are humble, is by handing yourself over to an authority. They call that, “submission.” But submission to any authority never kept you humble, or made you humble at all. But people teach that it will. And there is nothing you can say to them. They refuse to listen.
I could go on and on about religiosity, and the religious hoops that people jump through – to try to prove to God that they are humble. My point is this, if you see Jesus Christ, you WILL be humble. You WILL. It is not possible to see Jesus Christ and fail to be brought to your knees -- it is not possible -- if you see the One who said, “I am the Light,” not to see His greatness. You will see HIS greatness -- but that same indiscriminate light will likewise expose all -- and make it impossible not to see yourself as YOU are. You will see yourself as Job did, and realize there is nothing in yourself whatsoever that can commend you to God. You will see that there is nothing in you of life.
Of course, it is also possible to CLOSE your eyes and refuse to see. But that is not the subject at hand. We are talking about those who are seeking God and who want to see. We are talking about those whose eyes God is opening to the Truth.
Now, as I noted, seeing the greatness of God, and the depravity of ourselves, is the ONLY place Truth will bring us. So much else that God wants us to see will be built upon each. And God has not left this miracle of sight in OUR hands. No. Jesus promised that the Spirit, His Spirit, would guide us into all Truth. And this is the ONLY Truth there is. There is no other Truth and there is no other Christianity. There is no other place God is going to bring us. Thus, if we are in another place, we either need to go on to get to the right place in Christ, or we are just simply in error.
Jesus Christ is All
Today, Christians everywhere are being fed the heresy that suggests that Jesus Christ came to bring out our greatness. Many say that Adam's sin bottled up man's great potential, and Jesus died to release it. When you look around Christianity today, you can see all manner of religion in the guise of Christianity -- suggesting exactly that -- that it is God’s will to take our natural man and bring out our greatness. Christian people in many places today, though they may not realize what they are doing -- have turned Jesus Christ into nothing more than an ADJUNCT. Jesus is made to be a adjunct power that God has given to bring out OUR full potential. Jesus becomes an enhancement TO humanity so that WE can be brought into OUR full potential.
This is right out of Satan's handbook for destroying the purpose of God. It is antichrist. But again -- this kind of deception is so normalized today that to suggest otherwise will make you more enemies than it will make you friends.
It should be more than obvious that those who are deceived don't know they are deceived. To be blind but not know it is truly deception. Some of such folks are not fully to blame -- they just don't know Truth, and maybe error is all they have known. But others are to blame. They had light and closed their eyes. Their deception is self-inflicted. But even with these folks, many have so hardened their heart, and given themselves over to deception, that they no longer even consider that they could be deceived. They are at one with the darkness that binds them.
Such deception will always redefine Bible terms. People will use all the right Bible verses -- they will teach, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” They will teach that you need to come under the cross, and that you need to come into the knowledge of Jesus -- but they will redefine this in a way that will enhance natural man. Everything is redefined so as to serve the old man in Adam. People have taken the Bible and they have turned it into nothing more than a handbook for SELF-HELP that tells us how to fix ourselves up, make ourselves happy, and bring out our full potential. It’s a lie. This is not what God is doing -- and it is not where seeing Jesus Christ will bring us.
Right here, of course, is a good place to quote again Matthew 16, where Jesus said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Me”. Now that is a denial -- not of self in the sense of, “giving up candy for Lent” -- or of thinking that you can never enjoy anything, have any relationships, or ever be happy. It is a denial of self-ownership. It’s a denial of yourself as being your own lord. It is a denial of yourself as the center of the universe. This is the self-denial that Jesus is talking about. But today, rather than teach people they must lose their lives into the hands of Christ, many are teaching that Christ came to give us our natural lives -- many teach that Christ came to give us the very life that He tells us we must lose. What could be more contrary to the purpose of God?
Jesus said that the ONLY WAY to come after Him is to pick up your cross daily and follow Him. Right away, how many see that the ONLY WAY to follow Jesus, the only place to which you and I can be brought, is to the place where we lose our lives into His hands? He said, “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and pick up his cross, because whoever will lose his life for My sake will find true life in Me." That could not be more clear."
Now, note again the words: “If any man would come after Me…”. The CROSS is the ONLY place where following Jesus will lead us -- and if we are not in that place, or at least headed in that direction, we are in error and not in the Truth -- and we are NOT following Jesus. It isn’t maybe. It isn’t perhaps. It is a fact -- and the only Truth there is. We need to come to terms with this. This is what God is doing and it is all he is doing.
Walking According to the Flesh
And so Jesus said, “Lose your natural soul life into My hands. Don’t make it something that governs you. Don’t allow that -- surrender it under the work of the cross.” I said last week that there are a lot of Christians today who think that they are walking by the Spirit, but in fact, they are, “walking according to the flesh.” When we understand that, “to walk according to the flesh,” is to walk according to ME, then things become more clear as to what it really means, “to walk according to the flesh.” “To walk according to the flesh,” could be as subtle as walking according to my SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS -- religiously. “To walk according to the flesh,” would also be to walk according to my emotions -- and to think that it is God -- that is also walking according to ME -- my emotions. It would also be to simply walk according to my own brain power and understanding -- instead of by faith. To walk according to me would be to allow myself to be deceived by my own bias, my own desires, my own ambition -- but to nevertheless say that God is leading me.
How many see -- when you really look at this -- what it truly means to walk according to ME? When you do see it, you will have to come to terms with the fact that most of us have done a lot of that. We’ve done a lot of it -- and some of us have thought that doing these things was a walk according to the Spirit. There are folks, and I think we are all guilty of this at one point or another -- hopefully getting free -- who think that whatever they FEEL about something is the way GOD feels about it. They think it is the Holy Spirit in them MAKING THEM feel that way. You hear phrases, “I feel in my spirit…,” or "God spoke to me this or that…” But if you have not seen Jesus, how can you know what is the Truth? What in the world do you have to work with in those things? You have YOU -- and you can see (all around the church) the result of that blindness to Jesus Christ. Thank God for His mercy in setting us free from such nonsense.
The Essential of Losing Ourselves to Christ
Again -- Jesus said, “Whoever would save His life for himself would lose it. But whoever would lose His life for My sake will find it.” Now, we are going to see today that included in, "losing your life," to the Lord is the primary fact that we need to LEAVE OURSELVES ALONE. If you leave yourself alone -- this is a big component of losing your life. If you are not leaving yourself alone -- you haven’t lost your life. We are going to see that.
Now, I do understand that it is difficult for some folks to understand exactly what it means to LOSE YOUR LIFE to Christ. You can explain that it means to abandon yourself to Him; to deny self-ownership -- but when everything is said and done, God Himself has to open our eyes to this Truth. He has to not only show us what it means, but He has to bring us into the experience. That is what He had to do with Job, and it is what He must do with us. And as I've been saying, regardless of HOW He gets us there you and I must come to the place where we not only see the greatness of Jesus Christ -- but to where we see our hopeless condition. If we still think there is something to salvage in ourselves; something in which to put faith -- then we may know the teaching and say the right words, but we will not lose ourselves and leave ourselves alone to Christ. Instead, we will still think this is something to DO, or a condition of mind or emotion that we must maintain, or something else. No. I will leave myself alone -- lose myself to Jesus unconditionally -- only if I at least begin to see that there is nothing I can do about myself. Then I will cry for deliverance. And as I most often say, there is one thing we can do right now to commit to losing ourselves to Christ: We can ask Him to do whatever it takes to bring us into this reality. How many see that this commitment in itself is a losing of yourself to Christ -- an unconditional abandonment to Him?
This is Truth that is front and center in the purpose of God has revealed in the Bible. But as noted earlier, much error in the Christian church suggests that Jesus Christ came to enhance us, or maybe to bless our lives and make us happy -- and scripture is quoted to prove it. Well, God does want to bless us -- yet only in Christ. The only life God will bless is the one we will find in Christ, and we will only find life in Christ, if we first lose our lives. So we are right back to the Truth.
I think a lot of us, though we might deny that we believe this, operate as if it is the goal of God to help us save our lives. We cannot imagine that God would actually put us under the work of the Cross. We continue to look at how our life is going and determine from THAT the faithfulness of God. (i.e., we look at how happy we are.) Or perhaps, we determine from how our life is going whether we are faithful TO God. This is everywhere today. It is the problem Job had -- as we have been seeing for the last couple of weeks. He believed: Do well — God will bless your life; don’t do well — God is not going to bless your life -- and He may curse it. Therefore -- as was the case with Job -- when calamity comes into your life – “Well, bad stuff can’t happen to good people, so I must have sinned or maybe God isn’t as faithful as I thought He was.“ Then we get into this horrible confusion -- and this whole thing is error. The whole thing is baloney.
Note: If this is how I am trying to walk with God I have not left myself alone. I have not lost my life. No. I am still trying to make my life turn out the way I desire. No. BY FAITH LET IT ALL GO. Leave it alone. Leave yourself alone. God will not betray you. He wants to set you free.
Let’s ask a question: If God is telling us to LOSE our lives into His hands -- and we have not done that -- how likely does it seem that God is going to bless that life that we have NOT lost? -- but continue to hold on to? How likely does it seem that God is going to grab ahold of that life -- which He told us to lose -- and make it happy, fill it with blessings, make it all the more attractive -- so that we will just grip onto it tighter than ever? God is NOT going to do that.
Again I say -- this is a Truth that runs contrary to our natural man, and certainly contrary to our understanding. But it doesn’t have to be hard. I think it is our nature to make it hard, and I think God understands that. The flesh dies hard. But may God give us the grace not to make it any harder than it needs to be. Just pray to God, "Lord, do whatever it takes to bring me into a knowledge of Jesus -- bring me to the place where I will voluntarily and joyfully lose myself to You. I cannot do this. But You can. And You have already said it is Your will."
Many years ago, I personally came to a place that was so low and of such despair over myself that I was physically ill over it. I could not find the Truth, and I did not know why. I had prayed myself sick and studied myself tired. There was no end to this for years. Where was God? Why would He not answer me? I didn't realize that I was trying to have a relationship with God on the basis of the old life -- on the basis of myself -- rather than Christ. I was still in possession of myself and trying to get God to help me. So God, in His wisdom, just let me come to the end of myself -- He let me see that I was trying to save and bring alive a dead body. Oh yes, in the name of Jesus, but totally contrary to the will of God. One night in the middle of the worst of many times of despair it all dawned on me: There is nothing I can do about myself. But this is not bad to see -- it is the Truth. God must do this. All I need to do is ask Him to do whatever it takes to bring me into this Truth in Christ. That was a losing of myself right there as a commitment -- although there was much to work out. But it was real and God had done it.
I had read all of the verses on this matter over and over again for more years than I could remember. But this was one of those times when that which you had heard by the hearing of the ear becomes swallowed up by a new revelation of Jesus Christ. For despite the despair and the realization that there was nothing I could do about myself, I had also realized Jesus Christ in a new way. And that made it possible to begin to leave myself alone into His hands and move forward.
So God is NOT going to bless the life he tells us to lose. So if we are praying unto that end -- if we are angry at God because He hasn’t blessed us in this way -- or we are afraid that we are out of God’s will because He isn’t blessing us in the way we think He should – then we need to back up a step and recognize, or maybe take an inventory, and ask ourselves, “Are we trying to save and have our lives for ourselves -- even in a, “Religious-Christian,” kind of a way? Do you know what I mean? That old life -- that self-life -- is what God tells us to lose.
This is such a key in the Christian life. For example, all sin -- all addiction -- finds its root in that old life -- and the glue which holds that together is OUR POSSESSION of it. To the extent that we possess ourselves, that old life will possess us – along with all the addictions and all the sins that go with it.
That’s why I say, if you want to get free of sins and addictions; if you want to get free of a specific sin that you need to overcome, that’s fine. You can pray to God about that. But in the final analysis, where you are going to be led is NOT to some, “key to victory,” over that specific sin. No. You are going to be led to the cross -- and you are going to realize that you need to lose the very life IN WHICH that specific sin or addiction is rooted.
Anyone knows, from doing any gardening at all, that the only way to really get rid of weeds is to dig them out and uproot them. You can, “play religion,” and just, “mow them” -- but they are still there. They will still grow -- and the root is still there. God wants to unearth all of that. He wants to unearth it all, open it to the light -- and not fix that old life – but for us to lose it, as He tells us to do. It needs to a go down into a death under the cross. He wants to give us a new life -- not in the sense of better or new circumstances -- that’s up to God whether He does that. But the new life God wants to give us is life IN HIS SON -- and to be even more specific about it, it is life which is all about His Son, that is obsessed with His Son -- which is the result of abiding in Jesus.
So, we have got to come to this place. And if we see Jesus Christ, it is where we are going to be brought. We are going to be brought to the place where we see the greatness of Christ in God. We will also see the depravity of man in Adam. We are going to say -- if we see and embrace the truth -- “I abhor myself, and I repent in dust and ashes.” (There are some who will not do this but will instead run away from it.) But if we do embrace it, we will begin to be established upon a new basis.
The Outcome of Seeing God
Now, it is precisely to this place that Job came in chapter 42. (He saw God.) The first thing he did was make this incredible confession in which he said, “I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Second, God spoke and said, “My servant, Job, has spoken rightly of me.” Third, God had the friends of Job -- who had NOT spoken rightly of Him -- offer an offering. Fourth, Job then prayed for them. But then notice what happened next: “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends.” (Job 42:10)
Keep in mind that up until this point, Job’s suffering was ongoing. Nothing had changed at all about that suffering up to this point. Job was still covered from head to foot in boils and was still, "under the gun," of all that he had lost. But Job had seen God -- and the outcome of this was Job 42:10: It says that Job prayed for his friends. And then the Lord turned the captivity of Job
How many see a drastic change there in Job? He had been incredibly preoccupied with himself and with his suffering. For thirty-eight chapters, we saw that. But now he was brought to a place of concern for his friends -- and he prayed for them -- instead of being consumed with his own suffering.
Why was that? What happened? I would submit that because Job saw God, he was able, in faith -- which was not a religious exercise, nor resignation, or a giving up on God – he was able to turn away from himself; to leave himself alone; to lose himself into the hands of God. He could pray and be concerned about somebody else. You see no hint of this at all in the first thirty-eight chapters of the Book of Job. No. You see the opposite: “Oh, woe is me!” “Cursed be the day that I was born.” “Oh, that I might find God.” “Why has God done this to me?” “Where have I sinned?” “Oh God, help me.” “Oh God, if you would just tell me what I’ve done wrong.” But after God revealed Himself to Job, Job said, “I spoke of things too wonderful for me. Now I see YOU and I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job is essentially saying, “Lord, I am finished talking about this. I am through fussing with myself. I am finished trying to deal with this in myself. I believe You. I now know and understand what I could never understand before -- that there is nothing in me with which I can help myself. I have seen that I am empty -- and so, God, I am going to leave myself alone. I am going to leave it alone into your hands by faith, and get on with what You desire.”
So, gather all of this up and what might we conclude? What we can conclude is this: If you and I come into an inward realization of Jesus Christ and see His greatness, we are also going to see our depravity -- and it will result in our leaving ourselves alone. We will leave ourselves alone because, number 1, we will see that we are so bad that we cannot do anything about it. And number two, we will see that He is so great -- and that He has already done all there is to do about it. In other words, we are going to leave ourselves alone because we are going to see the TRUTH. And it is Truth which will set us free.
Whatever It Takes
I want to mention again the starting point of leaving yourself alone to Christ. Certainly, as an over-all, which I have mentioned, we can make the commitment to lose our lives to Jesus by asking Him, “to do WHATEVER IT TAKES,” to bring us into the fullness of His purpose. We may not know WHAT it takes. We may have no clue what we are talking about. But that is OK. God knows. If the desire is there, and we really want God, we can tell God to do whatever it takes -- and He will do whatever it takes.
The circumstantial working of this will be different for each person. But it will, in each case, regardless of how God does this, constitute the work of the CROSS. This is death to the old life, in order to set us free from possessing that old life, so that it will not possess us. This will set us free to worship and walk with God in HIS life.
We can ask God to do whatever it takes, and He will. And He will bring us to the place where He brought Job -- which is the only place Truth can bring us -- to where we see the greatness of God, the depravity of ourselves -- which will result in leaving ourselves alone.
Motivated by the Truth
I have noted that seeing God will motivate us to leave ourselves alone. Again, this is not about God saying, “I command you to leave yourself alone. I hereby command you under threat of punishment that you leave yourself alone!” No, not a fear motivation. Rather, if you see God, you WILL leave yourself alone. If you see God, and you embrace the Truth, you WILL lose your life. You will tell Him, “to do whatever it takes.” Why? Because when you see God, you will see that He is faithful. You will see that, in Christ, He has already done everything there is to do about that old natural life. He has already accomplished it all. You are going to see that and have assurance of it. This is one reason why seeing God will motivate us to leave ourselves alone.
Do we realize that the great need is to SEE JESUS? To begin to know Him. Unless we are born from above we CANNOT see. But if we are born from above, we at least have the capacity. Paul prayed that we might be given spiritual sight -- that we might be given a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. This is key because it is only if we begin to see Christ that Truth can motivate us to leave ourselves alone.
If we see the Truth we will know that we have absolutely nothing in ourselves with which to help ourselves. There is not a thing you can do to fix yourself up -- and frankly -- you are going to see that it is sin to try. It’s unbelief to try. You will be brought -- and I will be brought -- if we see God -- to seeing the Truth in Christ. We will be brought to the place where we are finished talking about the abilities and capacities of the old man in Adam. We will be as Paul has described at the end of Romans, chapter 7. Remember that one? It is such a cry of despair, but in reality it is a cry of hope that Paul finally came to -- and he is telling us historically that he did. He says, in response to seeing his own natural man, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
If you look up some of this Greek, and scholars will tell you what the words picture here -- as they are used in other early writings -- which are not necessarily part of the Bible -- but do give clues as to what the words mean. Paul is here speaking of the natural man as a dead body -- which he likens to being chained around his neck and which he has to drag around. Isn’t this old man in Adam; isn’t this old nature with which we are hindered -- like that? It is almost as if we have this dead body chained to us, and if we were left to ourselves, we would have to drag it around. It would drag us down and hinder us. And he is saying, “Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the BODY of this death” – i.e., from this dead body?
And then he says, “I thank God through Jesus Christ.” We will come to the place where we see that this (dead body) is all we are without Jesus Christ, and we will come to the place where we see there is nothing, not a thing we can do about ourselves, whatsoever. But both of these realizations are good, because they will give us the Truth and set us free. We leave ourselves alone by surrendering ourselves, and by leaving ourselves alone into the hands of Jesus Christ.
Now, how many understand that a lot of people try to lose their lives, and leave themselves alone, but NOT by faith -- and not by giving themselves into the hands of Jesus. Like I mentioned earlier, they try (to lose their lives to Christ) by doing stuff. But real faith is the result of seeing the Truth and embracing the Truth -- and then faith comes to be. As we noted a few weeks ago, “Faith comes to be by hearing.” (Rom. 10:17)
If it is the Truth we are hearing, then when we hear it, we will understand that there is nothing we can do about ourselves. There is nothing we can do, nothing we should do, and there is nothing we must do. You come to this place, the absolute end of all of that, and how many know you are free?
The most ironic thing of all is that it is the very attempt itself to fix ourselves -- to try to salvage something out of the old man -- to try to prop up that dead body – the attempt to fix ourselves IS what keeps us in bondage to the old man. We are still fussing with it. We are still trying to possess it. We think we are trying to fix it, and maybe we even pat ourselves on the back because we think we are successful. No, we are actually in unbelief. We have not come to see that there is nothing we can do. If you try to fix yourself, and make that old man something before God, you are in error and unbelief. But you won’t do that if you truly see and embrace the Truth. You won’t be able to.
Philippians, chapter three, is Paul’s description of his own experience of losing his life, and of coming to the place where he was able to leave himself alone. Paul, in that chapter, rehearses a whole bunch of his spiritual, “credentials” – religious things about himself in which he had put his faith. He says he did that. He says, “If any other man thinks that he has stuff about himself – so that he might trust in his own flesh -- I have a whole lot more.” Then he talks about them, Hebraic birth, tribe of Benjamin, etc. But the crowning glory of it all was that, “touching the righteousness which was of the law,” Paul said, “I was blameless”. And yet, Paul was able to say, in verse 7, “But whatever of these things that I thought were gain to me, all of them I count as loss for Christ.” He said, “Yea, doubtless, but I count all things but loss.” But what brought him to this place of LOSS? He says, “Because of the excellencies of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them as dung, that I may win Christ.”
Note again, why did Paul lose all of these things? Was it because Jesus came to him and said, “Paul, I hereby command you to lose these!” No, that’s not why Paul lost all of these things and considered them to be as dung. He lost them – let them go -- because he saw the Truth. He saw Jesus. In other words, he saw that they WERE dung. He saw that there was nothing there to hold onto -- and so he did lose them. But when he lost them, he was set free from them. The greatest apostle of the gospel of grace has given us more recorded words that preach against self-righteousness than any other apostle. Yet, to begin with, he was the most self-righteous of them all -- by his own definition.
How many see that a transition like that cannot take place simply by studying the Bible, and getting a whole new list of doctrines? What do we think, that Paul was a Pharisee -- an expert in the Old Testament -- and that he merely got new doctrines -- and then doctrinally counted all things as lost? No. Rather HE SAW JESUS CHRIST -- and grew to know Him. The RESULT was that he left himself alone. He left himself alone because he saw that this was ALL he could do -- but he put himself into good hands -- into the hands of Him who is our life, and who said, “It is finished.” So much of this is the result of seeing the Truth, embracing the Truth, and being changed by it -- so that you can leave yourself alone into the hands of God.
Practical Outworkings of Surrender
Now, let’s talk about some of the practical things which are included in losing your life to Jesus…i.e., leaving yourself alone into His hands. First of all, one thing that I have already mentioned is that we are going to leave alone trying to fix the old man, and of trying to make him presentable before God. We are not going to get into these programs about which Christian people say will bring out your capacities and your greatness. You’re not going to get into this stuff that promises to, “build the real you,” or as Joel Osteen promises, that will help you to, “discover the champion in yourself.” You will not seek how to live, “Your Best Life Now”-- which is another one of the books he has written. All of that, if we really see the Truth, will be to us as a FABLE -- as utter nonsense; as nothing more than trying to make a dead body look pretty. We are going to see it as that -- because that IS what it is.
Therefore, we are not going to try to fix ourselves up anymore. We are going to leave ourselves alone. We instead are going to focus, as Job came to do, not on our old man, not on our suffering, not on deficiencies, but on the GREATNESS OF JESUS CHRIST. This is also what we discussed earlier will happen if we have seen Him. Again, see Jesus -- and you are going to be raised up out of that old and brought into right relationship with Him. If you lose your life, you will make the commitment to let God to do whatever it takes to make this possible.
Another thing we will do if we leave ourselves alone is that we will no longer look to ourselves as a resource. We are going to understand that we need to live out from Christ by faith -- by abiding in Him. He’s supposed to be our life.
Now, these are words and principles -- but we have to learn how to do this practically. I realize that -- but God is not stupid or foolish -- He will teach us what these things mean and how to live them.
If we leave ourselves alone, we are also going to stop trying to make ourselves right before God. We are going to stop trying to fix things if we sin. We will confess them because we will understand that they are already addressed and taken care of in the redemption -- and then we are going to move on in faith.
Some people feel that if they sin, and then move on in faith, that it means they don’t really care if they’ve sinned. God already knows if you care. I really had to come to the place where I saw that it does me no good to put in a week or two of, “guilt time,” over something I may have done -- because the redemption is just as finished five minutes after I sin, as it is a week after. All that I am going to accomplish with guilt time is spending a week in unbelief.
Now, how many understand -- and this may be a shocker for some people -- but it is the absolute Truth -- that our refusal, our neglect, or our delay in embracing the full and finished work of Jesus for our sin – that this is an even greater sin than the sin that we are struggling with? Do we realize that? For example, suppose I get angry at somebody -- and I could mention a lot worse sins, but let’s just pick that one -- and let’s suppose in that anger I say something which is really wrong. If I spend a week under the guilt and condemnation of that sin, am I in faith? No, I am in unbelief. (This unbelief is a greater sin than the anger!) God says to confess it because YOU KNOW He is faithful and just to have forgiven your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. What good did that week of delay do? My point if this, it is unbelief to turn away from the only answer to sin, or to delay turning to the only answer to sin.
Somebody may protest by saying, “Well I can go out and sin and practice license”. You know something? I am not even going to spend ten seconds on that question. It is a whole other topic. If you are born again, and you are in business with God, you are not going to want to sin, and you will eventually come to see this Truth: You sin, you confess it, and you move on. Why? Because Jesus died to give you the privilege of doing so. There is no other reason. We can accept God’s forgiveness and restoration immediately -- because He died. It is not because we put in guilt time, and not because we promise to do better. It is just that simple -- if we would just believe.
Frankly, instead of being a hindrance to overcoming sin, our confessing sin and then immediately moving on in FAITH is actually one of the keys in getting free of sin -- because, again, you are leaving yourself alone.
It is very difficult sometimes when you have sinned, or when you are more than aware of your deficiencies, to leave yourself alone – difficult to confess it is of death and that there is nothing you can do about yourself. There is something about us that wants to grab ahold of ourselves and salvage something -- even if all we do is a promise to do better. There is something about seeing ourselves as having nothing in ourselves -- and this is proved by our conduct -- which makes us feel very uneasy with ourselves -- to where we want to make ourselves better than we really are. This is error and unbelief. Our old man ISN’T any better than we see. In fact, it is far worse. Leave it alone into the hands of God -- He can convict you of sin and bring out all that is the matter with you -- if He wants to. You have got to leave it alone, not because you do not care about it, but because you see the Truth. Christ not only cares about it, but He has already paid the price. Again, this is all by faith.
Another way of leaving yourself alone and of losing your life is to stop trying to direct traffic in your life for God. Stop trying to manipulate God with your works, with your supposed faith -- and stop trying to tell God what He needs to do. Stop trying to maneuver Him into doing it -- maybe by your doing of something: “Now I am going to go over here and try to do this -- because then maybe God will have to do that.” No. If you want to try that routine on God, you are going to be very disappointed.
So again, this is part of losing -- it is trust and reliance and dependence upon God. We trust that God will do, but also that He cares enough to perhaps NOT do. A lot of times, God doesn’t do anything for a long time. This is not because He doesn’t care. No. It is because He does care. And so, this is another way: Stop trying to direct traffic.
Well, I could go on and on with this but if your gather it all up, you can see that losing your life into the hands of Jesus is very much a matter of leaving yourself alone into His hands -- and getting into business with Him as your life. This is the only place, and the only outcome, to which you and I will be brought if we see Jesus Christ. And it was, in fact, where Job was brought.
Not a Formula
For 38 chapters of his great trial, Job was continually turning it over and thinking it to death -- being obsessed with himself and with his suffering. But then He sees God and all of a sudden -- he leaves himself alone, and gets into business with God -- to the point where he is even able to pray for other people. A lot of people have looked at that verse, Job 42:10, and thought that God is giving there the secret formula for getting out of trials — i.e., just pray for somebody else. How many understand that you can do that until you are blue in the face -- and yet maybe you are not even doing it in faith. Maybe it is just a gimmick you are trying to use to get out of a trial.
No, that is not what God is revealing. He is teaching that the outcome of seeing God is, yes, to see His greatness, but also to see your depravity. This results in freedom which comes from seeing that Truth -- freedom to leave yourself alone and lose yourself into the hands of God for His purpose -- for whatever it takes for His glory. You and I cannot go wrong in leaving ourselves alone into the hands of Jesus Christ. You cannot go wrong letting God get His glory because when God gets His glory, everyone is blessed.
And so, Job learned that when he saw God that God was much bigger than his understanding -- and he learned that he was much smaller than he ever imagined. The great result was that it set him free. It set him free from himself so that he could lose himself into the hands of God.
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