Integrity and Grace
17 October 2019
Integrity and Grace
Reading: Job 1-2; Acts 6-7
1 There was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless, a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters. (Job 1:1-2 NLT)
Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8 NLT)
I don’t like bad things to happen to good people. In Job’s story, his goodness and integrity attracted Satan’s attention and God permitted Satan to take his stuff, his children, and then his health. That’s not fair and I don’t like to read about it! But things like that happen. Bad things do happen to good people. Job maintained his integrity, the thing that attracted Satan’s attention in the first place.
Stephen was a man of faith, wisdom, grace, and God’s power. This attracted the attention of some religious people who took exception to his message about Jesus. Stephen wouldn’t back down and they killed him. All the good things about him were lost to the church and the community he served. But as he died, he asked God not to condemn those who killed him!
They both demonstrated a quality of heart I long for – a nobility of character. Job wouldn’t blame God for his tragic misfortune and Stephen wouldn’t blame the men who killed him.
I hope I don’t have to suffer Job’s losses and grief and pain. I’d prefer not to lose my life for being good as Stephen did. But I do want to have the character and faith to not become bitter and accusatory toward God when things don’t go well for me. And I do want to be filled with God’s grace so that I don’t hold ill-will against those who treat me badly.
Father, I don’t know how to get what I want in terms of character, grace, and the nobility of Christ without going through experiences like Job and Stephen. At least I don’t know how to know if those qualities are in me unless they are tested. I want those qualities but the process looks scary. So again my prayer is: “23 I know, Lord, that a person’s life is not his own. No one is able to plan his own course. 24 So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.” (Jeremiah 10:23-24 NLT)