(5) His Mastery of the Flesh
“One that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:2). Can the flesh be mastered? We have three enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil. John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15-16). So evidently we overcome the world by not loving it or its things. We are told to “resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7), but of the flesh we are not told to resist, but are rather told to “flee these things” (1 Tim 6:11), “Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Pet 2:11). So the flesh is like an army encamped, ready to attack at any moment, and our only victory can be in our ability to flee. So let us flee!
At a time when Kings were going forth to battle, David tarried at Jerusalem. Rising from his bed, he walked on the rooftop, and saw a woman washing herself. David was tempted and sin ran its course of lust. “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed” (Jas 1:14). David ran, but in the wrong direction. Think of the sorrows that David could have avoided if only he had fled (2 Samuel 11:12-23)!
Joseph ran! His trial was greater then David’s, but he ran, losing his cloak, but Preserving his character (Gen 39). Paul tells us, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom 13:14).
Job abstained from evil, he wanted to be a clean vessel.
At the end of his sons’ day of feasting, Job “sent and sanctified them and said, It may be that my sons have sinned…” (Job 1:5). Job had a tender conscience, or we could use the words of Paul, he had “a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man” (Acts 24:16). Paul was conscious of “nothing against himself” (1 Cor 4:4), his conscience was pure.
The conscience that has been purged and which is clear before God is a compass to guide us aright, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck” (1 Tim 1:19-20). The conscience is a compass but these sailors on the sea of life have thrown the compass overboard.
It was not so with Job, but there are those with a cauterized conscience, that is, seared as with a hot iron, it is no longer sensitive (1 Tim 4:2). Nor did Job have the defiled conscience of Titus 1:15, “Unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”
Job’s conscience was good; it was regulated and it regulated him. When there was any possibility of sin, Job rushed to the altar to make sure neither he nor his family had any unsettled accounts with God.
“Thus did Job continually” (Job 1:5). There was no inconsistency in his ways, no deviating in his course, no failure in his faith. Job’s character was the same before the trial as it was in the trial and after it. When his possessions were gone and his children were gone, it is written, “In all this Job sinned not nor ascribed anything unseemly to God” (1:22). He who was not puffed up by prosperity is not pining in his poverty. Like Paul he could have said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil 4:11). Paul’s peace did not come from circumstances, nor change with them.
Consistency is the mark of true discipleship. The Lord Jesus said, “If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). The early Christians were disciples indeed, for of them it is written that they “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in the fellowship and in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers” (Acts 2:41-42).
To be continued.