This past week I had the distinct privilege of preparing a service of dedication for Eddie and Beth Ferrari’s new business venture, “The Picture Guy,” a photography business. It was their desire to ask God not only to bless their new business and the launch of their new website, but to officially install God as the CEO of their business and to ask Him to make it more than something to pay the bills, but something that would open doors for ministry. I explained to family and friends who came to witness the ceremony that as Christians we don’t separate our lives into segregated compartments that remain untouched by our faith in Christ. No, being Christ’s disciple, being in fellowship with the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit, is supposed to saturate every area and aspect of our lives. Eddie and Beth were testaments to that truth.
Our spiritual life isn’t separate from our relational life, our financial life, our emotional life or our physical life. Our spiritual life as believers in Christ informs and impacts every other area of our lives. Too many Christians are trying to live life like they do the laundry; separating things into different piles and as if one aspect of life gets bleached while another gets soaked first and yet another is washed on the delicate cycle. As Christians, we are to see that all of life is treated in the same way by the same Source. Who we are to be is believers who are so saturated by the power and presence of God and the desire to respond in concert with Him as He leads our lives that it doesn’t matter what facet of our life is being examined; the common denominator is always Jesus.
Allow me to share a few Scriptures to frame our time together:
Matthew 22:37-Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
John 10:10-“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I submit to you this morning that the only way Job was victorious in his battle with Satan was because he was living a saturated life. Every part of his life was consecrated to God, and he sought God’s blessing and God’s glory to be born out of every situation. Every time the Christian struggles and comes out on top through faith in Christ and by applying His blood to their circumstances, and by perseverance in prayer, and by the word of their testimony that they will be victorious through Christ, God’s glory is on display for others to see.
When Christians, however, don’t consecrate their struggles to God and don’t allow every area of their lives to be under the Lordship of Christ, the minute part of their life is under attack, their faith collapses. Their faith collapses because it was segregated from the area of life under attack. Your faith won’t help you in your relationships if it is sitting off to the side somewhere. Your faith won’t give you strength in the midst of physical illness or financial crisis if you have separated it from the decisions you have made about your physical well-being and financial future all along. Too many “Christians” want to leave God out of the driver’s seat in every aspect of their lives but their church going or salvation, and then when something in life goes wrong or bad they wonder where He is and why they don’t see Him in their situation. Friends, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we can’t crowd God out of the facets of our life and then blame Him for whatever mess we have gotten into or whatever has come our way.
God has a plan for your life. That includes your health. It includes your family. It includes your friendships. It includes your business. It includes your finances. It includes your material possessions like your clothes, your cars, and your home. God has blessed my family, no doubt. We have just moved into a home that is far more than we ever dreamed we could have. We know God has done something very special to enable us to have this home. But we didn’t just up and decide it was time to move. We followed the Lord’s leading. We didn’t just look for something we liked or that could work. We sought the Lord’s direction. Our whole family prayed about the process and prayed specifically about the house we moved into.
Before we ever moved in, we started asking ourselves, “How can we glorify God in this house?” It’s not just a house. It’s God’s house. It’s a tool for ministry. God has a purpose for putting us where He put us. We have been brainstorming ways we can glorify God. One is that we are getting some lettering, some wall decals, that will spell out the words of Scripture so that all who enter the home will know God is our God. We will be inviting our entire neighborhood over for an open house so that we can get to know our neighbors in hopes of inviting them to church. We have talked about figuring out how to show outdoor family-friendly and Christian movies in our huge back yard so that we can have the neighbors over. We are having the 3rd through 5th graders from this church over for a sleepover. There is a young lady from Cincinnati coming in a few weeks to shadow the staff and learn about ministry for two weeks. She can certainly stay with us. Do you see that even your house or apartment isn’t separated from who you are as a Christian? It’s all under the Lordship of Christ.
Job got this concept, and because He did, when Satan started messing with him, he was able to stand firm in his faith and come out victoriously. You see, Satan is a destroyer, and he happens to be fairly smart or at least pretty sneaky. Listen. He won’t ever come through the front door. He won’t just attack your faith because he knows if you are a Christian you have settled some questions in your heart and mind. You already believe the truth about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. But, if your whole life isn’t saturated by the presence of God, Satan has an inroad, a first step, into your life through a back door, if you will. The goal isn’t your health, but Satan can attack it in a moment. Satan could really care less about your finances, but he will attack there whenever it is convenient. Satan isn’t concerned with your family, but he will look for ways to destroy it. No, what he is most concerned about is your faith. So he will attack the physical, relational, financial and emotional aspects of your life in hopes of eventually destroying your faith. Those aspects of your life won’t stand a chance and your faith will be dashed if each isn’t under the command of the Lord and isn’t supported by His mighty power.
I want to examine the ways in which Satan attacked Job. Look at Job 1:14-17 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Where did Satan attack Job first? His finances. He literally lost the ability to make a living. Satan loves to attack in this area because of its quick impact. People immediately start to get stressed when their income is threatened, when the standard of living changes and when the bills start to pile up. He wasn’t just being threatened with a lay off or suffering from an economic downturn. He was literally watching his ability to support himself and his family be taken completely from him.
Sometimes, when it rains it pours and before Job could catch his breath here came the second blow. This one was to his family. Job 1:18-19 18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. What tragedy. What devastation. What despair would come over any person who suffered such loss.
Yet Job’s response to these tragic events isn’t what one would expect: Job 1:20-22 20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job didn’t just “get over” it. He didn’t just “move on.” Verse 20 clearly tells us he was deeply grief stricken. Tearing your robes and shaving your head was a sign of deep heartache and sorrow. He felt the pain of loss. It made him sick to his stomach. He cried over what had happened. We can’t turn off our feelings when we are suffering. But he made the decision to stay saturated with the presence of God, and in the midst of his suffering, he fell down in worship to God! He was submitted to God even in his suffering. Look at verse 22 again: In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. How you handle what happens to you can lead you into sin or into greater faith. I think it depends in part on how saturated that area of your life was to begin with. Just my personal opinion. It least it is easier to choose the route of faith during times of suffering and testing when you are already on that route to begin without. Are you following the reasoning? Makes sense, right?
It is easy to worship God when the bills are paid and there is money for a new car and vacation and we feel like a raise is on the horizon. Oh, we feel blessed, and we are ready to thank God because HE is the Source of those blessings. But when they are taken away, and we aren’t sure what the future holds, it’s not so easy to lift our hands in praise and worship.
I can’t imagine something happening to my family. I don’t want to picture life for one second without my husband or my children. Currently, most days we all like each other. I like things the way they are. But if something was to change, would it change my love and devotion to God? Is my trust in God dependent upon a perfect family and home life?
Job suffered in the area of his finances, in the area of his family, and also in the area of his flesh. Look at Job 2:3-10:
3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” 4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Satan brought a sickness on Job that was basically incapacitating. His body was covered with painful sores and all Job could focus on was trying to get relief. And yet, Job stayed committed to God. Something about his faith was an anchor for his soul even while his flesh was being tormented. Notice that his wife, one of his family members, was encouraging him to walk away from God. Don’t think for one moment that your family life is off limits to Satan. One way Satan gets into a family is by working on an individual to create division and disruption to the life of faith. Job’s wife became a tool in the hand of Satan. Cursing God and dying was exactly what Satan wanted Job to do. You would think after losing their children that Job and his wife would be pulling together, working together, coming together to comfort and strengthen each other, but that wasn’t the case.
I wonder if Mrs. Job’s life wasn’t saturated with God’s presence in every area. I wonder if the relationships with her children, if her family life wasn’t completely consecrated to God, and that when she lost her children, she didn’t have the spiritual strength in that facet of life to deepen her faith and trust in God and let her grief overrule her faith. Had she, herself, already cursed God? Grief must never overrule our faith. For we have a hope beyond this life. This life isn’t the goal. Heaven is the goal, and we know we have a heavenly reunion to look forward to around the throne of God with all who have gone before us that have also trusted Christ as Savior and Lord. Sickness must never overrule our faith. We are all going to take a turn at not feeling well. We all will deal with physical hardship and setbacks. What do we expect? We dwell inside flesh and bones and we only get one set of both for a lifetime. Parts are bound to wear out. Parts are bound to need to be rested, replaced or repaired. Parts are bound to give out from time to time, but we must not let our flesh overrule our faith.
Insult was added to injury when Job also experienced an attack in his friendships.
Near the end of chapter 2, we read that Job’s three best friends came together for the purpose of comforting him (Vs. 11). That sounds positive, right? That sounds helpful. That sounds like the right thing to do. However, even well-meaning friends can turn out to be not so helpful. Their comfort turned to criticism. They accused him of having sin in his life and concluded God was punishing him. They must not have known him as well as they thought because several places in Scripture God talked about how upstanding Job was and how much integrity he had and how he was God’s servant. We don’t have time to dissect all of their advice, but it was less than helpful. Did Job respond in anger and cuss them out and tell them they were no longer friends? No. Scripture says he prayed for his friends (Job 42:10). Only someone whose relational life is saturated with the presence of God can pray for those who hurt him.
And when all of your life is saturated with God’s presence, you have a hope and a future. You have something ahead that is filled with restoration and redemption and blessing. God has the ability to make things better for you than you have ever experienced and certainly better than any of us deserves. Jeremiah 29:11-13. “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, but plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Look at Job chapter 42:10-17:10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. 12 The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. 16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so he died, old and full of years.
Ultimately Satan wasn’t after Job’s finances, his family, his flesh, or his friendships. He was after his faith. He wanted to get him to curse God. But Job had let his faith inform every area of his life to the point where it was like his faith created a chain between his finances, his family, his flesh and his friendships to the point where even though all of those things were broken, his faith couldn’t be broken. The carryover of his faith into every area of his life made every area so strong his faith couldn’t be compromised.
It’s very important that this saturating of faith in every life area take place before the life area is challenged. Maybe some of you are trusting God with your family life, but you aren’t trusting Him with your finances. Maybe some of you are trusting Him with your friendships, but not with your health. Living the saturated life means we don’t pick and choose where we will apply our faith. Our faith should stain our entire lives.
What does God say about your FINANCES? How do you show you are a Christian in that area of your life? Do you honor God with your tithe? That is, do you give ten percent of your income to the Lord? Malachi 3:8-10 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
Have you ever thought that by not tithing you are robbing God? That’s a pretty harsh comment, but that’s what the Scripture says. Tithing is the first way to saturate your financial life with faith as God promises to take care of you and pour out a blessing you can’t even contain when you obey Him in this area. He gives you 90% to use under His direction and asks you to give ten% back to Him directly. The storehouse is the church, the place where you worship and are being taught the Word of God. Much more could be said about our finances as tithing isn’t the only way to exercise faith in your finances, but it is the foundational way.
How does your FAMILY life get saturated with the presence of God? Our family life is to be the first place for the transmission of faith. While it is a good practice, taking your kids to church does not fulfill your responsibility to teach your children about Jesus. You need to have spiritual conversations based on the Word of God. You need to be praying together. Your kids need to be seeking God’s will with you regarding family decisions. Making church a priority over leisure activities is another way to saturate your family life with the presence of God.
How do you saturate your FLESH with the presence of God? Do you respect your body as a temple for God’s presence? Do you seek to be a good steward of the body God has given you by thinking about what you put into it (I guess we could all say we think about what we put into it)? Are you taking the prescribed medications and following your doctors’ recommendations? Are you praying about your health? Are you asking God for strength? When you need healing are you being anointed with oil and asking the church to pray according to James 5? What about the temptations of the flesh, the lust of the flesh, as the Bible calls it? Are you asking God’s Spirit to dominate your flesh and crucify any fleshly desire that doesn’t line up with God’s Word?
What about your FRIENDSHIPS? Are you seeking to glorify God by the way you relate with people? Or would people describe your life as a big drama or conflict? Are you at odds with people or are you kind, patient, loving and forgiving just as God in Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).
The Christian life is an all or nothing kind of deal. We can’t be a Christian in our finances but not in our flesh. We can’t be a Christian in our friendships but not in our families. And why would we want to? God has sustaining, keeping, healing and blessing power. Why remove Him from any part of the equation? Are you living the saturated life?
Outline in part inspired by: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/how-satan-destroys-the-believer-rodelio-mallari-sermon-on-satan-152571.asp