|Vol. 14 No. 4 April 20121||
I have always believed that the Bible is a many-faceted book. I know that there are difficult doctrinal passages. Peter affirmed that some of what Paul wrote was “hard to be understood” (2 Peter 3:16). There is an abundance of Bible “stories” (word used advisedly, since true characters doing real things is the actual fact). These all help us to be patient and comforted in God (Romans 15:4). However, I also truly believe that beyond the deep theological matters, that are there of necessity, and that answer many of our questions, and beyond the doctrinal discourses, such as the nature of God, His Son, the church, etc., that the Bible is truly an owner’s manual, written so that we can better know how to live every day and deal with every day issues in our lives. One simple example would be to any of us that are employed at all.
Have you ever been so frustrated with your boss that you just found yourself giving up and not wanting to try anymore? Have you ever been mistreated over a mistake you made, or even worse, maybe one you are being accused of making that you did not make? I would say that most of us have been in the boat where we find it difficult to work for the boss we have.
When the Scriptures speak of the master-slave relationship, as the New Testament does often, the exact application does not exist today; yet, the passages on this subject serve as a very practical guide for anyone that is in an employee/employer relationship. We want to look at it from the employee’s viewpoint. There are more passages, but we will just note these three:
“Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free” (Ephesians 6:5-8).
“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:22-23).
“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2:18-19).
The way to successfully deal with our work situation, in many cases, is found in these passages.
Do you need answers to your everyday life with its ups and downs, and problems and joys? Go to the One who made us. In His Book, you can find the answers, if you will look, and if you will listen, and if you will learn.
Since the beginning of time, mankind has been unwilling to take credit for his own actions when there was a question of right and wrong and the wrong was chosen. If an action is not right, we want to blame someone else. Of course, that is not true when good may come of a decision, because we are quick to jump out front and take credit for that action.
However, let us look at Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God had given strict instructions (Genesus 2:17; 3:3, 17) for them not to eat of nor even touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which grew in the midst of the garden. Yet, we all know the story. Satan came and convinced Eve that she would not die if she disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden tree. Contrarily, the Devil convinced her that she would become as a god if she ate of it. Therefore, she succumbed to Satan’s temptation and did eat it. She then saw that it was good for food and gave it to Adam, and he ate it also. There is no indication that he even questioned about where the fruit came from. He just ate it, but when God came to them and questioned them, Adam said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me gave me of the tree and I did eat” (Genesis 3:1). Not only was Adam quick to blame his woman, but in the process, basically Adam told God that it was His fault since He had given him the woman to be with him. When God questioned Eve, she said, “The serpent beguiled me and I did eat” (Genesis 3:13). We see that it is so easy to blame others for our sins. You could say it is human nature. However, human nature also has a course for good in men’s lives. When God forbade Adam and Eve to eat of that tree, He told them it was the tree of knowledge of good and evil; therefore, not only did they know evil, they also knew good.
From that point in time, it has been up to the individual to determine whether he will pursue the good or the evil. Others may tempt you and make you want to do what is wrong, but it is your decision. Perhaps you remember an old TV show where the comedian, Flip Wilson, would do some devilish thing and then would flippantly say, “The Devil made me do it!” Satan will do everything he can to tempt us to sin through “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16), but we must make the choice: “Submit yourselves to God; resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). God is on your side, and He will give you strength to endure and to succeed if you do His will.
Psalm 37 is full of admonitions to seek God and keep Him near: “Trust in the Lord and do good” (vs. 3). “Delight yourself in the Lord” (vs. 4). “Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him (vs. 5). “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (vs. 7). “Cease from anger and forsake wrath” (vs. 8). “Depart from evil and do good” (vs. 27). “Wait on the Lord and keep His way (vs. 34). These verses should give us great encouragement to keep God forever near, knowing that He will provide for and take care of us. Like Moses, we can say, “The Lord is my strength… He is my God and I will exalt Him” (Exodus 15:2). To resist Satan, we must keep God close.
We may pretend that we have not done wrong and try to pass the blame on to someone or something else, but God will not be fooled. No one else will ever be punished for our sins, but “every man will be put to death for his own sin” (Deuteronomy 24:16). Poor Job was tempted and tried like no other that we can read about, and yet he had faith like no other either as he went so far as to say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Job took fault for his own sin and knew that ultimately he was the only one at fault as he said, “Be it indeed that I have erred, my error remains with me” (Job 19:4). Each of us is responsible for our own sins!