Monday, April 18, 2011

Perfect and Upright... ya right: Lessons From Job 2

The second lesson Job has taught me is that I don’t have to be “perfect” to be “perfect and upright before the Lord.”  When I think of the word perfect, I think of dictionary[i] definitions such as these:

1.       Conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type
2.       Entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings.
3.       Thorough, complete, utter

A dictionary definition of upright[ii] is “adhering to rectitude[iii] (rightness of principle or conduct; moral virtue); righteous, honest, or just.”  Job, a mortal man is clearly not perfectly righteous or upright for all are under sin and not one is righteous.

Romans 3:9-12 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one

None of us are without flaws and none of us conform absolutely to God’s law.  None of us are righteous or perfect!  It is just a fact.  I think the key phrase here is, “before the Lord.”  Job cannot by definition be perfect and upright but through Christ both he and we can be made righteous and perfect in Christ.  

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus

Think of a full glass of water representing perfection.   We spend our life trying to fill our cup with drops that represent our uprightness in keeping the commandments.  Unfortunately though we fall short of righteousness and with each mistake a drop of water is taken from our cup.  It becomes impossible for us to fill up this cup of water and perfection by us can never be reached.  But if we are “before the Lord” Christ fills up the rest of our cup for us; thus by him we are made righteous and in him we are made perfect.  This is what I think was meant when the Lord referred to Job as “perfect and upright.”  He did his best to fill his cup with drops of water and relied on Christ to fill up the rest.

Job alone could never be perfect or upright.  He had to be before the Lord in order for this to happen.  I think of being before the Lord as having Christ on my team.  When Christ is on my team no matter how many runs short I come to winning my game, Christ comes in and scores enough home runs to put our team over the top.  The question then becomes, “what qualified Job to have Christ on his team?”  There are two things that stand out to me; the first is found in the second part of the Lord’s description Job.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Job feared God and abstained from or eschewed evil.  My personal feeling on “fearing God” is not that we should be afraid of God but that we should care what he thinks over what man thinks; we are to fear God rather than fear man.

Psalms 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

When we give into peer pressure, make choices based on what will make us look better in others eyes, or seek popularity at whatever cost, we fear man and not God.  Sometimes following God is not the popular thing to do and sometimes we just care more what people think than we care what God thinks.  When we do this, we are not choosing Christ’s team.  A good example of someone who didn’t choose the right team was Pilate.  Jesus was brought to him before he was crucified, but Pilate could find no fault in him.  Pilate wanted to release Jesus but instead of doing something unpopular, he let the people decide a prisoner to be released.  Pilate was more worried about what the people thought than what God thought.  He is an example of someone who did not fear God and as a consequence allowed an evil act to occur.  I think this is what is meant by the kind of person Job was.  He was more concerned about doing the right thing (being upright) as opposed to the popular thing.   Job always chose Christ’s team!

The second thing that stands out to me about Job was his ability to recognize his weakness and repent. 

Job 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Although Job feared God and shunned evil, he certainly made mistakes.  These mistakes are the things that keep us from being saved and keep us from having Jesus on our team.

1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

I think that just as our sins keep Christ from being on our team, repentance is the thing that allows us to continue with him.  If I were to define righteousness before the Lord, my personal definition would not be “one who does not make mistakes” but “one who consistently repents of his mistakes.”  In order to have Christ as my teammate, it seems to me that I have to care more about what he thinks than what others think; I have to really want to do right and shun evil.  But even with these great desires, I am never going to fill that darn cup.  As hard as I try, I lose drops on a daily basis.  In order to keep Jesus on my team, I have got to repent continuously.   If I do this then I too can be considered perfect through him!  What a concept!  Truly we do not yet appear as we shall be for he intends to make us perfect!

 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

[i] perfect. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved April 15, 2011, from website:
[ii] upright. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved April 17, 2011, from website:
[iii] rectitude. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved April 17, 2011, from website:


  1. Wow! Timing is everything. I did sharing time yesterday. It was "Jesus Christ is the perfect example." While I was teaching it, I had the kids fold a piece of paper. They, many of them, were saying how it wasn't "perfect," but then one boy chimed in with, "But I did my best." Ah the lessons from children! Right on. That's all that is asked of us. Isn't it wonderful! This led to a great discussion of how none of them was like his/her neighbor. Each was different and so it was meant to be. Loved it! Thank you for adding to my understanding with this post.

    I love the visual that "upright" is. Truly when we are doing our best, we can then be literally upright. We have nothing to be ashamed of, and it is only through Christ's atonement and our repentance that can make us this way.

    Thank you so much for your insight, Brenda. I love it!

  2. truth will prevail Jesus Christ our lord and savior is coming back very soon however what kind of faith will find on earth? not everybody who thinks he/she is Christian and thinks that righteous a good person {including myself] who will say LORD lord did we do miraculous signs and cast demons in your name? and Jesus will away from me I never knew you evildoer. Paul Henry