Meditations by John Dean

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Deceit of the Glory Days

(Job 17:11 KJV)  My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.

Negative confession is like a spiritual disease of the heart which is capable of destroying one from the inside out. When one yields to such temptation it can take them farther than they want to go, keep them longer than they want to stay, and cost them more than they want to pay. Of all of Satan’s traps, negativity has to rank at the top of the list because it is so easy to fall into.

Listening to Job talk is depressing because he does not sound like a man of faith or one who is considered to be a “perfect and an upright man who fears God and hates evil?” (Job 1:8) He is talking like a man who has never walked with God.

Even though Job’s testing only lasted between six and nine months, he made it sound like years because he thought he was going to die. When Job said, “My days are past” it was because he really believed he had no future.

The problem with one feeling that their best days are behind them, is that they automatically start looking back to their glory days and spend less time establishing new ones. The reason for this is usually self-preservation. Looking back has a twofold purpose. It helps one establish a stronger present day identity as well as providing a good excuse for present day failures.

This was certainly the case with Job and that is the reason he said “My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.”

I know a man who is probably one of the smartest men I have ever known in his field and yet he sounds exactly like Job. He was a brilliant student in college and everyone’s fair-haired boy because he succeeded in everything he put his hand to. He seemed to have all the breaks in life because he was not only good at everything he did, but he was also tall, very handsome and had a personality that would melt butter.

He was a tremendous mathematician and could do more with figures than anyone I have ever known. As a result of his ability and college training he was a perfect match in the oil and gas industry. He went up the ladder extremely fast and ended up owning his own company with all the glitz and glamour that went with it… such as a private airplane, a big house, expensive suits and cowboy boots.

Things went well for him until the oil and gas business hit bottom in the 1970s and his business went into bankruptcy. As a result, he had to face his first real test in his storybook life…one that would test the mettle of his character to see if he was really a survivor.

The fair-haired good looking boy failed the test and turned out to be nothing more than a mirage. In spite of that, he still had the ability to melt butter with his personality and tell great stories of his glory days. However, his pride has kept him from ever getting a normal job to support his family. This genius became a house husband for almost forty years being supported by his wife on her little salary.

Job may have talked negatively for a while as he looked back and hung on to his glory days, however, he soon stopped this nonsense and started looking forward and became a “double portion” man.

My friend may have never talked negatively, but he also never got over living in the glory days of his past. Job succeeded…my friend failed.

I suppose the thought behind this Meditation is that our young glory days of the past are not meant to be the real us, but only a faith builder for our future. Our present days may not have the same appeal as our glory days, but they should be deeper and richer as a result of those past experiences.

Help us to see the value in our past and to enjoy those great memories. Also help us not to be like the Job in our text who only looked at his past, but help us to be like the Job that started looking at his future. We do not want to end our life in the glory of the past, we want to begin our future in the glory of the present.

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