By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Have you ever noticed the relationship between “trusting in God” and “trusting in yourself” through the Bible? Throughout Scripture, it appears it is almost impossible to trust in yourself and to trust in God at the same time.
Proverbs 16:9 (NIV): In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
This is evident throughout the Bible, but it is a main theme in the Old Testament. God provided numerous signs, wonders, and prophets/prophetesses to show the people His way. However, the Hebrews continually relied on their own level of trust and comfort to make decisions. When Moses traveled up the mountain to receive God’s word, the Hebrews grew impatient and created the golden calf (Exodus 32). When God told the Hebrews, they did not need an earthly king, they harassed Samuel and ignored his warnings until they received an earthly king (1 Samuel 8). Even throughout the book of Judges, there was an all-too-clear cycle: disobey God’s word, receive punishment for their disobedience, repent and ask for deliverance, God provides them a deliverer (judge), deliverer (judge) dies, Hebrews disobey God’s word, and so on it went.
Romans 10:17 (ESV): So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
It is not that we cannot plan our course, nor is it that having goals is bad. The issue comes when we are not allowing God to establish our steps. When we make plans outside of God’s will, we are only taking our needs and wants into account. We are putting our trust in ourselves and what we believe will suit us best.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV): So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
As a result of them having more faith in themselves than they did in God, the Hebrews relied too much on what they could see. They wanted to see their relationship with God, so they build a golden calf. They wanted to see their ruler, so they begged for a king. They needed to see a representative from God, so they disobeyed His word whenever a judge died. The human desire to build faith by sight is not new. We find it difficult to grasp that someone can understand Jesus without “seeing Him”, so we create images in hopes to help build their faith. However, the apostle Paul says that it not faith at all. He also says there is more than enough “invisible” attributes in nature to understand God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20). This foundation is understandable at all ages, and then it becomes an exercise of building on that foundation by studying the Bible. God continues to give us all we need to bring someone to repentance. Trust in God and His will, see what He has already provided and know that is enough for all to be saved.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Have you ever noticed how God reacts to the idea of being afraid or worried? We find throughout Scripture that God does not see them as appropriate reactions. Regardless of the situation, God wants us to understand that He is always in control. What this means is even though things may not go as we would like, that does not mean that we should allow our fears to overwhelm us.
Joshua 1:8-9 (ESV): This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
We are expected to find strength in the fact that God is with us where we go. Notice there are no caveats or exclusions. God promises to be with us wherever we go. All we need to do is remain faithful to him and stay strong in His word. The mistake many make is their source of strength is themselves or something in the world. The problem occurs when we realize we are not in as much control as we would like to believe. Whether that lack of control results in a broken relationship, a loss of your job, or a bad financial investment; it is tough to make the “best decision” and things don’t work out.
Matthew 6:25-27 (ESV): “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
If a relationship deteriorates, then trust that God knows you need some space from that person. As difficult as losing your job may be, trust that God understands where you need to be working. If you spent a small fortune on a “sure bet” and found out that bet was not so sure, be confident in the fact that God does not believe you need that money right now. God’s goal is for all to be saved and to enter the kingdom of heaven. Anything you are separated from on earth may have altered your salvation, and there is nothing more precious than your salvation.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Sometimes we get caught up in our daily lives and lose focus on what is truly important. We allow failures at work, arguments with loved ones, and things not turning out the way we planned to depress us. Throughout the Bible, believers reflect on the promises of God when they find themselves in tough situations.
At times our beliefs and individual experiences make it very difficult for us to understand the situation another is facing. When we attempt to judge others based on our personal expectations, it can lead to trouble. We can form biases, prejudices, and show favoritism towards things that matter to us, but not to God.
1 Samuel 16:6-7 (ESV): When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
God does not see the world as we see it. He is not looking for the strongest or the smartest person, He is looking for the purest heart. God regularly chooses the weakest person by our standards because it is human tendency to glorify the created, instead of the creator. You will see throughout Scripture, God chooses the weakest person to help us not to make this mistake. The problem arises because we are still not humble enough to appreciate God’s almighty power and grace. Even though the situation is difficult to explain, humans tend to credit what they can see before they credit what they cannot.
Philippians 2:3-7 (ESV): Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Jesus desires for us to follow His pattern and have a heart of humility. Not looking to exalt our own strengths, but focused on the needs and talents of others. When we count others greater than ourselves and focus on their interests, we are not only humbling ourselves to them, but to God.
James 4:6 (ESV): But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
God will not elevate the prideful because His will is for all to be saved. Scripture speaks of pride as leading to a fall or destruction. God will not exalt the prideful because He knows that will further the likelihood of them not being humble enough to put on Christ in baptism. In addition, the prideful could lead others astray as they are representing themselves, not God as the answer. We must be humble enough to be a bondservant to Jesus Christ, willing to sacrifice our interests and well-being for the furthering of God’s kingdom. By living a life of selflessness and humility, God will reward us for our service. As Scripture says, the last will become first and the first shall become last.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Every Christian should have the goal to save the lost. As with any goal, you are going to face setbacks and challenges because everyone is not interested in obeying the Gospel. Keep in mind that there will be those who reject your message and never become a Christian; but other times, the seed you planted will one day save their soul.
When trying to help someone see the light, Jesus shows us the importance of emphasizing God’s love. To ensure everyone understands the meaning of God’s love, Jesus shares that God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son to save it. Jesus wants to make sure everyone knows that love is not being defined by loose worldly standards, but by God’s divine measure.
John 3:16-18 (ESV): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Jesus balances God’s love of the world with the fact that He is righteous and therefore consistent. As a result of the wages of sin being death, there will still be those who will perish (although no one should perish). This is important because there will be some who see God’s love as an unconditional relationship, without any expectation of us from God. God expects His people to be holy because He is holy.
John 3:19-21 (ESV): And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Jesus draws a clear distinction between those who obey the Gospel and those who ignore it. Those who are not pricked by the love and righteousness of God are considered evil. They are seen as people who would rather hide in the ignorance of darkness than come into the light of truth. It is imperative to understand all of your evangelism efforts will not bring everyone to Christ, and that does not mean you did something wrong. It is also true if dozens of people are pricked and turn their life over to God, that does not mean you did everything right. The most important aspect of evangelism is a willingness to share your faith with others. If you have done everything you can to help bring someone to Christ, you need to be content with the results. On the other hand, if you are not following Jesus’ pattern of love and compassion, make an effort to add it to your evangelism repertoire.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Those who are humble are often portrayed as someone who is unsure or lacks confidence. The prideful person is seen as a go-getter and someone who gets things done. In actuality, the humble person is going to be the most effective. It is the prideful person who is wasting a considerable amount of time appeasing their ego. Have you ever met someone who found it difficult to admit they were wrong? Instead of simply acknowledging the truth and moving on, they find themselves trying to defend the indefensible.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV): Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
On the other hand, when you are humble, you are more focused on outcome than you are on who gets credit. This is important because you have to remember all good things come from God. Throughout Scripture, God makes it clear that is important for us to acknowledge Him in all of our endeavors. To aid us in this task, God looks for the humble to elevate. The humble will not accept credit, nor do they seek praise.
Another method God utilizes to help us spot His mighty hand is to uplift the “weak”. We see this with King David, who was seen as the smallest and least threatening of his brothers. When David killed Goliath, everyone immediately knew that it could only be accomplished through the hand of God. A similar situation occurred with Joseph, when he was sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph went from slave to second in command of the most powerful empire of that time.
Numbers 20:11-12 (ESV): And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”
God knows it is human nature to give credit to what we can see and to ignore what we can’t. Moses lost his ability to enter the Promise Land because he did not speak to the rock. As a result, the Hebrews were going to give undue credit to Moses. While it may not seem like a big deal to us, it is of the highest importance to God. So important, that everything Moses did up to this point (plagues, traveling, commandments, leaving a lavish lifestyle) could not compare to the mistake of blurring the line of God and man. Consequently, the strength found in a humble person who has God on their side becomes immeasurable; and the strength found in a prideful person who is without God becomes trivial. Do not live in a manner that diminishes your works because you are blurring the line between God and man. Be humble, be gracious, and be willing to give God the glory.