By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Jesus wants to ensure we focus on the kingdom of God above all else. Whenever we find ourselves focusing on things that perish, we know we are focused on the wrong thing. In the Old and New Testament, covetousness was a something we should abstain from. Primarily because we are devaluing the life and blessings God gave us every time we believe we are entitled to what others have.
Luke 12:13-15 (ESV): Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
There are many reasons to avoid coveting what others have, but Jesus focuses on two things. He discusses the significance of having all the riches in the world and the final Judgement. In the grand scheme of life, would having more possessions insure our happiness? We often find the answer is no. When looking at the divorce and suicide rate among the wealthiest among us, it increases drastically compared to those who own less.
Luke 12:16-21 (ESV): And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Jesus also wants us to consider whether being rich can help us please God. Scripture shows being rich can be a hindrance for many because rich people tend to rely on their own abilities instead of God (Matthew 19:23-24). We need to continually remind ourselves all good things we receive are a blessing from God (James 1:17). If we don’t have it, we must not need it is the conclusion Jesus appears to confirm. Notice Jesus says, He was “not the judge or arbitrator” over these matters. Jehovah gave Jesus reign over all the earth, so He could arbitrate this matter if it was significant enough (Matthew 28:18). Jesus is the High Priest who intercedes on our behalf and He is also going to preside over the final Judgement of the entire world (Hebrews 7:25-26; Matthew 25:31-46). With His statement, Jesus is reaffirming the amount of things we have do not bring us salvation or happiness; so He is not concerned and neither should we.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
There are many good reasons we are not aware of the exact time and day that Jesus will return. When we do not know exactly when something will happen, we tend to devote more time in preparation.
Deuteronomy 11:18 (NASB): You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
Similar to a teacher informing his or her students there will be multiple pop quizzes throughout the school year. The teacher is attempting to get their students to pay attention in class each day; as well as study the material before returning to class the next day. We should also consider the motivation to get the students to show up to class every day. Teachers understand test days have the highest probability of all of their students coming to class. Students understand test days have the greatest effect on their final grade, so they feel compelled to come to school. By instituting pop quizzes, teachers want students to weigh each day equally important in an attempt to get them to come to class regularly.
Matthew 24:37-39 (NIV): As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Why does Jehovah want us to weigh each day equally important? Resembling a teacher’s motivation for not telling us when the pop quiz will occur; Jehovah wants to help us reach our full potential by fully understanding the material. When we know when and where the test will take place, we can memorize every answer the night before without actually learning anything. The test of life is not about whether we memorized all the correct answers, it is about us learning and creating a life style mirroring Christ. We want to know and live the material to the point it is a part of who we are and not something we will discard for any reason.
Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV): Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
It is in our best interest to live each day like it our last, make each decision like it is the most important, and treat each person we encounter as if they were Jesus Christ. Only then will we be able to truly absorb the words of God in our mind and more importantly our heart.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
In the last days truth will become increasingly difficult for people to understand, accept, and acknowledge. Since truth is like a compass that directs our path; a lack of truth in the world will create a dangerous environment for all.
2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV): But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
Truth is the architect of our morals and plays a vital role in how we treat each other. When we ignore truth, there remains no opportunity for humans to universally agree with each other. We will each rationalize every action and dismiss every critique. We will only be concerned with what satisfies our needs and be willing to do anything to achieve that goal. Even though truth is criticized and rejected by many in the last days; it can only be resisted, not conquered.
2 Timothy 3:7-9 (NKJV): always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
As a result of truth coming from our Creator (Jehovah), we each have a generally accepted understanding of how to treat others. It is widely accepted that people should not steal or murder. We believe that people should keep their word and that we should treat others how we want to be treated. As worrisome as the last days are, we must remember that “men of corrupt minds” will only be able to seize truth for so long before it is liberated.
1 John 5:20 (ESV): And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
In the end, truth is the light in a world of darkness. While some may attempt to manipulate or destroy the light; find comfort in the knowledge the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Find peace knowing in our darkest hour that truth will not disappoint us in anyway. Remember that truth cannot be bought, it cannot be altered, and it cannot be defeated. Blessed are those who find more comfort in speaking, hearing the painful truth, than they find in the comfort of a lie.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Jesus has a way with words that few (if any) can duplicate. Even though His statements can appear simple on the surface; the more we meditate on His words, the more meaning we can attain.
John 14:6 (ESV): Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Initially, we may contemplate the fact that Jesus is our Lord and Savior; remembering that He died on the cross for our sins. Understanding His sacrifice helps us to understand why the only way to “Come to the Father” is by confessing Jesus is the son of God; accompanied with the baptism for the remission of sin (Acts 2:38).
Romans 10:9 (ESV): Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
We may also consider the fact that Jesus is our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16); speaking to God on our behalf. He is the mediator and the reason we make our requests in the name of Jesus Christ.
John 16:23 (ESV): In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.
1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV): For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus
There is also the more literal approach of our ability to enter heaven. Jesus will be the judge on the Final Day and He will decide whether we will enter the Kingdom.
Matthew 25:31-32 (NIV): “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
In addition, the words that will be used to judge us on the Last Day are the words of Jesus Christ.
John 12:48 (NKJV): He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
Without going through Jesus, there is truly no way to “Come to the Father”. May we always be humble and recall that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light of our salvation.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Believers do not need to concern themselves with the motives and reasoning of an unbeliever; we just need to speak the truth in love. Reason being, it is difficult for us to judge the motive behind the actions of another person. We cannot with certainty explain why one person chooses not to go to church, nor can we with certainty explain why another person attends church. That is one of the reasons we are commanded not to pronounce judgments based on motives.
1 Corinthians 4:5 (ESV): Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Traditionally, light exposing darkness is referring to righteousness revealing the unrighteous; but not in this case. The darkness in the above verse represents the hidden motives of the heart. There is nothing inherently good or evil about unknown motives, but we are reminded that we cannot understand another’s heart on our own.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 (ESV): The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
On the last day, God is less interested in the number of deeds completed and more interested in the reason we performed those deeds. For example, if we were looking for praise on earth, not giving glory to God, or not doing it out of love; it would be of no benefit to us.
1 Corinthians 13:3 (NIV): If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Due to the standard by which God will judge, good people in our eyes will be condemned on the last day. God is going to weight the heart against the words in the Bible when deciding our judgment. It is vital we devote as much (if not more) time ensuring our motives are as pure as our actions.
Proverbs 21:2 (NKJV): Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.