By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
The Bible is full of passages warning about the danger of allowing yourself to be angered. Even verses that are used to justify anger, fall short of a full endorsement.
Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV): Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul warns Christians to be on guard because anger can lead to sin. To help them avoid sinning when they are angry, Paul gives them a couple of good rules to live by. He tells them that they should not allow the sun to go down on their anger. This means the issue and their anger should die with the sunset. This ties in well with Paul’s expectation that Christian’s should bear one another’s burden and not keep records of wrongdoing (1 Corinthians 13:5-6).
Proverbs 19:11 (ESV): Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
It is a person’s glory from God to overlook the offense of another. There is a saying that we seek “justice” when something is done against us and we want “mercy” when we do something to another. By setting the expectation that the sun should not go down on our anger, Paul is implying that the issue should not continue to be brought up. The word for anger in Ephesians 4:26 could also be translated as irritation, indignation, or exasperation; meaning we should not continue to be frustrated or bothered by the actions of another.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 (ESV): Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
Psalm 37:8 (ESV): Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
You will notice that throughout Scripture, those who are angry are often compared to those who are fools or evil. While there is the example of Jesus being angered by the hardening of the hearts of those he was speaking to, Jesus did not have any ill-will with whom he was angered (Mark 3:5). The verse continues and says that Jesus was grieved (could also be translated as: felt great sympathy) by their stubbornness, meaning He wanted better for them… not himself. Oftentimes, anger is a sign of selfishness and shows an arrogant or prideful heart. That is why Paul ends his warning about anger by telling the church to give no opportunity to the devil. For in the manner in which we forgive others, that is the manner in which our Father will forgive us. We should not be angry for personal reasons and we definitely should not harbor ill-will. We should be willing to forgive and accept the glory that God promises for those who are willing to overlook the offense of another.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Those who trust in God will find themselves feeling confident and safe. Not confident in themselves per se, but confident in God’s ability to protect them. King David wrote the words found in the thirty-fourth Psalm after he was surrounded by Philistine enemies in the kingdom of Gath. In order to save himself from the hands of the Philistine king, David pretended to be a madman (1 Samuel 21:14).
Psalm 34:1-5 (ESV): I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
Even though David might have had to “embarrass” himself by pretending to be crazy, he was thankful to God for saving his life. David knew that he should have died that day. He fled his home because King Saul was attempting to kill him because God chose David to be the next King. With no where else to go, David found himself at the hands of the people he had been killing for so long. David was known for his fighting prowess as many sang a song about how King Saul killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands (1 Samuel 18:7). In fact, when the Philistines brought David before their king, they questioned if he was the David from the song.
Psalm 34:6-10 (ESV): This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
A common theme found throughout Scripture is that God exalts the humble. It is God’s will for all to be saved, and the best way to accomplish this feat is to prove God’s existence. By David choosing to change his behavior to that of a crazy person, it is clear to all who hear this story that God delivered him. By choosing to fear (trust and respect) the Lord, David ends up being delivered from danger. If you want to have the same feeling of confidence and safety that David possessed, you only need to humble yourself and he never stop praising the Lord’s name.
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.
Psalm 27:1-10 (ESV): The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
It is critical to understand that God is your salvation and nothing on earth comes close in comparison. Jesus puts it another way and asks what benefit is it for someone to gain the entire world and lose their soul (Mark 8:36)? Another way to think about His words is to ask yourself, what would I be willing to exchange my soul to receive? Would you be willing to trade your soul for an immaculate career? How about a perfect marriage? Maybe the promise for all your earthly dreams to come true?
Psalm 27:6-10 (ESV): And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.
When you take the time to put things in perspective, it becomes easier to remind yourself how insignificant things are on earth. As a result, fear should never be a part of your decision-making process. It is part of the reason that “cowards” do not inherit the kingdom of Heaven (Revelation 21:8). When fear prevails, you will find yourself compromising your faith to maintain the peace. Just as there is no wrath on earth that compares to the love of God, there is no love on earth that compares to the wrath of God. Stay committed to the Lord and everything else will take care of itself.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
There is always a temptation to lean on our own expertise when attempting to solve a problem. We feel that we know the person, we know the situation, so we know how to help. The first thing to do in any situation is to pray to God for guidance.
Isaiah 40:31 (ESV): But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
From a practical standpoint, taking a moment to collect your thoughts and properly access the situation is always beneficial. Reacting without thinking tends to exacerbate the situation, instead of soothing it. When someone wrongs you, the flesh immediately wants you to retaliate. We end up thinking the worst and assigning a motive based on our own preconceptions. Scripture encourages us to wait for the Lord, because it is God who provides our strength. When you feel drained by the trials of life, God is going to provide you the energy to continue. When you feel like you cannot take one more minute of mistreatment, God shows you that you have the strength to overcome their attacks for a lifetime.
Philippians 4:19 (ESV): And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes we worry about things like “fairness” and “justice” too much. When thinking about what you need, do you really need fairness to do what is right? Do you really need for someone else’s sinful nature to be exposed for you to feel justified? Sure, it would be nice if everyone played by the same rules and had the same opportunities. It would be great if everyone was willing to apologize and show genuine repentance before we had to consider being kind to them. Paul understands even though these things would be nice, they should not impact our actions. If we believe God will give us everything we need, then we must believe when something doesn’t happen that means we do not need it. If we did not get that job we are qualified for, then it must mean God does not think we need it at this moment. If someone never apologizes for mistreating you, then God must think you do not need to hear that apology. Scripture tells us that love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8), and it is to our glory to overlook an offense (Proverb 19:11). By focusing on what we need and waiting for God to provide us strength, we will be less concerned about personal justification; and more focused about heavenly blessings.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Is it acceptable if what you do for a living makes you happy? Better yet, is it acceptable if what you do for a living makes you miserable? The job you secured was no small task and it is surely not something you should take for granted. There are upwards of 100+ people who apply for every open job. The work you put in to position yourself a cut above the rest shows you are diligent and resourceful.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (ESV): I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.
We are to be joyful in all our endeavors because they are a gift from God. Your job, your education, and your lifestyle are the result of God showering blessings on you. The work you put in to multiply your gift is similar to the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30). It pleases God when you put in the work to grow your gifts.
Proverbs 22:9 (ESV): Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men
There are several passages throughout Scripture where the skilled are being recognized. God wants us to find joy in our toils, even though they can be grinds. Things are not going to come easy, and you have to be motivated by something other than personal gain. Scripture says we are to work our jobs as if we are working for God (Colossians 3:23). When we look at every opportunity as an opportunity to further the kingdom of God, we will be suited to work with love and patience.
2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV): Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Work ethic is not something you can turn on like a switch. Either you are responsible and committed, or you are someone who does the minimal and hopes to get by. The apostle Paul refers to himself as the most zealous and it is evident in all aspects of his life. When he was persecuting the church, he was signing the death certificates and dragging Christians out of hiding. When he became an apostle, he wrote the majority of the books in the New Testament, worked without accepting pay, trained disciples, and traveled to spread the word. Paul found joy serving the Lord in all aspects of his life. His second job as a tentmaker allowed him the ability to decline pay from the church. While it may have appeared to be unrelated to the church, Paul allowed the churches to help others every time he declined pay. Is it okay to be happy with the work you do? Yes, as long as you understand the glory goes to God and everything you accomplish is a blessing from Him.