By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
How we view the world is directly related to the beliefs we have. Some of our beliefs are based on the country we were born, the region we grew up in, our ethnicity and even the traditions our parents taught us. As a result, we see things differently. We can have the best intentions, but our beliefs can cloud our judgement and impede our decision-making process.
Proverbs 16:1-6 (ESV): The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
This helps explain why you may have had a disagreement with someone and everyone believes the other person is the one that needs to apologize. As Scripture depicts, each of us sees our actions as pure. That is why it is crucial for us to be humble and unassuming in our interactions. If we are humble and respectful of the desires of others more than our own, we allow ourselves the ability to recognize the possibility that our beliefs are not founded in reality. While it may seem like “overkill” for God to call the arrogant person an “abomination”, it is important to understand the full implications of their arrogance.
Proverbs 16:16-19 (ESV): How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.
A prideful person who believes their perception of reality is always correct is going to have a misunderstanding of most situations. They will likely find themselves assuming the worst of others, while frequently giving themselves the benefit of the doubt. With an improper understanding, they will entertain evil and make statements that offend others. It will also be near impossible for them to be convinced they are wrong about anything. As a result, a prideful person cannot be helped and their pride will be lead to their downfall. They believe their actions are pure, but they are contradicting the word of God. Each of us must be vigilant and on-guard against the misunderstandings of the heart by always being humble and meek in our interactions. Otherwise, we will find ourselves on the wrong side of the gates of heaven, confused as to where everything went wrong.
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.
As a child, my parents made it clear I was to live in a manner that would not embarrass my family or me. My dad would go a step further and say, your name is all you have at the end of the day. They can take your job, they can take your friends, and they can take your wealth; but they cannot take your name. The writer of Ecclesiastes is expressing the same sentiment. He wants the reader to understand dying with a good name is better than being born in wealth.
Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 (ESV): A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
We already know the writer of Ecclesiastes believes that life on this earth is a life “full of vanity and misery”. It stands to reason that the writer is reminding us that the indulgences of the flesh are not beneficial in the long-run. As a result, it is better to mourn at a funeral than it is to celebrate at a wedding. It is better to find sorrow than it is to find laughter. Notice that those who are wise (because they are living a life that is pleasing to God) are in the house of mourning. The wise can see the “vanity and misery” of the world, so they do not indulge in the pleasures of this earth. It is only the fools who are focused on short-term pleasure, while living in a world of corruption and misery. Maintaining a good name in spite of the ability to prosper through wickedness and corruption, shows one’s ability to focus on God and His ultimate reward on Judgment Day.
Proverbs 22:1-4 (ESV): A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all. The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.
The apostle Paul speaks on the love of money being the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). People are willing to steal, cheat, and make decisions based on personal gain when they love money. However, when you are focused on maintaining a good name, you are humble and live a life of respect to the Lord. You are focused on spreading the name of God and furthering His kingdom, even if that is at the expense of your well-being. In addition to the fact that people will find it difficult to speak ill of you, you will not be tempted by all the world has to offer. You will stay clearheaded, understanding that the precious ointment of the world comes at a great cost. Focus on humbly maintaining your good name in the Lord and everything else will take care of itself.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Accountability goes a long way in helping you to improve some aspect of your life. However, for it to work, you need to be honest with yourself and others. When someone is compelled to ask the body of Christ for forgiveness, they are not only repenting, but they are asking for help to stay on the path of righteousness.
Galatians 6:1-5 (ESV): Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
When you help someone deal with a temptation, you must always be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Even though your goal is to help them change something about their life, if you are not careful, you may be the one changing. Even if their temptation is not a temptation to you, you need to remain humble in their time of need. An arrogant heart can make us susceptible to other transgressions. We are expected to bear each other’s burden (have a sympathetic heart), and if we allow ourselves to believe we are better than someone else’s situation, we risk appearing unsympathetic and insensitive.
James 5:16 (ESV): Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
It is all too common for Christians to look at their own situation and believe they are wiser or better than someone else. Paul says anyone who believes that is deceiving themselves as we have all fallen short of the glory of the Lord. By pretending to be something we are not, we are only cheating ourselves out of being healed. By openly sharing our shortcomings with others, we receive an accountability partner and prayers of restoration. That is why Paul advices us to test our works. The better we know our own heart, the less likely we will look down on others when they transgress. Which will ultimately aid us in being more compassionate and sympathetic when helping others.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
God wants us to know that He is there for us whenever we need Him. If you are in need of a friend, He will be your closest confidant. If you need some advice, He will be your trusted counselor. If you need protection, He will be your shield. God will strengthen you in the way you need and when you need Him most.
Isaiah 41:9-11 (NIV): I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.
Whether you are believer or a nonbeliever, you will face some form of persecution. As a believer, our objective is to only face persecution for Christ’s sake, never from our own misdeeds. The problem does not come from persecution, but from fear to persuading us to trust in something other than God. When your trust in God fades, you start to lean on the security of the world. You start to befriend the strong and vote for the powerful; even though they reflect the traits you should avoid the most.
Proverbs 29:25-26 (ESV): The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.
The apostle Paul encourages Christians to remain faithful to God in the face of persecution. Paul reminds Timothy that Christians do not have a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love and self-control. Your victory is in the life, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and there is no weapon on this earth that can change that. It is only by us relying on what the world has to offer that can alter our fate.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV): For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
What makes succumbing to fear so damaging is the fact that it requires a person to believe that God is not trustworthy. Whether you do not trust in His will or you trust too much in the will of man, you are leaning too much on your own understanding. When we trust ourselves more than we trust God, we begin to rationalize, justify and compromise our values. Paul wants us to remember that the power of God’s love is all we need, and even if that does not provide what we want here on earth, it will surely be more than we ever dreamed in heaven.