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.
The body of Christ is expected to be honest with each other because of the benefits the truth provides. When we tell each other the truth, it provides an opportunity to defend or correct an action.
Ephesians 4:25 (NIV): Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Speaking the truth in love also motivates us to make sure we are accurate in our questions and critiques. When we are silent and avoid the truth, the process of correction is nullified. Those who would make a change for a better if provided the opportunity are never afforded one. The preparation we would undertake to make sure everything we said was accurate is also voided. As one body, it is our responsibility to make sure we are all right with God. It is our responsibility to love others more than we love ourselves, and that often means leaving our comfort zone. There is a misconception that telling people what they need to hear is worse than accepting someone no matter the issue. When we accept someone no matter the issue, we are essentially saying we don’t believe they have the potential to be better. We believe they are going to hear our words, get offended and the only thing that will change is their perception of us. Even if that is the case, if we love others more than we love ourselves we will be willing to put our relationship on the line for their wellbeing. That was a problem the church in Corinth was unwilling to face. The Apostle Paul was bewildered by the fact the church allowed a member to be married to his father’s wife (1 Corinthians 5:1) without anyone correcting him. The problem with an unwillingness to correct each other is we are allowing the only opportunity for correction to be the Judgement Day, and by then it will be too late.
1 Timothy 1:5 (ESV): The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
When we love each other the way Christ loves us, we will be willing to do anything to save them from destruction. The Apostle Paul describes it as keeping a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. When we know something that can help someone and we don’t offer to help them, it should weigh on us. It should be difficult for us to keep a good conscience knowing what awaits the unfaithful. The Bible says it is a sin when we know right and do not make an effort to live righteously (James 4:17). With this being the case, how can we keep a pure heart if we are sinning when we are not honest with each other? A pure heart is one that is aligned with Christ, walking the path of righteousness in truth and Spirit. Our faith and hope is Jesus Christ and His return for us. If we are sincere in our faith, we will proclaim the Gospel until his return; and that requires us to honest and truthful with each other.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
When we find ourselves suffering, we may discover ourselves questioning God’s plan. This is especially true when we feel we have been suffering for an extended period of time. I think we all understand that bad things happen to good people, but we feel it should pass at some point. When the time of what we consider “reasonable” expires, we can grow impatient and wonder why is this happening. We may wonder if God is pleased with us, or if He is trying to provoke a change in our life; but sometimes suffering comes by chance as it “rains on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Sometimes suffering come by way of the people we associate with and the situations we put ourselves in; and yes suffering can come because God is trying to get our attention.
1 Peter 4:19 (ESV): Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Even though we may find ourselves suffering while here on earth, we should find comfort if our soul is right with the Lord. The faithful understand in a world full of sin that suffering is a part of life. While peace and happiness on earth is promised to no one, it is promised to those who are faithful until death (Revelations 2:10).
1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV): Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
The Apostle Peter encourages the church by first making sure the church understood that trials are going to come. Jesus Christ himself said the world will hate His followers because the world hated Him first (John 15:8). Peter’s response to suffering is the same response we find throughout Scripture - focus on the eternal reward. It is like any lesson we face; we will not remember the journey when we attain the reward. We tell our children to eat their vegetables first so they can get a dessert. While they are focusing on the vegetables, they are unable to understand and appreciate the reward waiting for them. Sometimes, our children will handle the trial so poorly, they put their reward at risk. It is important we keep in mind our reaction to the various trials we face. Our reaction will not affect whether or not we have the trial, it can only affect whether or not we get our reward. Just like our children’s reaction doesn’t affect whether they will have to eat the vegetables, it only affects whether they get the dessert. Let us be mindful and focus on the reward, understanding that suffering for Christ’s sake is a badge of honor we should feel privileged to partake in.