By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
When it comes to pleasing God, He expects us to utilize all of our abilities to further His kingdom. Among many in the church today, there is the perception that woman cannot or should not work outside of the home. There is also the thought that men should not perform any of the work within the home.
Matthew 25:24-27 (ESV): He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
The idea we can sit on any blessing, whether financial or physical is contrary to the teachings in the Bible. God expects us to utilize everything He has blessed us with, without exception. In the parable of the talent, the person who received one talent, returned one talent and God was not pleased. As a point of reference, a talent typically weighed 33 kg (75 lbs.) and gold finished the week at a value of $1,212.90 per ounce. We should always remember the immense value of a gift from God and show our appreciation by using our blessing for His glory.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV): So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Whether the woman is working outside of the home or the man is working within the home, all things should be done for God’s glory. When we focus too much on the physical, we overlook the importance of the Spiritual. Ultimately, our work to further God’s kingdom is what pleases Him. Putting physical restrictions on the use of our blessings to keep one commandment at the expense of another is not. Both parents should make it a priority to raise faithful children. Whether they are working inside the home, outside of the home, or both does not guarantee this fact. Only by making it a priority to dedicate all of our blessings to furthering God’s kingdom can we guarantee our actions are pleasing to God.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
It is one of those questions we likely know the answer to, yet it is always good to confirm. This is especially true when we come across a passage that appears to contradict another. As we continue to study the word of God this is bound to happen at least once; though it should not be a point of concern. When we find what appears to be a contradiction, we first need to understand the word of God is inerrant and without error. We then need to study and reflect on our conclusions to see where we may have strayed from God’s word.
1 John 5:16 (ESV): If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.
When reading 1 John 5:16, it appears the Apostle John is saying there are some sins that do not lead to death. If this was the case, that would mean John does not agree with the Apostle Paul who said the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Paul did not limit or exclude sin in any way; his statement is laying out the consequences of all sin. In similar fashion, Paul says that all have sinned and as a result of our sin we have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Separation from God’s glory for eternity is what spiritual death is and Paul states it is the result of sin. We also know God told Adam and Eve if they transgressed by disobeying Him and eating of the tree of knowledge, they would “surely die” (Genesis 3:3).
If the wages of sin is confirmed throughout Scripture as death, then what is John talking about? There are many differing opinions on this topic, but with certainty he is not saying some sins do not cause a Spiritual death. The consensus is John is talking about a physical death. The differing opinions is in regard to which type of event caused the physical death. For example, under the Mosaic Law there were sins like murder that were punishable by execution (Numbers 35:30).
Numbers 35:30 (ESV): Suppose a person kills someone. Then that person must be put to death as a murderer. But do it only when there are witnesses who can tell what happened. Do not put anyone to death if only one witness tells what happened.
Others believe it could be speaking on sins that cause fatal diseases for the sinner.
1 Corinthians 11:29-30 (ESV): For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
Whether the physical death was brought by disease or the government; John is not contradicting Paul by saying some sins do not cause Spiritual damnation. Let us be mindful and diligent in our studies as we continue to follow the will of God.
One of the more difficult aspects of discipline is a willingness to be honest with each other. We were raised on the principle; if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all. If we think back to when we heard this saying, it probably had nothing to do with whether our statement was true. Kids oftentimes are the most honest people one would ever meet. Adults are taught to be “tactful” and “considerate”, but this is often at the expense of being honest and helpful.
Titus 1:10-13 (ESV): For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
The Apostle Paul did not want to allow ambiguity of words to cause Christians to misunderstand his message. Paul knew he had to be emphatic in his statements because souls were at risk. Jewish converts were trying to mingle Christianity with Judaism, but Paul understood that could not happen. In fact, Paul encouraged Christians to rebuke those who would misapply the words of God.
Titus 1:16 (ESV): They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Paul described them as liars, evil, and lazy; not because he did not like them, but because that is what they were. Anyone claiming to know and follow God, but did not keep His word is a liar. To not obey God is to be evil and to misapply His words are to be lazy. Paul is speaking with the simplicity of a child we all use to know. He is not interested in pandering, he is interested in saving everyone’s soul (including the people he called liars, evil, and lazy). Paul is hoping his words, along with the church’s words (assuming the church rebukes them as commanded) will create a change in their lives. Too often we are uncomfortable speaking the truth because we do not believe there is anything we can say to encourage change. Constructive criticism is not always fun, but it is beneficial and necessary. Imagine if no one was comfortable telling the lost they were lost; allowing them to believe God was pleased with their actions. If we love and care about each other, we will tell each other what we need to hear; regardless of how it may affect our relationship. Let us be as clear in our discernment and humble in our interactions; whether we are being corrected or correcting others.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Christians are told throughout Scripture to pray without ceasing. Assuming this cannot literally mean to pray twenty-hours a day, seven days a week; what are we to conclude when reading this verse?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV): Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
The Apostle Paul is telling us we should always be focusing on God and what He continues to do for us. It is a God first mindset that Paul wants Christians to have. Before any major decision is made, we should first consider how it may affect our spiritual life. Will this job make it easier or harder for me to go church; is it more or less conducive to my Christians morals? Paul wants us to reflect on Christ before we choose the people we are going to date. Does this person want to grow with me in faith or do they have other priorities? Focusing on God first should come as natural as breathing or blinking. Our body performs these functions naturally, without consideration; and that is what we should strive for with God.
Philippians 4:6 (ESV): Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
When our focus is on God, it will be easier for us to turn away from worry, fear, anxiety, and anger. Those feelings of uneasiness and discouragement only show up when we do not have a God-Conscience mentality. To return to a God-Conscience mindset, we only need to reset our mind on God through prayer and every prayer into thanksgiving. Paul throughout his Epistles is frequently speaking on anxiety, prayer, and thanksgiving. Paul tells the church in Ephesus that praying as an essential piece of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:18). Without prayer, we are likely to be depending on our own understanding first. That is not to say that we cannot come up with manageable or even productive ideas; it is to question where the best ideas come from? If all good things come from God above, then it should only make sense to speak with God first and foremost. God may show us an easier way than anything we thought was possible. He may provide us the calmness and clarity we need to see the situation as it is. A God focused mentality where we look to Him before we look to self is what praying without ceasing is talking about. Praying without ceasing requires a continual dependence on God and His plan; forgoing what we want and what we think is best.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Whenever we read in the Bible that Christians are promised the desires of their heart, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Psalm 37:4 (ESV): Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
If you are like me, you probably start off by listing some new gadget, a vacation to an interesting location, or even a new job. Oftentimes, we forget to start with the “delight yourself in the LORD” part. To delight ourselves in the Lord is to understand there is nothing more rewarding than obeying the commands of God.
Psalm 19:7-10 (ESV): The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
To delight in the LORD is to understand that our life on earth would be significantly better if we obey the word of God. Sometimes, it may seem like the commands of the Lord are restricting, but if we live long enough; we realize the laws of the Lord are freeing. It is sin that provides the illusion of freedom, while it is actually providing the chains of bondage. Sinful actions can have us imprisoned, confused, and full of regret; while obedience to God will offer clarity, peace, joy, and understanding. Sin will cost us our place in the kingdom of God; while obedience puts us on the path of righteousness, abiding in God’s will. It is to seek the Lord and His will with all of our being; and being willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to be closer to God that defines someone who delights in the Lord. If we focus on God and His commandments, our heart will desire nothing more than the Lord because it will understand there is nothing more precious than His word. Then as we gain and lose wealth, as we gain and lose adoration with the world; we will be unmoved because what is of value to the world is not of value to us. We understand that all good things come from above, and it is the Lord that gives and the Lord that takes away. That is why we pray for the will of God to be done in all situations, because we understand we would rather the will of God be done and it contradict our wishes than for our will to be done and contradict His wishes.