Have you ever wondered what was the difference between David and Saul? Saul was the first king of Israel, but God rejected him from being king and selected David to replace him.
But what did Saul do that was so bad to cause him to be rejected as king by God? When you look at all that David did, and then you look at what Saul did, it seems incredible that Saul was rejected, and David was called a man after God’s own heart!
I mean, think about it! David took another man’s wife, got her pregnant, and then had her husband killed in an attempt to cover-up his sin! And what did Saul do? All Saul did was spare the life of an enemy king and save some livestock that God had told him to kill and destroy!
The ultimate difference between David and Saul was their response when confronted with their sins. When the prophet Samuel confronted Saul about his disobedience, Saul insisted that he had indeed obeyed the Lord, even though Samuel could hear the sound of the livestock, which was evidence of Saul’s disobedience! However, when the prophet Nathan confronted David, David acknowledged his sin and repented!
Therein was the difference; Saul denied his wrong and tried to justify his disobedience, but David admitted his wrong and repented of his sin! The Bible says in Proverbs 28:13, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
My friends, none of us are perfect and no matter how we try to do right, from time to time, we will do wrong! The key to forgiveness and God’s grace is not to double-down, doggedly denying our transgressions, but rather to admit our mistakes and make the needed adjustments. That was the difference between David and Saul, and that is the difference between forgiveness and condemnation.
I truly believe, with every fiber of my being, that the most important factor in life IS NOT what happens to us, but rather it is HOW WE RESPOND to what happens to us! And for the most part, how we respond to what happens to us is habitual. In other words, when something happens, we don’t think about how to respond, we just automatically respond the way we’ve always responded to similar occurrences.
These learned habitual responses are formed during our childhood and if they are not modified or adjusted, they will continue throughout our adulthood. This is what I believe is the problem in many situations in our country today!
A child is naturally selfish, self-centered, and insists on having its own way. When that is denied, the child responds with a temper tantrum, which involves aggressive behaviors. As part of the child’s social development, a good parent teaches the child how to share, how to respect the property of others, how to accept disappointment, how to accept ’No’ for an answer. All of this is part of the child’s maturing process.
I believe what we are witnessing in our culture today are the actions, responses, attitudes of people who have reached the age of maturity, but have yet to mature! At the same time, we are also witnessing the actions of children who have been allowed access to ‘grown-up toys’ too soon!
The Apostle Paul said: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11 NET) But it’s hard to put away childish ways when they have been allowed to grow uninhibited to the point where they have been habitually ingrained into the subconscious.
The answer? Be conscious! Nearly 95% of what we do every day is done as a subconscious habit! In other words, we live most of our life on autopilot! For instance, if I were to ask you: “What shoe did you put on first this morning?” More than likely, you couldn’t tell me! But I can tell you that it was the same one you put on first every morning!
So, here’s your homework. Tomorrow morning BEFORE you put on your shoes STOP! Take note of which one you reach for, and then put on the other one first! Try this every day for at least 21 days! It will be hard at first, but if you are consistent and don’t cheat, by the end of the 21 days, you will be putting on the opposite shoe with the same ease as you were putting on the other shoe!
Now, after you’ve mastered that, stop and think about the non-productive or negative responses to situations you always find yourself engaging in. Then, the next time a ‘trigger’ situation occurs, BEFORE, you respond STOP AND THINK: Is my response appropriate or proportional to the situation? Am I trying to kill a roach with a hammer?
You see, you respond that way because you have always (habitually) responded that way! It just might be that your response is inappropriate and non-productive. If that is the case, then you need to change your response!
Don’t settle for the false belief that that’s just the way you are and you can’t change because you can! You can change any response the same way you can change what shoe you put on first every morning!
Change your thinking; change your habits! Change your habits; change your responses! Change your responses; change your life!
Remember, it’s not the problem that’s the problem! It’s how you respond to the problem, that’s the problem! And often times, if you would just stop and think instead of just automatically responding the way you’ve always responded, you just might discover that the problem is not a problem at all!
Here’s a thought: Today marks my 62nd birthday! As I reflect, I can remember when I was a child, thinking people who were 50 were old! I definitely don’t think that anymore!
But as I reflect on this moment in my life, I understand and accept the reality that I do not have as long as I have had! I know I do not have 62 more years on this earth! I know, in the best case scenario, within 15 to 20 more years, I will cash in my chips!
I am not saying this to be morbid, pessimistic, or anything of that sort. I am thankful for the time I have had! I am thankful for spending all of these years in good health! Nevertheless, I know that my day is headed toward the sunset and the night!
Therefore, I will endeavor to be even more careful with my time and more selective with my activities. I’m striving even more than I have in the past, to make every moment count! So please excuse me if I no longer indulge in idle, fruitless, or negative activities. I am past putting a premium on ‘having fun,’ I am striving to have and leave a positive impact on the lives of others!
They tell me that during World War II, all throughout Europe, was found, scribbled in many places, the phrase: “Kilroy was here!” It is my desire, that after I am gone, my epitaph will not be restricted to being etched in stone in some cemetery somewhere, but that it will also be written in the hearts of all those who knew or even heard of me, letting the world know: “Harold Miller, Jr., was here!”
Has anybody ever told you how awesome you are? Well, if they haven’t, let me tell you, you are AWESOME with a capital A!
Now you might wonder why would I make such an assessment when I don’t even know you? Well, you are part of the human community and according to the Bible, you bear the image of God! What does that mean? It means that in spite of your flaws, imperfections, and insecurities, you are designed for God to manifest His life and love through you!
God created this whole world, just for you! When things went haywire, God sent His Son into the world, and that Son died a cruel death to get you back! And then God raised that Son from the dead as a stamp of approval of what the Son did and as a guarantee that if you trust Him with your life, even after you die, one day you will be resurrected as well!
I know, it sounds incredible, especially when you look at the mess this world is in today! But this world is in such a mess because there is an enemy that has blinded the minds of so many people to the truth I just shared with you! But I’m telling you right now: If you think it’s hopeless; that’s a lie! If you think your life doesn’t matter; that’s a lie! If you think life is not worth living; that’s a lie!
Be encouraged my friend! You are valued, you are loved, and you matter! No matter where you are in your life right now, the God of Heaven and Earth wants to lift you to a higher plane! He wants you to live in and enjoy the benefits of His Kingdom, not just after you die, but also right now and right here!
Want to know more? Find a Bible version you can easily understand and read Psalm 8. You will find out that you are royalty!
I didn’t mean for this post to be this long, but I just wanted to encourage you! Hold your head up! Be encouraged! No matter what’s going on, you are loved! You are valued! You matter! And you can make it! YOU ARE AWESOME!
How many times have you heard your pastor, some preacher, your favorite evangelist, or heard a song say: “The Bible says: ‘God won’t put no more on you/us than you/we are able to bear!” How did you feel when you heard that? Well, you should have felt like something’s not quite right! Why? Because the Bible DOESN’T SAY THAT, and GOD DOESN’T OPERATE LIKE THAT!
Even before discussing what the Bible actually says, let’s consider the implications of that widely believed, yet false premise. What kind of God would ‘put something on you,’ and then offer to relieve your burdens, only after you pray for relief? That’s a sick and sadistic god! Definitely NOT THE GOD revealed in the Bible! If you actually believed in a god like that, you would have some sort of resentment, even if it was only subconscious! One of the reasons the world rejects our faith is because so many of us who profess faith misrepresent faith by making statements that sound good but make no sound theological sense, such as the statement of this discussion!
Now, here’s what the Bible actually says: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV.
Now, let’s break the verse down: The Greek word for ‘temptation’ in the verse is a word defined as; ‘a test, an enticement to do evil, adversity, or affliction.’ The phrase: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man,” means whatever you are going through IS NOT a unique situation! You’re not the only one, others have and are going through what you are going through! What you think is unique to you is actually quite common to everybody!
God is faithful and God will not suffer (allow) you to be tempted/tried/afflicted/burdened above/beyond what you are able, but with whatever you’re going through, God will provide a way for you to escape so that you may be able to bear/handle it.
Now notice, Paul did not say the temptation/trial/affliction came from God! James said in James 1:13: “Let no man say when he is tempted (same Greek word Paul used in our verse), ‘I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man.” Wow! James actually said, we are not to say what we’ve been saying because God doesn’t roll (operate) like that!
The gist of the matter is this: Whatever trials, afflictions, burdens or adversities we face; GOD DIDN’T PUT THEM ON US! And James tells us not to say that! But the GOOD NEWS is that God is faithful, in that God will not allow whatever we’re going through to be more than we are able to bear! Paul said, God will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape. In other words, the answer is in the question, within whatever you’re going through is your relief, and there is a blessing within your burden!
When we say, “God won’t put no more on us than we are able to bear,” we misrepresent the character and nature of God. God is not the source of our burdens, sin is! We live in a sin-cursed and fallen world. But when we encounter the various burdens and afflictions that everyone encounters and goes through, we (believers) can rely upon a faithful God who will not allow whatever we’re going through to be more than we are able to handle! The real message is this: If God allowed you to come it, (or it to come to you), God will help you through it! Whatever your burdens may be, what the enemy has designed for your defeat, God wants to use for your good! Don’t curse the darkness, just light a candle because we serve a God who is able to turn our stumbling-blocks into stepping-stones!