One day as I was driving through a poor area of town headed to a federal prison to minister, I saw a homeless man walking down the street pushing a cart full of what looked like junk. His head was down. His shoulders were slumped. It hurt my heart to see him in this condition, especially knowing what he had been created and destined to be… a man made in God’s image.
Upon arriving at the prison, I saw women who had made mistakes and were paying the price for them. Many of them also had heads that hung down low ashamed and discouraged. God had plans for them that did not include what they were going through now. He had plans of peace and well-being for them and not for evil (Jeremiah 29:11).
There is an enemy of our soul and his desire is to beat us down (Psalm 143:3). But God has come not to beat people down, but to lift them up.
I came across this scripture again recently and it was just so powerful and so beautiful. It blessed me.
But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. (Psalm 3:3, KJV)
But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. (Psalm 3:3, NKJV)
Man was crowned by God with glory and honor (Psalm 5:5, Hebrews 2:7). In First Peter 5:6 we are told that if we humble ourselves before God, He will “exalt you in due time.” God wants to build and lift people up. It is the enemy who tears people down.
Throughout His instructions to the church found in the New Testament, we are told to “edify” one another. What does that word mean? To build one another up.
That day I didn’t have time to stop and talk to that homeless man. (There are pretty strict rules about time when visiting a federal prison). But I did get the opportunity to share God’s love and His word with those ladies in the prison. And they were holding their heads a little higher that day.