June 28, 2022

5 Christian Clichés That Have to Die

“Books don’t change folks,” observes John Piper. “Paragraphs do. Generally even sentences.”

A superb sentence is a present. We love discovering advanced fact shrink-wrapped in clear, easy, memorable kind. It’s why Charles Spurgeon, C. S. Lewis, and Tim Keller are dominating a newsfeed close to you. Even God likes pithy statements — a minimum of sufficient to breathe out a complete ebook of them.

However one-liners aren’t all the time useful. Generally, in our need to simplify fact, we will trivialize and even obscure it. And to obscure the reality is to inform a lie.

Listed below are 5 in style Christian clichés that aren’t biblical and subsequently want a memorial service.

1. “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

I admire the center behind this assertion. It’s true, in any case, that God can do something He pleases (Jer. 32:27), that He typically redirects our course (Prov. 16:9), and that He by no means abandons His personal (Heb. 13:5).

But when God closes a door in your life, there’s no assure He’ll open a window. He might not open something. He might want you to appreciate you’ve gotten the incorrect deal with.

Scripture is stuffed with examples of the Spirit closing doorways, home windows and some other conceivable entrance to maintain one from heading within the incorrect course or on the incorrect time (Prov. 16:9; 19:21; Acts 16:6–7).

I as soon as heard calling described because the trifecta of affinity, potential and alternative. Do you prefer it, are you able to do it and is there an open door? Now there are uncommon occasions when, if the third piece isn’t in place, God might want you to interrupt down the door. Missionary martyr Jim Elliot as soon as stated that numerous of us are sitting round ready for a name when what they want is a kick within the pants.

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However what if God has one thing else for you totally? What if He doesn’t need you to maneuver to that metropolis, or take that job, or enter that relationship — whether or not by door or window?

Perhaps He needs you to reevaluate in mild of affinity, potential and alternative — your inner needs, your confirmed giftings and your precise choices.

2. “You’re by no means extra protected than whenever you’re in God’s will.”

Insofar as the protection right here is everlasting, or means one thing like “in the best place,” this maxim is gloriously true. Virtually each time I hear it, although, the individual is referring to bodily security.

Years in the past as I used to be making ready to grow to be a missionary in a closed nation, well-meaning believers assured me God would defend me from hurt since He had known as me.

Jesus appears to disagree:

You can be delivered up even by mother and father and brothers and kinfolk and associates, and a few of you they’ll put to dying. You can be hated by all for my identify’s sake. However not a hair of your head will perish. (Luke 21:16–18)

A few of you they’ll slaughter. However you’ll be totally protected. Huh?

These guarantees sound contradictory, however they’re not. Justin Martyr (AD 100–165) was virtually definitely reflecting on this passage when he stated, “They’ll kill us however they can not hurt us.”

I really like that. Solely a Christian might say one thing so loopy.

God has promised us many great issues; bodily security isn’t one among them. Brutal life circumstances are regular in a fallen world. Pursuing God might even lead you into better bodily hazard. However you may be spiritually alive and eternally safe.

3. “Let go and let God.”

At its greatest, this phrase highlights the worth of give up. God is God, and you aren’t, so lay down your résumé, your excuses, your fears.

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All too typically, although, the phrase is wielded as if the image of Christianity is just not a cross however a sofa. It’s subtly used to place the brakes on striving, on working, on effort.

Now, if “let go and let God” solely referenced the second of justification, it might be fantastic. But it surely usually refers back to the technique of sanctification, which is something however passive.

The Christian life is grueling. When Paul displays on it, he doesn’t consider sunsets and naps however troopers and athletes and farmers (2 Tim. 2:3–6). He thinks of operating tracks and boxing rings (1 Cor. 9:24–27).

We’re known as to work out what God has already labored in us, laboring not for our salvation however from it (Phil. 2:12–13). This dynamic of restful vigilance (Matt. 11:28­–30; 16:24) — what the Puritans known as “holy sweat” — lies on the coronary heart of Christian expertise.

As J. I. Packer as soon as put it, “The Christian’s motto shouldn’t be ‘Let go and let God’ however ‘Belief God and get going.’”

4. “God won’t offer you greater than you’ll be able to deal with.”

In a tradition that tells us we could be something we need, this motivational slogan is supposed to encourage, to reassure us that life received’t be too arduous. There shall be challenges, certain, however God is aware of my limits. He received’t overdo it.

The issue, although, is that God will offer you greater than you’ll be able to deal with. He’ll do it to make you lean on Him. He’ll do it as a result of He loves you.

Over the previous few years, few issues have inspired my soul greater than the letters of John Newton (1725–1807), the previous slave dealer who penned “Wonderful Grace.” In a single letter to a widow fearing dying, Newton writes:

Although our frames and perceptions might range, the report of religion regarding [the time of death] is identical. The Lord often reserves dying power for a dying hour … When the time shall arrive which he has appointed on your dismissal, I make little doubt however that he’ll overpower all of your fears, silence all of your enemies, and offer you a snug, triumphant entrance into his kingdom. You don’t have anything to worry from dying; for Jesus, by dying, has disarmed it of its sting, has perfumed the grave, and opened the gates of glory for his believing folks.

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The excellent news is just not that God received’t give us greater than we can deal with; it’s that He received’t give us greater than He can deal with.

5. “God helps those that assist themselves.”

I’m not conscious of a press release extra generally misidentified as a Bible verse. And the truth that it originates from Benjamin Franklin — not God’s Phrase — is one of the best information you’ll encounter at present.

If God solely helps those that assist themselves, we’re all sunk. However He didn’t come for ethical standouts; He got here for ethical failures (Matt. 9:12–13; Luke 19:10). He got here for us.

Whereas this slogan could also be a fantastic abstract of the instructing of different religions, all the message of Christianity hinges on the truth that, as Charles Spurgeon as soon as quipped, “God helps those that can’t assist themselves.” Certainly, He helps those that humble themselves, who repent and depend on Jesus alone.

Reality Is Loving

Whereas the center behind these 5 mantras is usually real, they’re all unhelpful for one overriding motive: They’re unbiblical.

Talking biblically isn’t only a matter of fact; it’s a problem of affection. God’s phrases, in any case, are true and good for the world. Could we love our neighbors by stewarding our phrases, and should we steward our phrases by talking what’s true. For love rejoices with the reality (1 Cor. 13:6).

Copyright 2016 Matt Smethurst. All rights reserved.