As mentioned in last week’s post, that a phrase is popular among believers does not exactly mean it is scriptural. We also came into the understanding that just because a thing is not outrightly a sin does not make it harmful to one’s spiritual growth. Here are three more phrases that we often say that are not in line with the gospel.
“Heaven helps those who help themselves”.
The first question is who told you that you can help yourself? I understand the motive behind this statement and that it is just a charge for people to not sit idle or throw a pity party for themselves, but, as logical as this saying is, it is not scriptural. By our own powers we can do nothing to help ourselves. The correct charge should be that God blesses the works of our hands; highlighting the fact that when a person lies in idleness, he leaves God with nothing to bless. How can heaven help someone who has already helped himself? God is a gentleman and He won’t interfere with your actions; if you feel you can, by your ability, then He’d leave you to it. However, for us as believers we should be different. Our ability lies in His ability and our can is dependent on His can, therefore, all our help comes from Him. With a mindset that “heaven helps those who help themselves”, it is easy for a person to begin to feel self-righteous. “Although heaven helped, me I contributed to the righteousness I now have”; that is what we make it seem like. In Christ we live, move and have our being…in Christ! He helps us, we don’t help ourselves. What we do is to ask the blessings of God upon our labor and remember that God does not bless idle hands. [Deuteronomy 28:12; Philippians 2:13; John 15:4-5; Psalm 54:4; Acts 17:28].
“I gave my life to Christ”.
A very common phrase amongst believers that is shockingly unscriptural is “I gave my life to Christ”. This statement being a harmless statement is often used to express that a person is born-again. However, it is made from a standpoint of ignorance. In the first place, as unbelievers we never had any life to give. Scripture says we were dead in our sins…that is, though we were living, we weren’t alive. How could we possibly give our lives to the One who laid His life for us? Salvation is not an exchange of lives; you are not “giving” your life to Christ in exchange for His. He gave you His life and by so doing transferred you from the kingdom of darkness (death and sorrow) to His own kingdom; a kingdom of eternal life. We were made alive the day we accepted Christ Jesus as our Lord so in essence, we never had any life to give. Thinking that we gave our lives to Him could make a few of us begin to see ourselves as part-players in salvation. Rather than saying “I gave my life to Christ” say “I accepted the life of Christ”. Remember, there is absolutely nowhere in the bible where it is mentioned that a person “gave his life to Christ” We are the receivers, God is the giver. [Ephesians 2:1-2; Colossians 1:13-14; Romans 6:23; John 6:53; Colossians 2:13; 1 John 3:16]
“God won’t give you more than you can handle
Sometimes, as a means of encouragement to brothers and sisters in Christ going through tough times, we tend to say things like “God won’t give you more than you can handle” and this is also a very unscriptural saying because God could actually allow you have more than you can handle. What God won’t allow upon us beyond our capacity, is temptation. God won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your capacity but you surely can be challenged beyond your ability. How else are we going to develop trust and reliance on God if we can always handle our challenges ourselves? This is not to say God is sending us challenges just so we can rely on Him but when a challenge huger than us is coming our way, He may decide to allow it to help us grow our trust in Him and by so doing we in turn become stronger in faith and mature as Christians. Sometimes when we are faced with difficult difficulties, those are the times we come into a deeper realization of just how magnificent God is and we get deeper with God. Apostle Paul for example was faced with a challenge that was too much for him but he learnt to rely more on God at that moment. Why else would God tell us His grace s sufficient for us? It’s because there are times when our strength would not be able to see us through and we would need something greater like His grace. The idea that God cannot give us or allow us have more than we can handle is what makes many believers overworked and some even leave the faith. Such people feel the need to keep struggling to overcome these challenges in their jurisdiction. Some would pray and fast for days and see no change because they’re handling the challenge with a view that they can conquer it themselves but the truth is, some challenges are to bring us into a deeper understanding of God. [2 Corinthians 1:8-10; 2:9; John 15:1-5]
The problem with unscriptural sayings is not just that they are unscriptural but that they could yield unrighteous fruits such as the feeling of self-righteousness such as in the ones studied today. Don’t just say something because it sounds spiritual or because many churches say it, be sure to always check with the Scriptures. You know that what you constantly say becomes your way of thinking and it forms your way of life.