How many times have you heard yourself say, “It will be ok!” or “God will make it work out.”? As Christians, it seems we often use the promises of the Bible, or our interpretation of them, to make ourselves feel a little better.
The fact that God does not guarantee everyone a husband or wife, or the truth that some believers will. in fact, die a cruel and horrible death often sits on the back burner when we are reassuring our friends and ourselves that the future will be rosy because, well, we’ve got Jesus.
Contemplating these statements can often become a foundation for our faith and sideline the somewhat harsh truths and promises of the Bible. By our own misjudgments, we form unrealistic expectations of ourselves and God that can carry us through life and influence our behavior. Here are five lies Christians believe that don’t come from the Word.
1. We are invincible
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “All things are possible” have become a mantra for this generation, they fill us will an enthusiasm and fearlessness that makes us believe we can overcome everything and anything; yet so often believers will go into situations unprepared, naive and without the proper skills or spiritual authority to do God’s work.
Young people and those mature in their faith come of out these situations feeling flat, discouraged and somewhat disappointed in God. Why didn’t He make the impossible happen? Why didn’t he protect his people from the very evil they were crusading against?
As Christians, we have been given the commission to go to the lost and serve them, but we are still human. The infilling of the Spirit mixed with a maturity and accountability can help us assess what situations we have been asked to minister in. But we must remember, it is not us who are invincible, it is Christ.
2. We must always say “yes”
It can almost be guaranteed that every Sunday the preacher will emphasize the need for the Church (otherwise code for you) to serve others. This means picking up the reins and leading or helping with some ministry. Whether it is the plea of the Youth Pastor as they need more leaders or the harried looking volunteers in the kitchen preparing morning tea, the Church will always need people to say “Yes.”
As Christians, we feel it is our duty to do everything possible to help the Church and thus save the world. However too many yes’s can lead to burnout, stress and bitterness.
Be a servant and say yes, but be selective. If saying “Yes” to the Church is a “no” to your family or health, you may need to re-evaluate your time.
3. Success is measured by numbers
The number of salvations, church campuses, members or even weekly tithe can so often dictate what we and society view as a ‘successful’ church. Yet who is to say that the home church made of 10 people down the road is less fruitful than the multimillion dollar mega church on the hill?
Imagine if Christians began to measure success by looking at the evidence of Christ within the church community and how this translates to wider society instead of weighing the offering bags so their “cup runeth over.” In some ways, it seems Christians have begun to measure success in worldly variables rather than through the eyes of Christ. Wasn’t it He who said, “The last shall be first”?
4. The Pastor is always right
Even as Christians we have a tendency to place people on pedestals and hear their words as gospel. A pastor and church leadership have been placed in such a position by the authority of God and, as a congregation, we therefore need to respect them as the heads of the church.
But isn’t this a little awkward when they start preaching things out of doctrine? And what if they are behaving is some ways that aren’t quite Biblical? It is wise to respect your Pastor and church leadership, but it is also your responsibility to have an awareness of God and His word that will trigger if something isn’t right. Leaders are people too, and they will inevitably fail us. If we have a genuine relationship with Christ and are continually growing in Him, we are able to discern what is of Him and what is human.
5. We must be perfect
Somewhere along the line, Christians have translated Paul’s desire to aim for perfection into an obligation for all believers. The fact that we all began as sinners is shameful and sits at the recess of our memories, so we instead strive to do everything perfectly for Christ and, in the process, we aim to look good, feel good and appear holy to the people around us.
The fact is, once we have accepted Christ as our savior we are blameless in God’s sight; but we are still flesh, and we will struggle with the temptations and weaknesses of the world. We must face the fact that even though we love God and earnestly desire to please Him, we will make mistakes. Forgive yourself and those around you; it is the heart that seeks to do God’s will that defines your worth, not the opinion of the church congregation.