Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sayings that I'm Glad Aren't Bible Verses

There are a number of sayings that seem to float around in conversations and writings until they are so established in the minds of people that they seem to, in and of their very prevalence, become a sort of unquestioned and misleading "truth"--but I'm glad I don't have to depend on them, apply or practice them in my own life! We encounter them all the time. The Jews also dealt with similar things, such as the traditions of men that Jesus warned about in Matthew 15:3, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" That's why the Bible says, "Test everything; cling to what is good." We are supposed to make sure, according to the Scriptures, to test every idea and whether it's biblical, in part because our thoughts impact our actions and our ability to obey our God. This post will, most likely, have more things added with time.

1. Cleanliness is next to godliness. I've known plenty of ungodly clean people and plenty of godly messy people. Sometimes when you put God's priorities first they aren't about scrubbing out your sink. Sure, cleanliness and order are important, but not more important than serving others. (If I waited until my housekeeping was done to do anything else, we'd still be waiting!)

2. God helps those who help themselves. Well, He may want you to do what you can, but He also wants you to fully rely on and obey Him in the process. And He doesn't want you to help yourself at the expense of others, but more likely help others at the expense of yourself.

3. Follow your heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" If that is the case, I don't want it leading me anywhere.

4. Millions and millions of years ago....(usually followed in one way or another with the result that your great granddaddy came from a puddle of primordial ooze.) I think having been crafted in the amazing hands of a loving father is infinitely more elegant and more likely. My daughter has been studying biology this year and the beauty and complexity of the cell structure is so fantastic to her. It reminds me of my college days, discovering that God had to exist when I was taught cell division. How could any of that possibly happen by chance in such vast array as all the animals and plants that have appeared on the earth? In Isaiah 6:3, the angels said, "The whole earth is full of His glory." I am convinced that this is true from the large view, looking out at the universe, to the micron view of the atom and the molecule and the cell.

5. I can't forgive myself. The God of the Bible, the Creator of the universe can forgive you if you ask Him; if He can, who are you to not do so? You'll be putting yourself above Him if you don't, saying you know better. But He does, actually. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Romans 8:1 says "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." If His forgiveness is not enough, then Jesus died in vain.

6. It's impossible. Nothing is impossible when God is in control. In Luke 18:27, Jesus says, "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God."

7. There are many ways to God. I'm thankful that the Bible holds that there is only one way. If there were as many ways as society presents, salvation would be confusing and we'd never know whether we had it right. Jesus is clear when He says in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Acts 4:12 says, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

8. He who dies with the most toys wins. If it were based on that, existence would be entirely too shallow! I think most of us consciously see through this, but it seems to be human nature to collect "stuff" and have that be what we serve. Most of my fingers are pointing at myself! Jesus said that "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." I am nowhere close to that example, but I would like to be more so.

9. Finders keepers, losers weepers. Wait until you're on that losing end and see if you don't want that rule retracted! All it is is opportunism and stealing. That rule has never held in our house and never will.

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