As I am writing this musing, I am sitting in the parking lot of the Department of Motor Vehicles waiting for a friend. You ought to hear some of the conversations. You can hear some amazing “advice” and thoughtful insight for living from others. The trouble is, a lot of the time, those encouraging statements are just not true. They may be well meaning, but often they come to us from someone who lacks a true understanding of truth.
That’s why the Word of God is so important. We need an authority to help us ferret through these man-made directives. Let me give you a few to consider this week:
1. “God helps those who help themselves.” This is a statement of amazing self-reliance and fits in well with our American pride. But the problem is, that independent spirit can often get in the way of what the scripture declares. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus told his disciple to deny themselves and take up His cross. God helps those who actively seek His help.
2. “God wants me (and my family) to be happy.” Our happiness is often tied to our emotions or feelings. And too often those are rooted in our current circumstances. God sets the focus on joy not happiness. Joy lasts, it satisfies and supersedes circumstances. In tough times, I may not be jumping up and down with giggles, but according to Romans 8:28, I know He is working all things together for my good.
3. “God won’t give me more than I can handle.” Oh yes, He does. Because we live in this fallen world, ugly, difficult, very burdensome stuff occurs all around us. Much of these trials test our strength and resolve every single day. God is using things to lead us to a place of surrender and trust in Him. He reminds us in Matthew 11:28 to bring it all to Him and He will give us rest.
4. “We all worship the same god. We are all going to the same place when we die. We are all God’s children”. None of these statements are true. Romans 8 asserts that we are God’s children when we have received the Spirit of adoption. Our faith in Christ alone puts us into His family.
We definitely do not worship the same god. Peter gave us the instruction in Acts 4:12 that there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
And unfortunately, we will not all go to the same place after death. Hell was made for the fallen angels, but does become the final home for those who reject Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
I hope you don’t have to hang around a DMV this week, but the next time you hear someone babbling on about “spiritual matters,” take the time to compare their advice to the scriptures. We all need to be like the Berean believers in Acts 17. The Bible says that “they were more noble than those in Thessalonica because they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if things were so” (Acts 17:1-11).