Here’s the problem with the internet. Okay, one problem with the internet. People say a lot of stupid stuff. People find authority in a keyboard, anonymity behind a screen, invincibility in the land of WiFi. And they don’t stop there. There’s TV, radio, music, and books, all waiting for people to speak their minds on their platforms. It’s hard to filter out what’s true and what’s not, especially when you respect the person talking.
Just last week, our family watched American Idol, and one of the judges said “God can only do for you what He can do through you”, to which another judge replied, “PREACH!” Daniel and I looked at each other with confused faces. There is no “God can only”. God can do anything, whether we exist or not. But this smooth talking singer just spoke into the minds of millions of viewers. Those who don’t know the Truth may already have this tattooed on their forearms or hand printed in their houses. It’s a phrase that sounds good and may encourage you to do more, but you’ve just minimized God’s ability and elevated your importance through that statement.
Yesterday, a friend was really struggling. She was dealing with some powerful emotions after experiencing a difficult time. She was wrestling with the idea that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. She wasn’t feeling strong, she was feeling broken. Here’s the thing: that’s not in the Bible either! Sometimes what doesn’t kill us leaves us beaten to a pulp. It damages our hearts and minds and it takes a long time to restore. We aren’t stronger just because we make it though something terrible. We are alive, and that’s about it. What the Bible does say is “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 CSB) God is strong in our weakness, not us. Sorry Kelly Clarkson, but I can’t get behind you on this one.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. -2 Timothy 4:3-4
We want so badly to make sense of our problems. We want to hear that we can work our way to perfection or earn the ability to solve our many issues. The problem is that spiritual discipline is hard. What’s easy is getting distracted by the easy way out or words that twist the Bible into our own ideas. If we are caught in a sin trap, and someone finds a way to make our sin sound okay, we cling to that. If we don’t know what the Bible truly says in the first place, we can find ourselves in a dangerous place of trusting humans over trusting God.
Study your Bibles. Know what applies to you and what doesn’t. Be students of the Scriptures and doers of the word and not hearers only. No one can know Jesus for you. -Beth Moore
If you hear something that doesn’t quite sound right, compare it to Scripture. Does your interpretation of one verse gel with the rest of the Bible as a whole? Is the person you’re listening to taking one verse out of context or changing it just enough to justify something? If you’re not confident, ask your pastor, your Sunday School teacher, or Bible study leader. Search the Bible using the index or an online Bible website. Take some time to study instead of just accepting everything you hear. Be on guard. Your heart depends on it.
And one more thing: “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is not about going through a trial. It’s about temptation, and it says He will provide a way out. He will most definitely give you more than you can handle. When He does, cling to Him and watch Him move (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
“Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. -Proverbs 4:23 CSB