14 popular sayings, but…

You read them every day. They’re interesting phrases, but they don’t necessarily agree with the Bible. At best, they’re verses taken out of context. At worst, they’re just pithy phrases.

Let’s look at them:

  1. I can do all things. This partial verse comes from Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. The context is about being content in extremely adverse circumstances. The Apostle Paul is in prison when he wrote these words. The verse just before this one says: I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Jesus can strengthen a Christian to forebear in even the most difficult situations.
  2. You’re not supposed to judge. While it’s true that God is the ultimate Judge, the Bible tells us by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:20). This is speaking of Christians displaying the fruit of the Spirit—one evidence of a person who is truly born again. Jesus said, Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). Also, the Bible gives the church mediation judgment in disputes and for cases that require church discipline.
  3. The devil made me do it. Ever since Eve, people have been blaming the devil for their own decisions. Each person has at least a split second to decide whether to do right or wrong. In the beginning of the book of Job, we see that the devil can certainly afflict and tempt, but he cannot make anyone do anything.
  4. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Cleanliness is certainly desirable, and the Bible often refers to washing (ceremonial, for hygiene, and customary kindness to guests). But, you won’t find this statement or anything close to it in the Bible.
  5. You certainly earned a place in heaven. No one can earn a place in heaven. It’s a gift. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  6. We’ll wear crowns in heaven. We read about Paul getting a crown of righteousness from Jesus at judgment day—along with others who are true Christians. Those believers who endure temptation and persecution will get a crown of life. At the appearance of the Lord, believers will get a crown of glory. The purpose of these crowns? I don’t envision believers walking around like kings and queens with crowns on their heads. In Revelation 3:10, we read about the twenty-four elders casting their crowns in adoration at Jesus’ feet. I believe we receive crowns in order to offer them back to Jesus in appreciation for His salvation.
  7. God helps those who help themselves. Algernon Sidney was quoted saying this by Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac. This isn’t Bible and never was.
  8. Money is the root of all evil. Money isn’t the root of all evil; it’s the love of money—the desire for it and not being content. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10).
  9. You got this. This is used to encourage people and we understand what it means, but the truth is that only God is in control of any situation. We are, at best, weak people completely dependent upon Him.
  10. God will never give you more than you can handle. Simply not true. I wrote a whole post about this recently. You can access it here.
  11. I put out a fleece, so I can find out what God’s will is. I know that Gideon put out a literal fleece because he genuinely needed confirmation of God’s will for him (Judges 6:37-40). God honored Gideon and performed the miracles for him. Nowhere in the Bible do we read that this is a normal or recommended way to find out God’s will. Now, we have the whole Bible, which tells us clearly what God wants for our lives. We don’t need to test God to find out.
  12. You need to love yourself, forgive yourself. I don’t think loving one’s self appears anywhere in the Bible except in Ephesians 5:28, which says: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. The Bible consistently speaks of loving God first and loving others next. It never tells us to love ourselves. It takes that for granted—and warns many times against pride. Forgiving yourself is a little weird. Only God can forgive us of our sins and short-fallings. Forgiving one’s self might mean accepting that God has forgiven confessed sin—but it’s not the same thing. The truth is, we can’t forgive ourselves. Only Jesus can forgive.
  13. I’ve got a mansion waiting for me in heaven. A mansion? John 14:2 actually says, In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. The word mansion means a place to abide, an abode (Vine’s). God is preparing places in heaven. What will they be like? I have no idea. What does a changed body need in heaven? Though we probably won’t ramble around alone in huge houses, we’ll have some kind of place in heaven—and it will be amazing.
  14. God showed up. We know what people mean by this, but God is omnipresent—everywhere in the universe at once. He is not able to show up, since He’s already there. The psalmist asked, Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me (Psalm 139:7-10). Kin to this one is, “Let’s invite God into this space,” as if He weren’t already there and as if He needs an invitation to be anywhere.

Wasn’t this fun? We’ll explore some more of these sayings in the future. A shout-out to my girlfriends who contributed to my brainstorming session. Thank you so much!

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).