I’ve been in pastoral ministry for nearly seven years. Over the years, I’ve encountered some very strong Christians, with a deep faith, rooted in a solid and vibrant theology. I’ve also met many Christians with little, fluffy faith rooted in an inaccurate and malnourished theology. These types of Christians, with poor theological footing, are ripe to fall to deliciously false narratives. Here are three of the most prominent false narratives that I’ve encountered among so called Christians in southeast Iowa…
- God will never give to us more than we can handle. Really? Where does the Bible say that? It doesn’t. You can’t point me to one single passage that even remotely hints at this possibility. Perhaps the closest you could get is 1 Corinthians 10:13b, which states, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” So much could be said about this great promise of Scripture, but I will just have you note one thing…The issue at hand is temptation, not trials, tribulations, or turbulent times. Temptation is front and center in this passage. And this text is clear, God will never permit us to be tempted to the point that we have to give in. This is a wonderful promise on God’s grace despite the strong pull towards sin. This is not a magic Get Out Of Jail Free card on the great difficulties and storms of life. Indeed, sometimes our difficulties and storms are so overwhelming, and beyond our ability to handle, that if God doesn’t come through and help us, we’re goners…Yes, God sometimes gives to us far more than we can handle just so He can display His strength in and through us.
- The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will. Ha! So certifiably inaccurate, it’s laughable. Try this theological falsity on John the Baptist, who was beheaded in prison for his stand on the truth…Or on the Apostle Peter, who was crucified upside down for his love for Jesus…Or James (the half-brother to Jesus), who was stoned and clubbed to death and all for following God’s will. This absurd notion that following God is safe is a lie. God is not safe. His will is not safe. But make no mistake about it, God is good, and His will is perfect, even if you lose everything for it. Yes, sometimes the most dangerous (and deadly) place to be is smack dab in the center of God’s will.
- The best is yet to come. This popular cliche is really making its rounds in Christendom today. And, hear me, it’s partly true. The best is yet to come…but in the next life, not this life. Nowhere in Scripture are we promised that things will eventually get better for us in this life. Your cancer may spread. Your child might die. Your marriage might get worse. Simply put, the best is not guaranteed in this life. To cling to this idea that it might just get better now (instead of placing your hope in the next life with Jesus in Glory) is at best foolish and at worst will breed contempt for God as He fails to provide you with the life you think you need or deserve. Are you buying into this very popular lie that the best is yet to come in this life? My friend, here’s some straight-truth, the very worst might still be in front of you, and it may never get better after that. But here is some grace to chase that straight-truth: The best is yet to come in the next life with Jesus in Glory. Where is your hope today? What are you clinging to? Is your hope in this life only; or are you trusting, clinging, and hoping in the promise of a life to come where we will be in God’s presence forever? Because the best is yet to come in the next life, not this life.