That's Not In Your Bible
As a follow up to Sunday’s sermon, here are five things that aren’t in your Bible…
“GOD WON’T GIVE YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE”
This little saying has been receiving a lot of Internet criticism lately, and I’m thankful it has. Not only is that promise not in the Bible, the Bible actually promises the opposite. It’s not just that God may give you more than you can handle; God is sure to give you more than you can handle.
The Christian journey is a journey into submission. God is stripping us of our pride and self-reliance and transforming us into a people who are humble and Christ-reliant. The problem is that we are an incredibly stubborn and obstinate people who tend to be unwilling to surrender control and confess dependence. But make no mistake about it; God will have His way with us.
His providence will take us through seasons that are more than we can handle, and He will smile as our obstinacy comes crashing down and we recognize and admit that we truly are helpless and dependent. Your humility is more important to Him than your comfort, and so yes, He will at times do what He does for all of His people in Scripture and give you more than you can handle.
“SPARE THE ROD, SPOIL THE CHILD”
People think this is a proverb in the Bible, but it’s actually not. Now before the anti-discipline crowd gets overly excited, the actual proverb is more severe. Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son.” We all know that failure to discipline will spoil a child, but some parents, quite frankly, are okay with that. Perhaps they don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of thoughtful discipline or they confuse a spoiled child for a loved child, but for whatever reason, the threat of a bratty child is not motivation enough for many parents. But this proverb isn’t talking about spoiled children; it’s talking love and justice.
The Bible actually uses the language of hatred when it comes to discipline, and that takes parenting to a whole other level. Simply put, failure to discipline is an act of hatred. Tragically many parents abuse their children and call it discipline, when in reality it is evil hatred toward their children. Well on the other end of the spectrum, many parents do not discipline and call it love, when in reality it is evil hatred as well. Your children need discipline like they need nourishment. Failure to provide that for you child is harmful neglect. The Bible is much more sever than “spare the rod, spoil the child.” Biblically speaking, sparing discipline is a deep injustice, an act of hatred.
“MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL”
This is a mistranslation of the far more nuanced 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” According to “money is the root of all evil” the problem is money. According to “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” the problem is my disordered love. And this is the way Biblical ethics works.
One time I hit a terrible golf shot, which led me to beat my club into the ground repeatedly, which led my friend to wisely say, “Why are you doing that? It’s not your club’s fault.” And he’s right. The golf club is not to blame. My pathetic golf game is to blame.
Money is not to blame for our rampant materialism; we are to blame. Money is not the issue. It is our heart’s disposition towards money that is in the forefront of this famous verse. This is why you could be incredibly poor and completely controlled by money. Though you may not have money, your heart may still be longing after money as though it were God, and blaming money only hides our idolatrous love for money. Money is not the root of evil; my heart is the root of evil.
“ACCEPT JESUS INTO YOUR HEART AS YOUR PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR”
This trite invitation of countless revivals is an insult to Jesus and patronizes the costly invitation of Jesus. Where do I even begin? We don’t accept Jesus into our lives; Jesus mercifully and graciously invites us into His life. We don’t give Him permission into our hearts; we bow down to Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, body, indeed every fiber of our being. He is not our personal Lord and Savior; He is the Lord and Savior of every tongue, tribe, and nation, and we have the honor of being counted as one of the myriads of saints who will bow down and worship Jesus forever. This relationship is not on our terms; it is wholly and completely on His terms. Jesus doesn’t belong to us; we belong to Him. Jesus doesn’t need us; we need Jesus. Truth be told, we don’t choose Jesus; Jesus chooses us.
Let me quote from Jesus Himself and see if you can detect even a hint of “accept Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior.”
“The Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the gospel!”
“If anyone wishes to be my disciple let Him deny Himself, take up His cross, and follow me.”
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
“Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
And that’s just a sampling. Jesus is merciful and gracious, He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and mercy, and Jesus is indeed calling into a relationship. But His invitation in no way resembles the consumeristic individualistic invitations of our culture. Christ is calling, but as Dietrich Bonheoffer famously said, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” And in dying, you will find life.
“GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES”
So those are five of many we could talk about. My suggestion would be to distrust trivial and trite cultural sayings about the Bible and instead, well, read your Bible.