To Coin A Phrase

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Often it can be apparent when God’s Word has been misused or interpreted incorrectly. Other times, they can be subtle changes or tweaks that we end up “coining”, as phrases from the Bible. Let’s look at some of the common Christian phrases that have become engraved in us. The phrases that have even become our go-to responses to people or more typically, baby Christians, who are still new on this walk.

“God only gives you what you can handle.”

I used to think about this phrase a lot growing up. Especially when I heard of losses so tragic I thought that surely no one could handle them. And that it was rather heartless for God to “give” these trials to people.

Biblically we do not see this phrase in the Bible, and it can be damaging to those who are new in their Faith, even if the phrase is said as a way to encourage. Where does this phrase derive from then? 1 Corinthians 10:13 where Paul is saying that when we are tempted we always have a way out, and can endure it. The context is everything here as he is speaking of the temptation to sin, not the temptations associated with hardships or suffering.

In fact, we see over and over again in the Bible the opposite of the phrase which is that we alone, can’t handle trails, and this then points us to a God who can. We are made to rely on Him, not plow through this life on our own strength of will, which will ultimately fail us. Paul himself is no stranger to sufferings beyond imagine and admits his failings and weaknesses to bare them apart from Christ Jesus.

For more go to Moving Beyond “God won’t give you more than you can handle”

“Money is the root of all evil.”

I only just recently, within the past couple years, realized that this phrase was a mistake or really a misphrasing of the verse itself which actually says, “for the LOVE of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

This phrase reminds me of the whole attack on gun usage, in that it blames the items themselves as evil, instead of the user’s intent. Money is simply paper, only we attribute its value and purpose. It can be used in a crime, or used to help a child out of poverty, it really depends on the user. Same goes for anything else that is merely a created item or tool.

“The LOVE of money…”, is referring to greed. Which is defined as a selfish desire to acquire wealth, often at the expense of others. Such vile emotions are the root of many problems in our society. Wealth, in the world’s eyes, equals power.

“The devil made me do it.”

This one is rather simple to squash and not as common today amongst Christians. I’ve heard it used more in joking than in all seriousness. However, it is a phrase that people can hide behind if found guilty of sin, therefore, let’s refute it.

Galatians 5:13 says, “…do not use your freedom (free-will) to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

More verses that point to us having a “choice” in the matter of sin and righteousness:

“Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” -John 7:17

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” -Joshua 24:15

The list continues, but I will end it with this verse from Romans which says, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

That word, “wages”, implies that we have earned death through our choice to sin. This view is supported throughout the Bible, and satan’s only abilities have been to influence or tempt, as we talked about earlier. Both of which require that we listen to him or entertain his notions first before they can have any sort of power over us.

What about possession? Though I believe possession is very real since we see Jesus cast out demons in the Bible. This full-bodied take over cannot happen to one who has the Holy Spirit within them, and even still, to those who are possessed they didn’t just wake up one day in deep spiritual bondage but were, as I mentioned, influenced or persuaded to walk down a path of darkness, and they chose to listen and give up authority to the dark forces of this world.

“I’m only human.”

This is a phrase used by everyone it seems, not just Christians. People say this in way of explaining why they sinned or failed. As if we don’t ever need to apologize because we simply can’t help it. There are many ways we can tackle this particular phrase, however, I will start by saying that such a phrase rarely ever works in anyone’s favor, I mean next time you make a mistake at work try saying that to your boss and see how he takes it.

A true sign of responsibility and maturity is owning up to your mistakes and admitting when you have fallen short. That means apologizing and recognizing that you can’t use your past, family, heritage, upbringing, or creation as an excuse for such behavior-it’s really the same as blaming the devil for your mistakes. All you are doing is placing the uncomfortable feeling of guilt on something or someone else so that you don’t have to carry it or face it.

So yes, satan is the source of evil, and yes, since the Garden of Eden, humans are fallen creatures that are bent toward sinful desires. However, none of these factors come between you and your free-will in any given situation. If you use this phrase as a Christian, I seriously suggest that you stop repeating such things over yourself. Because you aren’t just human anymore, but a new creation in Christ Jesus, you carry the will of God, the Holy Spirit is inside you! Speak these truths instead when mistakes come, pray these truths over you when tempted and watch your life truly transform.

1 Corinthians 2:16: “for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

Lastly, a phrase spoken often in regards to loss;

“Heaven must have needed another angel.”

I understand how hard it can be to encourage and comfort someone who is grieving, sometimes our words seem empty or cheap. We say things like, “I’m praying for you,” or, “if you need anything I’m here.” These words can be true, however, they offer no lasting comfort to the one who is alone struggling with heavy burdens. It is a better thing to actually “do” than to simply “say” something comforting.

This particular phrase sometimes makes me feel queasy. Heaven isn’t short-staffed in any way, nor is God in the habit of causing catastrophic events. Also, it translates to saying that some people could do more for God in heaven than on earth. Our time on this planet is very important, and our actions and service to God are equally so. It is satan that works against our time here and our purposes. He is the one who comes to, “kill, steal, and destroy…”, and it is God’s will that we should, “…have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Another great verse is Jeremiah 29:11, which says:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Lastly, this phrase comes from an incorrect idea of what angels are. There is a societal belief that we become angels when we die, this isn’t biblical. Angels are pre-created servants of the Lord. They minister to God’s people, and they all have specific duties and functions in God’s army. Demons and more specifically, satan, is an angel that has been cast out of heaven. Humans are very different creatures than angels and remain thus after death.

Some verses explaining:

“You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” -Psalm 8:5

“Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” -1 Corinthians 6:3

“Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” -Hebrews 1:14

 

What are some phrases/misinterpretations that you have heard?

How did they impact you?

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “To Coin A Phrase

  1. Good points! Thanks for debunking those.
    One translation of I Timothy 6:10 says, “The love of money is the root of all KINDS of evil.” That makes even more sense to me, since not every sin is connected to the love of money. So, people blaming money for their sin makes even less sense. Good analogy to blaming guns for murder. The human heart is the culprit.

    Liked by 1 person

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