(sorry for the lack of creative title)
There are some Christian phrases that for some reason or another-I dislike a little.
Every time I hear them-
Every time I say them-
I cringe a bit.
Now, get me wrong, they might be phrases that I use from time to time, that make sense, and are wonderfully intended-but they rub me the wrong way and I’d love to explain why. I hope I don’t sound cynical or spiteful as I share this with you. That is not my heart’s intent. I share my opinions because I know I say too many things without examining them first. I’m simply offering another angle to consider looking at these phrases from.
- “It’s a God thing” –I’ve found that usually this phrase follows a story about finding a good parking spot and not being late for a meeting, or something equally thrilling. Not that God isn’t delighted that you were delighted-he is! He loves your joy! It’s just, I don’t I know, I feel like the Creator and Savior of the universe deserve a little more praise than the acknowledgement of something being “his thing”. It seems to be the easy way out of praising him. God has given us an amazing ability to craft words of adoration to him and has revealed his character and nature in Scripture-we have so much we can say about him and praise Him for –let’s make a little more effort to do it intelligently and a way that brings him honor. (An additional reason I don’t like it, is because it reminds me of the phrase, “It’s a jeep thing-you wouldn’t understand”. And I don’t understand.)
- “I don’t wanna go through the motions”– I totally respect this ideology in many ways. We, as Christians, should engage our hearts and minds in our actions. We should aim to not be habitually hypocritically (we absolutely will be hypocritical-we must try to actively combat that!). I think it is dangerous to not sometimes “go through the motions” if you are not feeling it. Let me give you an example. I hope to be married one day. I will pledge my heart and life to serving my husband (after Christ of course!), getting to know him, and loving him more and more each passing moment. But there will be days when he annoys me, when I don’t FEEL the strong desire for him as I did on my wedding day. But do I refuse to spend time with him, telling him, “I don’t want to go through the motions”. Heck no! With actions come emotions! I kiss him on his forehead, make us breakfast, and remind myself of all the reasons I DO love him until the feelings follow! It is the same with our spiritual life. Sometimes you don’t feel like being a Christian. But it is during those moments where doing the “motions” are even MORE important. You pick up your bible, you call your accountability partner, you memorize Scripture-until the feelings come back. Sometimes you have to go through the motions to find emotions, and that is okay.
- “I want to be on fire for God”– I love the heart behind this when I hear someone (and hear myself) say it I just make sure we realize what we are saying. When I think of being “on fire for God” you know who I think of? Christians during Nero’s reign, Anne Askew, John Wycliffe, John Huss, and William Tyndale. These men and women were literally set on fire for God, burned at the stake for their dedication to Scripture. They were willing to go to heaven in a chariot of fire. When we say, we want to be on fire for God, we might mean we want to talk about him a lot, and to think about him a lot (both good things!) but we don’t actually want to be persecuted for this love relationship. We don’t want our lives to be a public spectacle of the evanescence of this life and the importance of holding fast to Scripture. If we are going to say this phrase-lets please take seriously how consuming a fire truly is and be willing to at least live for our faith even if we don’t have the chance to die for it.