I was listening to the testimony of a new, young, talented Christian artist when this statement caught my attention. In reference to God she said, we know that He loves us and He’s never going to let us fall. Really? Tell that to Israel, David, Samson or the Apostles Paul or Peter. No one fell farther, faster than Peter – I don’t know what you’re saying; with an oath, I don’t know the man; then he began to curse and swear, I don’t know the man! (Matthew 26:70, 72, 74). If that’s not falling I don’t know what is. That’s not just falling, that’s hitting bottom!
Certainly God loves us, that much is true, but His love does not preclude our falling into either problems (Paul) or sinful behavior (Peter). In fact you could make the case that it is precisely because He loves us that He doesn’t stop us from falling. His love gives us freedom and freedom can be a dangerous thing.
The real problem here is that too much of what we believe comes from the wrong sources. Too many Christians today live in a place of spiritual shallowness that is similar to the pop-culture of our broader society. We have distilled our beliefs down to sound bites; to spiritual clichés: God is my co-pilot; God will not give you more than you can handle; Do your best, trust God with the rest. As writer Eric Geiger points out in an article titled Why God is Not Your Co-Pilot, these statements are simply not true. They may sound nice and on occasion offer us a modicum of comfort but they are often contrary to the truth of scripture. You can read his full article here.
Let’s face reality, we’ve arrived at this place because of our own spiritual laziness. It’s easier to tell someone God will never give you more than you can handle, then to spend the time with them digging into scripture to find out 1) if it’s true and 2) why God has brought them to the breaking point. Again, read the article for a good answer. You may not agree with everything the writer says but it should make you think in a different way about what you believe and why you believe it.
Whenever we distill our beliefs down to sound bites we are in danger of losing out on the richness of our faith. By their very nature sound bites have to leave out more than they include. Do you really want to do that with your faith? Do you want to risk knowing more about God and how He works in our world and our lives just so you can say less?
Here’s the strange part. Somewhere in our minds we know that these statements are not entirely sufficient answers – but we use them anyway. It’s just easier. Or maybe it’s because we don’t know the right answers and we don’t want to admit it. The next time someone pours their heart out to you because they don’t understand what God is doing in their life, resist the temptation to throw them a spiritual one-liner. Spend some time with them searching the Word of God for the real answers to their problems.
Stay in the Word