Sometimes I get tired of cliches. These little nuggets of “truth” that people often follow as eternal wisdom. It is hard to avoid them and we see them inside and outside of the Church. Perhaps we will go to a store and see an entire section of keepsakes with these little inspirational phrases embroidered, embossed, or even carved. These phrases are meant to give us a little inspiration to help us get through the day. We have seen picture frames that contain poems, quotes, and even single words that help us to cope. You know what I am talking about.
If you go to very many retail stores your vision is assaulted with little reminders of human suffering and the attempt to alleviate the impact. The problem is sometimes these cliches are untrue. They make us feel better but their universal message falls flat when really put to the test. I see it all the time. People will believe these cliches with all their heart until times are tough or conflict is at its peak…and in this moment it is almost as if they pause their beliefs.
One cliche is the one that says that we choose our own destiny. This is empowering and great to think about, however, what does this say about people who believe this but they also claim they have no choice concerning their addictions or damaging lifestyle?
What about this Christian one…..”God will never give you more that you can handle…” (I have commented on this before). My retort to this is simple. If we rely on God’s power then it is not about ho much WE can handle.
Oh…I love this one..”Believe in your dreams.” This sounds great but would we have wanted to say this to Hitler or Stalin? I think Erwin McManus said it best in his book “Chasing Daylight”. He says, “when you are passionate about God, you can trust your passions.” This defintely looks at this concept differently.
“Follow your heart” is also a popular quote that seems to have a lot of value in our culture. It is stitched on pillows, framed on walls, and have been ingrained into many. The Bible tells us that our heart is deceitful and when we think about it often we allow our emotions to irrationally control us. This has led to numerous damaged relationships.
My point? I think God wants us to challenge things like this. Just because it sounds good and gets us through the moment doesn’t mean it is nourishing for the soul. God doesn’t want us just to “survive through this moment”. He wants to fill us with His spirit and give us tools for eternity. Scripture is not meant for short term inspiration….but for transformation of life.