Something struck me this past week, hard and strong. It nearly knocked me off my chair. It rattled me to my core. It awakened me to write. The blog has been a bit quiet lately, and not necessarily by choice. I’ve been busy, yes, but I’ve also been quiet because I’m waiting for what I need to say. And this past week, it hit me, like a fresh wind and a burning fire.
I sit in many circles of women quite often. From Bible study groups, to coffee dates, to wedding and baby showers, and so much more, I frequently find myself sitting in groups of women, talking about the things that women talk about. We’re not afraid to rip the cover off of the surface stuff of life and dive in deep to the things that matter more than the weather and what we had for lunch, at least when we feel comfortable with those whom we are sharing. We talk about feelings and emotions. We talk about life’s problems. We talk about our marriages and children or lack thereof. Unfortunately, in this mix of conversation options, we talk about one another, too. But, talk we do well.
In all of this talking, a common thread continues to weave its way through the conversations that I’ve been a part of. It’s what I like to call “bumper sticker theology” or “wall art faith.” It’s well-meaning sentiments that fail to be backed by solid truth in Scripture. It’s when we say something, anything, because we don’t know what else to say. We want to comfort or help, so we make something up. For example, this past week, I sat across from someone I’ve grown to love, who probably meant well when she said, “God never gives us more than we can handle.”
Really? He doesn’t? I sat silent for the minutes following that statement, and allowed the conversation to continue to unfold around me while I pondered 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
Scripture teaches us that God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Never does it teach that we won’t be given more than we can handle. On the contrary, nearly every person in Scripture was given more than they could handle, and that is precisely why their stories were recorded in Scripture because their lack glorified their God.
Another piece of “wall art faith” that I hear thrown around quite a bit is, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” Does He? And is this phrase that so many stake their lives and faith on found anywhere in Scripture? You may think that I’m beating a dead horse here, but my point is that I want people to know, believe, and understand God’s Word – what it actually says, not what they think it says. I want people to want truth, not sentiment. I want people to walk by truth, not feel-good expressions.
Know the Word of God, believer. Believe what it says is true. Grow in your understanding of Scripture. Exercise the mind that God gave you to meditate on and memorize His truth. You are more than capable because God created you with a mind that was made to store information. Put it to good use.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may KNOW and BELIEVE me and UNDERSTAND that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” Isaiah 43:10
What does this mean? It means that God’s Word is sufficient. It means that the reading and studying of His Word brings knowledge, belief, and understanding. Get in it for yourself. Stop allowing sentiment to shape your theology. God’s Word alone defines who He is and what He can do. God’s Word alone defines who you are and what you can do. That’s it. His Word is the standard against which all else is measured. Let’s get back to that: His Word above all else defining, shaping, and guiding our lives.