By Cris Corzine-McCloskey
What good is an idol carved by man, or a cast image that deceives you? How foolish to trust in your own creation–a god that can’t even talk! ~ Habakkuk 2:18 ESV
Last blog I wrote about a few of the more common erroneous beliefs that have infiltrated the body of Christ. Reminiscent of what happened to Eve in the garden, these beliefs are a twist of God’s word, and they appeal to our human nature that craves self-reliance and our deepest fears that God really isn’t as good as He says He is. Furthermore, as Eve proved, even the slightest twist of the truth can have disastrous results for God’s children. Let’s recap the myths and misquotes from last week’s article.
Topping the list was “God helps those who help themselves.” That one is not even close to what the bible says. God has no use for our self-reliance. He is, however, a defense when you are helpless (Isaiah 25:4), and strong when you are weak (1 Cor 1:27). The next one was “God won’t put more on me than I can handle,” which is a twisting of 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God lovingly promises that He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond endurance. Temptation is from Satan, and God promises that He is the way out. I also listed the ever popular “be careful what you pray for God just might give it to you,” where pop culture teaches us that God sends horrific situations as an answer to prayer. If you want the truth on that look in John 10:10. And the last one was that God sends depression or sickness as a gift to teach a lesson. Just look at Jesus in scripture and tell me if that’s true.
Okay, so now that we have recapped, I will give you a glimpse of what I see when someone with these types of beliefs comes up against a trial. We will name our believer Bob, and he is a good man who has been married for years and a content member of his church. Things have gone a bit stale in his marriage and he starts looking at pornography, but as a believer he knows how toxic this is. This brings him great shame and condemnation, which leads to depression, which leads to more pornography and he is starting to develop a drinking habit to deal with his feelings of depression. Bob is now in serious trouble, and his wife is rightfully hurt and thinking of leaving him. Where was God in all of this?
Unfortunately, Bob had believed for years that God would only help him if he helped himself, and so he had tried to fix this himself (trying not to look at pornography, shaming himself when he did), and hoped that God would bless his efforts. He was afraid to pray, because the god of his beliefs might just expose his weakness, thereby humiliating him to teach him a lesson on self-control. When the depression came he sadly believed that it was from God, once again to teach him a lesson, and by this point he was just too weak and tired to fight it any way other than the bottle. Now he is on the brink of losing everything, and secretly angry with God for allowing all this to happen. Oh yeah, he also believes the popular misconception that he is now separated from God because of his sin, so he thinks God wouldn’t listen even if he did pray, so why bother.
Funny thing is that the god of Bob’s beliefs makes sense to us, because he is a whole lot like us. That should be your first warning sign that you have a god that is myth, and I can promise you, that god has no power. The Lord says His thoughts and ways are nothing like ours (Isaiah 55:8), because He is way better than what we have ever dared to dream or imagine. As Beth Moore says, “anything not of God is always the lesser.” Amazingly, He is so good that He does not condemn us for these false beliefs, as all of that was taken care of on the cross. He just reminds us that a lack of knowledge will kill us (Hosea 4:6) and waits for us to know the truth, which He promises will set us free (John 8:32).
If you think Bob’s scenario is hyperbole, you would be sadly mistaken. What is even sadder is that by the time poor ‘Bob’ staggers through the door of my office he has a lifetime of false theology that needs to be debunked before he even knows that God is for him (Romans 8:31) and that nothing can ever separate him from God’s love in Christ, even himself or his sin (Romans 8:38-39). I also need to convince him that Christ already paid for all of Bob’s failures, and he is still righteous in the eyes of God (2 Cor 5:21), and the bible promises that the prayers of the righteous are powerful indeed. Fortunately for Bob, his Heavenly Daddy is sitting on the edge of His throne, waiting in anticipation for the moment Bob renounces self and cries out Abba Father, and then the rescuing can begin.