We are constantly being bombarded by culture. Like the Israelites in the book of Judges, Christians in America are prone to wander and marry culture, rather than stay faithful to God. This is especially true in the speech and activities of our youth.
Our Student Ministry series this past fall focused on “Stuff Christians should stop (and start) saying.” Because our words reveal our hearts (Matt 12:34), some common “catch phrases” reveal sin in our hearts. By calling out sin, we can fall more in love with Jesus. Here are three things Christians should stop saying, and three things Christians should say.
Christians should stop saying:
Should we call out when God blesses us materially? Of course, but social media has made boasting about material gain far too easy. When we claim that shallow material things are God’s deep blessing, we cheapen God’s grace and say that materialism is our god rather than Christ. Who does Jesus say are blessed? The poor in spirit, the mournful, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted (Matt 5:3-12). We need to think less of earthly things when we talk about blessing, and think more of our spiritual blessings in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3-6). It is in Him that we are truly #blessed.
2. God won’t give you more than you can handle
This phrase comes from a misreading of 1 Corinthians 10:13 which states, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.” Paul is talking about the believer being able to resist sin and temptation. In other passages Paul talks about how they were completely overwhelmed, beyond their strength (2 Cor 1:8). God will bring us to things we can’t handle on our own. Jesus bears our burdens, and it is through him that we experience supernatural peace. Instead of trying to comfort people with this lie, we should instead encourage them that, with Jesus, we will be sustained (Phil 4:13).
3. Praying the prayer / asking Jesus in your heart
It should concern us that the concept of “praying a prayer” to receive salvation is taught nowhere in scripture. For many years, the goal of youth ministry was to get students to pray some type of “sinner’s prayer.” In Matthew 7:21-23, God’s Word tells us that there are going to be people who may have prayed such a prayer and think they are saved when they are not. We are saved by God’s grace (Eph 2:8-10), and in faith we need to respond in repentance to Jesus’ call to follow him (Acts 20:21). We are not saved by merely praying a sinner’s prayer. We are saved by believing in Christ, repenting from sin, and following him.
Christians should say:
1. Can I pray for you (RIGHT NOW)?
It’s a wonderful thing to offer to pray for someone. But often people say this and never follow through. Instead we need to pray with people on the spot. If someone talks about a need or a hurt, go before the Father right there with them. By doing so we show that God is real and make God the hero of the situation. Not us. It also shows that we believe in God’s power. One must only read the end of James 5 to realize that when saints pray, God may respond with incredible acts.
2. Let me show you
People, particularly this younger generation, know that talk is cheap. It’s easy to say we are believers and we love people, but it’s another thing to act on it. When we experience true faith in Jesus, we cannot help but act. Faith and works go hand-in-hand (James 1:22; 2:1-19). We need to actively seek out ways to show our love and faith to people through action, so that when we speak, people will know we are genuine (1 John 3:18).
3. The Gospel of Jesus Christ
Praise God that Eagan Hills Church is passionate and focused on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to speak the Gospel to ourselves and others all the time. How can we contain it? God has made a way for sinners to come to the Father through Jesus Christ (Rom 5:8; 6:23, 1 John 1:9, John 3:16). He has also commissioned us to share the Gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). When we realize the gravity of Heaven or Hell, we must respond with sharing our faith. As Paul would say in Romans 10:13-15, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!”
Our intention is not to merely modify behavior or speech patterns, but to pursue and live Christ (Phil 1:21). It is my prayer that we pursue Christ more and more.
About the Author
Pastor of Student Ministry
Jimmy, a graduate from Crown College with a degree in Pastoral Leadership, has been with EHC since 2014. His passion in ministry is to produce disciples that will spread the hope of Jesus to Eagan and around the world.