The Psalmist wrote, “the LORD is my light and my salvation.” [Psa 27:1]. In the first three chapters of 1Corinthians, the Apostle Paul warns against confusing or using the wisdom of this world to proclaim the truth of God. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God and the wisdom of God is foolishness to man. Many professing Christians fall short of following Christ, instead they follow a self-help Christianity based upon the wisdom of this world. Jesus Christ warned if the light within us is darkness, how great is the darkness (Mat 6:23). Therefore, to speak anything but Christ’s wisdom is to speak darkness.
Many professing Christians talk about the warning of the Apostle Paul against preaching that satisfies itching ears (2Ti 4:3). But they attend a modern American Christian church that caters to this. Modern American Christianity displays more of a following of psychology than of following Christ. The underlying foundation is man is good – or wants to be and Jesus makes our lives better. The preaching is encouraging rather than convicting and the presumption is man, in his free will, will choose Christ.
But we are wretched and this condition remains even after we are saved (Jam 4:9). Modern American Christianity boils getting saved down to an event and if repentance is even mentioned, it is satisfied at this time. However, the Apostle Paul wrote he doesn’t do what he wants to do and he does what he does not want to do and then he claimed his wretchedness (Rom 7). The more we understand our salvation Biblically, the more clear it is we are wretched and the life of the follower of Christ is one of continual repentance.
The church at Laodicea was lukewarm (Rev 3). They did not realize they were wretched because they were comfortable with their lives in this world. Their worldly wisdom had taught them they no longer had to take up their cross and follow Christ because they were blessed. They had forgotten their righteousness was through Christ alone (Rom 5:17). Jesus warned He was going to spit them out of His mouth.
Regarding the recent article, “You Can’t Handle It”: The premise of the article is “not many people can handle God’s blessing.” The author, after laying out this foundation, then claims the failure of the nation of Israel, Adam and Eve, Solomon, Judas and the myriad of Christian leaders who have fallen into sin was due to their discontentment with God’s blessings. “They couldn’t handle God’s blessing.” The problem with this premise is it ignores the heart of man and the rebellious nature of the soul.
The author went on to explain, “The story I see God telling throughout all of human history is one of undeserving redemption. Of His people falling away, and Him responding in love and with grace – a love we could never deserve. It will never cease to blow my mind that despite our gallons of shortcomings, God still uses people – flawed and messy – to make Himself known.” Albeit there is some truth in these sentences, these statements centers the entire argument around man and not the true story throughout history. The story of history is the story of Jesus Christ. It is not the story of God using flawed people to make Himself known. God used flawed people to proclaim the story of Jesus but the story is about His Son – and this is not just a technical difference. This story of Jesus Christ is not about us – that we are included is a blessing – but whenever the story begins to pivot upon us, we have chosen to follow the wisdom of this world and are proclaiming a self-help gospel.
The author continued this thought: “I believe that all people are capable of nation-changing things within this earth. I believe the only things necessary for God to use your life in incredible ways is willingness and obedience. Listen, and obey. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. But the question is, if God WERE to bless us in that way.. could we handle it?” Please tell me where is Scripture can we find any of us “capable of nation-changing” or of God looking to do great things through us if we will just accept His blessing. These are nothing more than new-age self help proclamations. It is a prime example of using God instead of worshipping Him.
Has God done great things through man? Yes. However, there is no example in Scripture where this came about by their willingness to be used or their willingness to accept God’s blessing. It only came about when God chose to use them and they understood their wretchedness (see Isa 6:5). Never did they seek to be used, they only sought to humble themselves before God and proclaim and exalt Him before man.
The author claimed, “It’s clear that God entrusts BLESSING to those who manage blessing well” and “He LONGS to bless us, so we can bless others.” This, again, is worldly wisdom on the same level as “God helps those who help themselves” – and, sorry, but using the parable of the talents to reach this conclusion is taking the story out of context. There are no Biblical foundation for these claims. It is clear in Scripture God works for His own glory (Isa 48:11). Even our salvation is for His glory (Eph 1:3-14). In fact, the blessing the Apostle Paul wants us to understand is God chose us before the world began; He chose us through Jesus Christ and we did not choose Him. This is the blessing God is anxious to give us – and it is for His glory alone (Eph 2:8-10).
The author then wrapped up the article with more new-age worldly wisdom: “It brings to mind this beauty: live simply so others may simply live.” This is found no where in the Word of God and the whole intention of the phrase is to prevent man from reflecting God’s image by producing from the resources He has given us. Then she ends with a sample prayer that is all about me and not about God, though there is a tip of the hat by calling God amazing.
Modern American Christianity is about making us feel better about following Christ – convincing us God wants to bless us if we will just accept it. But what does the Word say? Throughout the New Testament we are admonished to be patient in trials and it is through trials we will find God’s blessing (Col 1:11-14; Heb 12:3-8; Jam 1:2-4; 5:11). There are no shortcuts to following Christ and He said we must deny ourselves – not search for a self help or a comfortable life – and take up our cross daily for His name’s sake (Mat 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mar 8:34-35; Luk 9:23-24). The sad story is most professing Christians no longer profess Christ and exalt His name. Instead, we read Scripture in the context it is about us and we exalt each other.
Jesus asked the question, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” [Joh 5:44]. If our focus is on ourselves and winning favor with each other and/or the world, we cannot be saved (1Jo 2:15). Keep the faith.