OFTEN HEARD FEEL GOOD STATEMENTS
“God is my co-pilot”
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”
“The most important thing is faith”
“God helps those who help themselves”
“I chose the lesser of two evils”
Appearances Are Deceiving
When you watch football games nowadays, with instant replay correcting the officials, there is a common phrase—“Upon further review”. How many times has a receiver seemed to make a catch, but in slow motion we see he trapped it on the ground? How many times have you been sure a guy fumbled, but in slow motion see his knee was down? In the same way the phrases above seem correct, seem valuable, and seem biblical, but “upon further review” they are not in the Bible and are actually contrary to biblical principles. They seem innocent enough but watch out. They are more humanistic than godly. They are more religious than spiritual. Remember Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way which seems right to man, but its end is the way of death”.
Let us examine each phrase:
1. God is my co-pilot—If God is your co-pilot you need to change seats. In the Bible God is the Lord of our life, not a co-pilot. A co-pilot is someone who backs you up, who is there for insurance in case something goes wrong. If you are the main pilot then you are running your life, you are choosing the direction, you are taking off and landing, and the main focus is on you and your plans. Unfortunately this is how most people live. Consequently, the words “my” and “I” are dominant in our vocabulary. James said it well in James 4:13, “Come now you who say, today we will go to such and such city and engage in business and make a profit yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears and then vanishes. Instead you ought to believe, ‘If the Lord wills we will live and also do this or that’. As it is you boast in your arrogance”.
2. Cleanliness is next to Godliness—Granted, being physically clean is an attribute to be admired. We should all bathe regularly and practice good hygiene. The problem is the Bible is much more concerned with the inner man than the outer man. Our biggest problem by far is spiritual and not physical. God is much more concerned with your heart and soul than the cleanliness of your hands as evidenced by Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 15:2. The Pharisees criticized Jesus and His disciples for not thoroughly washing their hands before eating. Jesus came back at them very aggressively showing how they actually broke the true law of God yet were proud because their hands were clean. Jesus went on to teach His disciples that it is only the evil things that come out of the heart, like evil thoughts and desires, that defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not spiritually defile a man.
3. The most important thing is faith—The question must be asked, “Faith in what?”. Faith is only as important as the object of that faith. There are plenty of people who live by faith in Osama ben Laden, but the Bible does not commend that faith. The object of your faith is all important. Biblically, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only valid object of faith. The post-modern view that all faiths are valid is not biblical, but it is the basis of idolatry and sin according to Romans 1:21, “For even though they knew the true God, they did not honor Him as God, but they became futile in their speculations…professing to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of God for an image of created things. Therefore God gave them over to the desires of their hearts to impurity so that their bodies are dishonored. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie…”
4. God helps those who help themselves—Obviously we are expected to be active, work hard, and take the initiative, but according to what authority? People “help themselves” according to their selfish desires with no biblical authority guiding their actions. Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica that “if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat either”. Therefore work and an active life are expected, but under the correct direction and purpose. To the Colossians Paul wrote, “ Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God”. Our activities and endeavors to help ourselves must be governed by the Word of God and for the glory of God as Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 10:31, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”. The next question then is, “Who does God help?” God helps the believer who has pure motives(James 4:3). God helps the believer who keeps His commandments(1 John 3:22). God helps the believer who abides in Christ(John 15:5).
Finally regarding, “I chose the lesser of two evils”, on this unbiblical cliché Charles Haddon Spurgeon offered the best advice, “Of two evils, choose neither”.
By Charlie Taylor