1) I’m just a sinner saved by grace
I grew up hearing frequently in church that we are sinners saved by grace. In one sense this is true… but the problem is we still identify with the past rather than the logical conclusion.
A sinner saved by grace is by very definition no longer a sinner.
We are saints. We have been made righteous.
We must identify with the new nature, not keep dragging around the old.
For more on this you should definitely check out my article on Romans 7: You Do Not Have A Sinful Nature
2) God created us to worship Him
We are often told that we were created to worship God. But that’s not all that accurate really.
Believing that creates a very warped image of God. Is God so insecure that He needed to create us to worship Him.
God did not create man to have more beings worshiping Him… He is all sufficient in and of Himself. In fact, even if we didn’t worship Him the rocks would cry out.
Rather, God created us to enjoy relationship with Him! It is in that place we will worship Him.
We were made to be in relationship with God. Worship is a byproduct of that.
For more on this topic I’d encourage you to check out this video message over on The Grace Course – “In The Beginning”
3) I have to try hard to love God
Have you ever read the “greatest commandment” and felt good about yourself? I’ve not. Reading “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” rarely makes me feel encouraged about the degree to which I love God!
The truth of course is that Jesus was not giving us a rule to follow. No, He was summing up the law and showing us that we couldn’t love God in our own strength.
It is because God loved us that we can love Him.
Our job is not to love God more but to receive His love more. As we focus on God’s love for us our love for Him will in turn grow.
If you think this is something you need to figure out in your life you should check out this podcast…
Stop Trying To Love God & Let God Love You
4) I have to become more holy
What a funny notion it is to “become more holy”. Holiness by very definition is an either/or thing. You are either holy or you are unholy.
So where do we get the idea that we can become more holy?
Of course, as we study the scriptures we discover that we are holy! God has made us holy in Christ. Sure there is an outworking of that as we discover it. But we don’t become more holy rather we discover our holiness!
In that place God will transform our lives and bring forth more good fruit
For more on this see – The Christian Life Is Not About Becoming More Holy
5) It’s my job to change people’s actions.
This might be really disappointing news to you…
We can’t change people. God changes people.
Not only that but it’s not our job to change people.
Discipling people is not a process of getting them to clean up their act and stop sinning. Discipling is the process of helping people connect with God and renew their minds to the truth about who God is and who they are in Him. In that place, sure, they’ll stop sinning, but it is God who does the work… not you.
I talked about this in my article discussing why many pastors are struggling and burning out
6) The world is going to get worse and worse before Jesus returns
This one is pretty funny. Or at least it would be if it wasn’t so prevalent and damaging to the body of Christ and the world around us!
The church today seems to be hellbent (no pun intended) on seeing the world “go to hell”.
The stats are in and no matter what the Christians might say the world is unanimous… things are getting better in every area of life. There has never been a better time to be alive on the Earth than today.
People often complain about “the world these days” and I ask them… when exactly would you prefer to live? The question speaks for itself… the past really sucked in comparison to today and few people would be signing up for a one-way ticket to 1600AD :)
I really struggle to see how the world falling apart makes God a victorious God. Never mind how a mysterious antichrist having his way with the world represents “no end to the increase of God’s Kingdom” or “on Earth as it is in Heaven”.
I do write a little on the website about this topic. However, odds are if you don’t believe what I’m saying you’ll need some more in-depth resources. For that I highly recommend these two books, they will change your life!
A great secular book that helps show on a statistical level that the world is getting better and better is:
7) Thinking everyone should agree with you
If you are the type of person that can’t be around people who disagree you are going to have a bad time.
In fact, you are probably already having a bad time.
There isn’t a person on the planet you will agree with 100%. If you know of such a person you just haven’t gotten to know them well enough yet!
Doing life with those who disagree with us is inevitable, we can’t avoid it so we had better learn to do it!
Not only that, you need to embrace differing opinions as a good thing.
It’s in the relationship with different people that we are sharpened, we learn new things, discover our blind-spots and help others discover theirs.
My good friend Jared wrote a great blog on the importance of this topic and how it relates to church unity. You can read that here – Iced Tea, Hot Tea Or Unity
8) Thinking you need to have all the answers
I don’t know about you but I’m a recovering know-it-all. I’m the most opinionated guy I know. Even if I don’t know about a topic I’ll be quick to pick a side and argue it to the death. While I’m a lot more mellow these days and have let a lot of that side of me fall to the wayside – I still have my moments.
Learning to be humble, teachable and say “I don’t know” is a huge life skill to learn.
It helps us grow, connects us with people on a more meaningful level (nobody likes a no-it-all) and it stops the spread of bad theology! (I’d say a huge amount of bad theology was born because someone wasn’t willing to say “I don’t know”. This causes us to have to come up with the best thing we can think of at the time.)
Learning to live in mystery and say – “I don’t know about that. What do you think?” is one of the biggest steps towards maturity you can take.
As Socrates said – “When I was young, I knew everything but now I know nothing.” Learn to be humble and admit we don’t have all the answers. Peace comes from leaning on His understanding, not ours.
9) Believing that your sin somehow causes God to separate from you
Few things are more stupid than believing God can’t look upon sin. I mean, that would leave God very little to look at since the fall!
If Jesus taught us anything it was that God has no problem being around sinners. He chooses to love them where they are, amidst all their faults and failures.
We most certainly don’t want to have sin in our lives. We have been made righteous, our nature in Christ is to bring forth righteous fruit. So don’t think I’m saying that it’s good to sin, or that we should turn a blind eye to it.
However, in our lives, if and when it occurs we need to know that it in no way separates us from God. We have to learn to trust that God is bigger than sin and fully dealt with it on the cross.
For more on this I’d encourage you to watch the video “Does Sin Really Separate You From God?”
10) Thinking God will punish you if you don’t tithe
The amount of people who think that they will come under a curse if they don’t give 10% to their local church every week scares me!
Christ became a curse so that we could be delivered from the curse completely! We are blessed in Him and as it says in Numbers – “What God has blessed no man can curse”.
And yet, all over the world, church leaders are telling their congregations that they will be cursed if they don’t conduct their finances in a certain way.
Here’s the deal, we are Christians, we are in God’s image and likeness… of course we want to give.
But God does not want us to give under compulsion! Certainly not because we might be cursed if we don’t!
He wants us to give freely and generously because we are givers by nature.
For more on the tithe I have an extremely detailed write up here – “Tithing: The Great Commission”
What are some things you have thought in your Christian life which have turned out to be poisonous in the long run?
Are there any of the ones above you need to rethink?
I’d love to hear from you – please do leave a comment below :)