A version of this piece originally appeared on mascaraandgrace.com. Published with permission.
If you’ve been a Christian for any significant amount of time, then you may have noticed some things that fellow Christians say that aren’t exactly in the Bible. These things are usually said with very good intentions and meant as encouragement, but I feel like it’s important that Christians spread biblical encouragement. I’m well aware that this post may ruffle some feathers, so I’m praying that this can be received with open hearts and minds. Please understand that I’m not here to shame or condemn, just simply to educate.
Let’s get into these 5 things Christians say that aren’t actually in the Bible.
1. God wants you to be happy.
I’m not saying that God wants us to be miserable, but God’s ultimate goal for us is to be holy. And this particular saying is dangerous because it’s often used to justify sin. I most often see this used when it comes to justifying divorce. There are biblical grounds for divorce, but it’s common to see “God doesn’t want you to be unhappy, so if you’re unhappy in your marriage then you should leave”.
Of course, being happy is healthy for you and not a bad thing, but holiness cannot be sacrificed for happiness.
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
2. Follow your heart
As a Christian, it’s important that you hold up every thought you have and everything you do to the Scriptures. Your heart, while good does come from it, is ultimately affected by sin and will lead you astray.
There are lots of verses about the heart in the Bible actually, but none of them tell you to follow it. It tells us to be pure in heart, to guard our hearts, that our hearts can be troubled, and that God is the true strength of our hearts.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
3. God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.
People often say this to provide comfort to others during times of trial, but there is no hierarchy. God is not looking upon us and judging us based off our strengths, because our strength comes from Him alone. As His children, we all have equal “access” to His strength to overcome sin and to strive for holiness.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
When you study what is in the Bible, this is proven to be entirely untrue. There are many examples in the Bible of people who were given much more than they could handle, but they got through it because they focused on God.
God desires for us to draw near to Him, and being given more than we can handle gives us that opportunity.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him… Psalm 145:18
5. We’re all God’s children.
What they should be saying is that we’re all created by God, which is true, but God is a relational being. Being God’s child requires an intimate and personal relationship with God. Until we accept and repent of our depravity, we are just one of His creations.
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. John 3:10