Written by Jason Iu. Artwork by Christine Hwang.
Not long ago the youth group in my church was given a short exercise. They would be told a well-known phrase and have to figure out whether it came from the Bible or not. While they did reasonably well, there were some sayings that they seemed confident were in the Bible, but actually weren’t. The point of this exercise wasn’t simply to show them how little they knew about the Word of God. Rather, it was to point out how worldly wisdom could easily creep into our teachings, and how easily Christians can be deceived into believing a saying just because God is mentioned.
There are a lot of various sayings out in the world today that sound good on the surface, so we either think that they are from God, or that they can complement God’s Word. For example, someone can hear the old saying, “God helps those who help themselves,” thinking that it’s in the Bible (it’s not), and believe in the importance of self-initiative, when they should be instead be looking at verses like Psalms 27:14: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
My encouragement for you is to always refer back to the Bible to attain wisdom. Do as instructed in 1 John 4:1 and “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Don’t take to heart every proverb that sounds good, lest we return to the time described in Judges 17:6, when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” As you look at the pieces of wisdom you use as guiding principles in your life, think about where they came from. Can they be traced back to the Bible? And if not, is it really something that God wants you to learn?
1. Can you identify any thought patterns or sayings you live by that may not reflect scripture truth? If so, what verse or scripture passage can you meditate on to replace those wrong teachings?
2. How do our beliefs affect our decisions and actions? Trace how what we hear, think, and take to heart reveals itself in what we do.