Why God is Not Your CoPilot (And 4 Other Cliches to Crush)

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Leaders must not allow these common phrases to be passed off as Christian truth.

There are several unbiblical and untrue clichés that are seemingly passed from one generation of Christians to another. And these clichés need to be crushed.

Believers must continually repent of the thinking represented in these clichés, and Christian leaders must not allow these clichés to be passed off as Christian truth.

Here are my top five Christian clichés that need crushing.

5. Do your best, trust God with the rest.

I first saw this cliché on a poster of a guy playing basketball. He was attempting a dunk and was halfway to the rim. The poster seemed to imply to try your best to dunk the ball, and God will reach down and pull you up the rest of the way. It never worked for me.

The message wrongly paints the picture that God steps in and supplies the rest to our valiant efforts. And because one person’s best may be better than another person’s best, some need more help than others.

The truth is that no one’s best is better because even our best efforts are filthy rags before our holy God. And how foolish and miserable is it to only trust God with the rest, the leftovers? It’s much better to trust Him with everything. He desires and demands that we trust Him with all that we are.

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4. God helps those who help themselves.

Similar to the first cliché, this one encourages you to help yourself, to attempt to live this life well in your own strength and energy. And God will look down and see your effort and provide the extra help you need.

But the message of the Christian faith is not that God helps those who help themselves. It is that God helps the helpless. And all of us are helpless before Him. We’re helpless in rescuing ourselves from our sin, and we’re helpless to live as we should. We desperately need Him each moment. We grow in Him as we remember our helplessness and rely on Him continually for everything.

3. God will not give you more than you can handle.

Maybe you were having a difficult trial, and some well-meaning person takes you to lunch to offer encouragement. He or she reaches across the table and says, “Hang in there. God will never give you more than you can handle.” It sounds so encouraging, but it is deeply wrong.

Actually He will give us way more than we can handle in our own strength. In His goodness, He will allow life to overwhelm us so that we’ll continually recognize our need for Him, so we’ll humbly seek His strength and wisdom. When we realize that we’re utterly helpless without His grace and strength in our lives, we are placed in a vulnerable posture that welcomes His power. Sometimes, God allows circumstances to completely overwhelm us to put us in that posture.

Eric Geiger Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, Eric served local churches, most recently investing eight years as the executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Miami. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

More from Eric Geiger or visit Eric at http://ericgeiger.com/

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  • Pastor Steve

    The expression “God will not give you more than you can handle” goes way beyond the scope of temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). I actually think that the expression needs to be eradicated from our speech. I have heard too many people express this sentiment to those who are going through extreme trials. It only leaves the hearer feeling guilty for “not being able to handle” the situation. The fact is simple: if God never gave us any more than we could handle – we wouldn’t need to depend on God, let alone one another. In times of trial, we certainly shouldn’t be expected to “handle it” on our own. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are taught to weep with those who weep, and mourn with those who mourn. We are taught to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the poor. In every case, the person in need should not be expected to “handle it” but to depend on God for their strength and for the church to come along side of them to support.

  • okneal49

    I have heard preachers on TV and other venues quote, “The Bible says, ‘God inhabits the praise of His people.'” Try to find it. It is not there. Sounds like it should be or could be, but it is not. A great cliche, but a cliche none the less.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    Neither God nor Christ is our pilot. They are the navigators. It is till OUR decision whether or not to follow the directions.


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