“I’m so blessed!” We throw that phrase around a lot —whether we’re sharing pictures from our most recent vacation, updating everyone on our latest promotion, or sharing our new relationship status. Without a second thought, we’ll equate these happy moments or personal successes to God showering blessings on us.
But are these pleasures and successes really God's highest priority? No, not really, says Gospel Coalition contributor Emily Wierenga. In her post, 8 Lies Christians Believe about Success, Emily points out that we often approach Christianity as a “magic wand instead of a humble posture.” Here are just a few of the big we Christians tend to fall for, and why they simply aren’t true.
Lie #1: God’s blessing is tangible. Why is the Sermon on the Mount one of the most popular passages of scripture, and yet so forgotten when we define blessings? In that sermon, Jesus says that the blessed are those who are meek, poor, those who grieve, those who hunger and thirst, and those who are pure in heart. “These beatitudes have nothing to do with physical or material blessings,” Emily points out.
Lie #2: Suffering is a sign of failure. God often uses deep suffering, whether physical, spiritual or emotional, for our good and growth. Even if it should end in death, Emily writes, we will never know the power of Christ’s resurrection if we don’t enter first into suffering.
You can read all of Emily’s 8 lies about success here.
According to a recent BibleStudyTools.com article, 5 Verses You Thought Were in the Bible… but Aren’t, another lie we often tell ourselves is this:
Lie #3: God wants you to be happy. The truth is: our happiness and success are not God’s end goals.
This popular verse floats to the top every so often and gets thrown around on talk shows and magazines. We like to think that our happiness is God’s highest goal because that fits our consumer-focused, instant-access, you-deserve-it world. It’s a verse that allows people to skirt other biblical mandates because, as is often claimed, happiness trumps everything else.
But none of these false verses does more damage than this one. So, let’s just be blunt here: your happiness is not God’s intent nor your reason for existing. We are here to praise God—not to accumulate wealth, be comfortable, have a great relationship, feel satisfied, or reach our personal goals.
So, while it’s right and good to be thankful for the tangible blessings in your life, don’t fail to see that blessings from God don’t always make you want to throw your hands up and yell, “So blessed!” God wants you to spend your whole life drawing closer to himself. Sometimes we are drawn close through tangible blessings, but often, we draw close to him when we aren’t happy, when we experience moments of deep suffering and hardship.
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.