Ok, your mom probably did not teach you all of these things, or even some of these things. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been nurtured in them by our culture in a very motherly fashion. Many of these “truths” have been the steady milk our society has caused us to drink for years now. Some of these things you may have learned from your mom. But you have learned from other voices that speak in our society that seem almost as authoritative as her. But, how do these things compare to the mind of Jesus Christ? What does He think in regard to them.
1. All religions are essentially the same, so long as you love one another.
Jesus Christ did not die on a cross because He believes all religions are essentially the same. In fact, He died on a cross because His own people and the world we live in made no room for the faith He came and preached. And by rising from the dead, and being resurrected, Christ demonstrated the complete incompatibility of the faith He preached with all the other religions in this world.
2. America is a Christian nation.
A nation that owns a stockpile of nuclear weapons and that is ready to use them at a moments notice in order to maintain shalom (peace) cannot even begin to claim it is a Christian nation. The truth of the matter is, America has never been nor will it ever be able to claim to be a Christian nation. While many Christians certainly had a hand in helping found this nation, and while many Christian principles were employed in order to do it, the truth of the matter is, there is only one nation on this earth that has the right to call itself Christian– and that is the church of Jesus Christ.
3. God helps those who help themselves.
God has never helped nor will He ever help anybody who helps themselves. Such a notion is contrary to a proper understanding of God’s grace and favor. The truth of the matter is, God only helps those who cannot help themselves. He helps those who recognize they can bring nothing to the table, but can only humbly rely upon Him.
4. Home ownership is a wise financial investment.
Owning a home is great. Paying a 30-year mortgage is not. If you were to take out a 30-year loan out at the ultra low rate of 5% on $200,000, by the time you pay off your mortgage, you will have actually paid closer to $400,000. This does not include annual property taxes, homeowners insurance, HOA fees, and general maintenance and upkeep costs. When it is all said and done, your $200,000 home will cost you near $500,000!!! While it is possible your home will have a 250% return on investment over the course of 30 years, the likelihood of that happening is very slim, unless you live in an area that experiences a large real estate boom. But even if your home does see a 250% return on it in 30 years, remember, that’s what you need just to break even! Of course, I am speaking here purely of the financial investment of home ownership. The emotional return you and your family receive from doing something like this may make it worth the personal destruction of your wealth. But keep in mind, as Christians we are called to be good stewards of the Lord’s money. If God has blessed you with the ability to make money, you should probably reconsider destroying your wealth with a 30-year mortgage. Consider buying a home in cash, or if you must, a 15-year 3.5 % fixed loan at the most.
5. You can be whatever you want to be when you grow up.
While it may give one a sense of empowerment, and foster a creative mind that causes the child to set a personal goal and seek to achieve it, the truth of the matter is, you cannot be whatever you want when you grow up. While we live in a world of seemingly endless possibilities, at the end of the day, we are limited and finite. We can only do so much. We do not have infinite strength or resources. But a great truth is that we serve a God who is sovereign and in control. We serve a God who wants the best for us, who lacks nothing, and is able to do exceedingly above everything that we could ever think or ask. Instead of teaching children that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up, we should teach them that God has a purpose and plan, and that He is inviting them to discover that and to participate in that plan. And by relying on the Lord, they can accomplish whatever He wills for them.
The concept of working, saving, and investing for 40 years, so you can one day retire consumes the thoughts of many people today. Indeed, many look at a 401-k, IRA, pension, and social security as a right. Hasn’t the world always retired at the ripe old age of 65? Truth be told, the idea of retirement while not a new concept, is something that has not been the common experience for mankind– even in America. It’s mostly a recent concept that many have been able to experience because we live in a very wealthy society. And while I don’t knock the concept by any stretch of the imagination (as the priests of the Old Testament retired when they were old enough), we should never look at retirement as a Divine right. Nor should we all necessarily look at it as a goal that we should all strive to attain. Indeed, the idea that you and I could possibly spend the last 10, 20, or 30+ years of our life not working isn’t exactly a noble aspiration in the eyes of the Scripture. Such is more akin to sloth and laziness more than anything. 6 days shall you work and on the 7th you shall rest. That principle doesn’t stop just because you felt that you were old enough that it shouldn’t apply to you anymore.
7. Good people go to heaven.
While it is true, there are good people who are in heaven, the concept is equally true, that there are good people who go to hell every single day. The truth of the matter is, no matter how good we think we or others might be, in the eyes of God, there is none good– not even one. The only people who go to heaven when they die are those who have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ, and the mercy He offers to all who call upon His name.
8. Sex before marriage is like test driving a car…
Ok, your mom probably did not teach you this one. But it is a commonly held belief. And it seems to make sense though, right? You would never buy a car without taking it for a test drive. So, you should never marry a person without having sex with them for a while too, right? While this seems like bullet proof logic, the logic in it is ultimately flawed. Cars and people are not the same. People are created in the image and likeness of God, and should not be likened to the same treatment as an inanimate hunk of metal. People are not meant to be test-driven. People are meant to be loved, respected, and treated as Jesus Christ would treat them. They are not meant to be used.
9. Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.
While this saying probably originally had in mind some useless pillar-saint type individual, it has been recently expanded to include anybody who would have a serious devotional life. The saying has come to be used as a pejorative towards anybody who takes their faith “too seriously,” and is used by people who wish to justify their own carnal and hellish life. But as Leonard Ravenhill pointed out, there is no such thing as a man that is too heavenly minded. Indeed, what the world needs most is men who are consumed with heaven. To be heavenly minded is to be of earthly good.
10. You only get one shot at life, so you better make the most of it.
This statement is true, but only if you are going to hell. For those of us who are amongst the redeemed, this life is not all that there is. Indeed, we as Christians look forward to life everlasting. We look forward to the day in which the dead shall be raised. We long for the resurrection and the age to come. As a result, if we are unable to fulfill all the desires on our “bucket list,” (the things we want to do before we die) then we shall die in perfect peace. Why? Because we who are living our lives in light of eternity realize that even should we not get to do all the things we want to do before we die, we ultimately have all of eternity to fulfill all the desires and longings of our heart. If you don’t get to visit Hawaii before you die… it’s ok. Hawaii as great as it is now will be all the better in the age to come.