I recently wrote a devotional for a group called The Back Row. It was about the “believe in yourself and you can do anything” line. Needless to say, I disagree with the line. I can believe in myself all day and there will be many things I cannot do.
Believing in yourself is fine if you are telling yourself you can do something you can actually do. For instance, if you are playing the piano in front of a group of people and you are nervous, it is appropriate to trust in your training and all your practice.
Unfortunately, what happens is we don’t practice and we don’t get training, and then we think that by believing, piano-playing skills will automatically show up.
Life doesn’t work that way. Modern education techniques tell kids they are smart and to believe in themselves in an effort to raise their performance in school. Recent studies show that our kids, while having some of the lowest test scores of any generation, at the same time have the best self-esteem about their smartness.
Many find this good. I find this evil, a lie, and of the devil.
OK, maybe not that bad, but it is dumb.
What is of the devil is when Christians use this same Jedi mind trick when it comes to our faith.
Christianity has borrowed, and possibly even invented, the idea that faith overcomes natural consequences.
Many Christians believe that, although they sin all the time, they are righteous. They believe that faith overcomes responsibility. Although I know I’m not righteous, I will believe I am, and thus God will have to accept me.
This is pretty close to foundational Christian doctrine at this point. God doesn’t see you, He only sees Christ’s righteousness in you. Is how I’ve heard it put.
Unfortunately for them, the Bible doesn’t say this. There is much deception on this issue by false teachers in the church today.
There are two verses in the Bible I’d like to point out that both begin with not being deceived. The reason why the writers of these verses said to not be deceived is because they knew there would be deception on this issue. Here are the two verses:
Paul and John both knew false teachers would play on this personal accountability issue. They knew many people would succumb to the false teaching that you don’t really have to be righteous. That faith somehow replaces reality.
If you live in sin, if there is no growth in you putting it off and doing righteousness instead, you are not saved. That is the clear teaching of 1 John and of the Bible.
Yeah, I know hardly anyone teaches this truth, but that doesn’t mean it’s not truth.
Faith does not cancel reality. You can’t suddenly play Mozart on the piano simply by believing, nor can you fool God into thinking you love Him, if love for Him is not a reality in your life.
Faith does not cancel reality. Faith in Christ gives you a new reality, a new life from above, one lived in righteousness, with fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.