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In the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Jesus’ command to “follow me” appears repeatedly. In many cases, Jesus was calling the twelve men who would become His disciples. Other times, He spoke to anyone who wanted what He had to offer. To indeed follow Jesus means He has become everything to us. Everyone follows something: friends, popular culture, family, selfish desires or God. We can only follow one thing at a time. Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

There are many things you will say on your journey as a follower of Christ. It’s essential that what we say is truly representative of our faith. Too often, people will say things with good intent in relation to their personal lives or the lives of others that aren’t based on the Bible. These statements can be damaging and can also interfere with our walk with God or someone else’s. Here are six things you can’t say while following Jesus.

“The devil made me do it.”

This statement finds its genesis in the Garden of Eden. When Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, God confronted her about it. She shifted the blame for her sin by saying, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Things haven’t changed much over time. As much as we’d like to make Satan the scapegoat for all our bad choices, the concept just isn’t biblical. While Satan is the driving force behind much of the evil in our world today, we have our sinful nature to blame for most of our sins. James 1:14 says, “Each one is tempted when, by his evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” While it may seem discouraging to realize the sin we struggle with finds its origins within ourselves, it can also be empowering. Instead of having to battle a satanic attack, all we have to do is battle our flesh.

“We’re all God’s children.”

Generally, when people make this statement, they really mean, “God created us all,” which is accurate. God is the Father of us all in the sense that He formed us and gave us life. We are not, however, all God’s children. First, John 3:10 clearly describes those who have an intimate, personal, familial relationship with God: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” Because God is a relational being, until we accept His gift of eternal life by confessing and repenting of our sins, accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross on our behalf, and surrendering our lives to Him, we cannot be His children in the most authentic, most biblical sense of the word. We are just one of His created beings.

“Everything happens for a reason.”

We’ve all heard this statement. We may have even said it to someone who was in the midst of unimaginable grief, pain, heartache or despair. The truth is, sometimes bad things happen for no reason other than we are human beings having a human experience. Pain, heartache, grief, loss, disease and death are inevitable parts of the human experience. God’s plan is never for someone to have cancer. God’s Will is not for an innocent child to be brutally murdered. God’s Will is not chronic pain, illness, disability or death. God’s Will is not an event that happens to us; it’s how we respond to what happens. God’s Will is for us to walk with Him through cancer, abuse, death and illness. God’s Will is for us to draw close to Him in the midst of the pain. God’s Will is for us to use our painful life events to carry His message of hope, grace, forgiveness and mercy.

“God needed another angel.”

No matter the age, death is an inescapable reality for all of us. Ironically, many of us fear the death of family and friends more than we fear our death. It’s the kind of death that produces extreme pain that stirs our emotions to grasp at any hope we can muster to cause our hearts a brief moment of rest from the effects of brokenness over the unbearable loss. In the midst of grasping and searching for the right words to help others or even soothe our souls, we tend to believe things that aren’t biblically true. In such seasons, people will say, “God gained another angel today.” The truth is humans are humans, and angels are angels. This remains so even in eternity. That doesn’t mean there was good intent behind the statement, so this isn’t to be taken away from that. Often, the best thing we can do in times of grief is to hurt with them, hold them and just listen.

“Satan is testing me.”

How many times have you been through a really tough situation and thought, “This is the devil’s work,” and thought that he was testing you? You may have good intentions by thinking or saying this, but the truth is this kind of language hedges on abuse. When a seeker hears this, they hear an accusation that they have allowed the devil to claim territory in their hearts. It’s the kind of statement that can make people think that something is intrinsically wrong with them, something that has reached the inner depths of their souls. No, there is nothing wrong with doubting. Avoid these kinds of accusations at all costs.

“I’m blessed.”

God loves to bless His people. He starts early. Look at chapter one in the Bible. In Genesis 1:28, we read, “Then God blessed them (Adam and Eve)…” If your God is more concerned with something than a blessing, you missed something somewhere. So what’s the problem with saying “I’m blessed”? At times, we see it through a cultural lens. Someone asks you how you’re doing, and you respond, “Life is good. I’m blessed.” You just bought your first home. You write on Facebook, “I just closed on my first house. I’m living the blessed life.” Too often, we equate God’s blessing with our circumstances or possessions. Both are flawed interpretations of the blessed life. In the Bible, the blessing of God has nothing to do with the events of your life. Blessing is a declaration of God’s approval of you that God is for you and loves you. God’s blessing is a reflection of your identity, not your circumstances. The statement, “I’m blessed,” is as foundational a statement of truth as anyone can say. You are blessed right now, no matter your circumstances.

Following Jesus means striving to be like Him. He always obeyed His Father, so that’s what we strive to do. To truly follow Christ means to make Him your leader. Every statement and decision we make is filtered through His Word with the goal of glorifying Him in everything. To follow Jesus means we apply the truths we learn from His Word and live as if Jesus walked beside us in person. On your walk with Christ, make sure that what you’re saying truly represents what it means to be a believer.

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