Speaking Christianese: Breaking down common Christian phrases — part 1
If you’re a Christian, you might not have noticed that we have a lot of weird Christian phrases. If you’re not a Christian, some of these Christian phrases have probably stood out to you.
We’re here to help people decipher the mysterious language of Christianese by breaking down common Christian phrases in part 1of this new series:
“Guard your heart”
Guard your heart basically is just our fancy way of saying, “Make the best decision for yourself.” It does carry the implication that we’re not always the best at this. You wouldn’t say, “Guard your heart” to someone who is making wise choices, but if someone is having trouble making a tough decision even though there is an obviously healthy choice, that’s when you swing in with a good old “Guard your heart.”
“I feel like the Lord is telling me …”
We’ll tread carefully here because we believe God is alive and that He does interact with people, but this one can be tough because so many people use “I feel like the Lord is telling me …” to replace “I think …” You see the difference, right? One places the agency of a decision or opinion of the Lord. The other keeps the speaker responsible.
When a Christian drops this phrase on you, use discernment. Do you feel like what they’re saying is true to God’s character? Or, if it’s something pertaining directly to you, examine if you feel like this is what the Lord is telling you.
The nightmare scenario where this phrase has been known to be employed is “I feel like the Lord is telling me that we are supposed to get married.” Yes, this actually happens. If it happens to you, we think it’s perfectly reasonable to object that this is probably not really what the Lord is saying. …
“God won’t give you more than you can handle”
This Christian phrase is one of the most annoying because it’s totally untrue. Take a look at what Paul shared in one of his letters in the New Testament:
We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally — not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.
- 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (MSG)
Sounds like Paul and his friends were given more than they could handle, right? Thank God (literally) that God can handle anything and that He was with them through their trials. This is what’s actually promised to us: God is always with us in good situations and bad situations.
Sometimes, this is hard to see, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
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At Unfiltered Radio, we’re a little guilty of using Christian phrases like many other Christians, but we strive to be inclusive and to help those outside of the faith feel welcome. Check out our podcast to learn more about growing as an individual and developing a more authentic relationship with Jesus.