We are familiar with sayings, mottos, and proverbs. These are words of wisdom from respectable people or old traditional sayings. They serve as standards and guidance for better living. These words of wisdom usually discuss about everyday life.
However, while wisdom intendeds to help improve lives, not all produces better living. Some wisdom, sayings and advises are actually destructive, no matter how old they are.
So what are these sayings and advises that can possibly destroy lives instead of improve them? How can you know if these advises will help you improve your life, not destroy it?
First of all, you must check if these advises coincide with the bible. As Christians, the bible is our final authority. Anything that opposes the bible must not be considered.
Second, any advice that encourages you to prioritize your own nature or desire is destructive. The bible teaches nothing (and instead warns us) about following your own will.
What makes these false wisdom more dangerous is that they seem to be righteous. But if you’re going to apply them without consulting the word of God, it will lead you to destruction.
Here are the advice that we usually hear that could result in destruction if not applied properly.
Be Who You Are
What makes it seem right:
This means that you must never be ashamed of who you are. You should do what you want to do and don’t be affected with other influences or what will other people say. No one should dictate who you should become and what you should do.
What makes it enticing:
Applying this phrase to your life means that you have a character. It promotes strong personality. It means that you can live against the flow or the trend. We admire people who support and encourage this kind of living such as Lady Gaga (Born This Way) and Madonna (Express Yourself).
What makes it destructive:
While I agree that we must never be ashamed of who we are. But we must first know its limitation when we apply this to our life. First, we must learn our true nature, which the character we’ll turn into when we applied this advice.
The bible said that we are sinful and fall short to the glory of God (Romans 3:23). To control this nature, God has set standards and commandments to prevent us from sinning. Many of these standards are against our nature including:
Love those who hates you (Matthew 5:44) – we only love those who loves us.
When you were hit on the right cheek, give the other one (Matthew 5:39) – we fight tooth for a tooth and eye for an eye.
If your want to follow me, deny yourself (Matthew 16:24) – we are selfish in nature
Being who you are or following your nature would give someone an excuse to live and remain in sin. It also makes them avoid or hate any corrections, thinking that remaining on their sinful nature is the right thing to do and they will only recognize corrections as judgments.
While the bible informs us how important we are in God’s eyes and how He created us uniquely, it also warns us of being a lover of ourselves. God also instructs us to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). God’s (including Jesus’) commandments can be summed up into two commandments; love God above everything else, and love your neighbor.
Life is short
What makes it seem right?
When you are told “life is short”, it is an encouragement to make the most of your time. Whether it’d be to work non-stop, spend more time with your loved ones, or enjoy life to the fullest. Life is too short to waste for unproductive things and worries and problems.
This phrase could be useful if you’re going to apply it in serving the Lord. We must prevent wasting our God-given time, talent, strength and knowledge into senseless things but instead use it for His glory.
What makes it appealing?
The phrase gives us the license to do what we want including enjoying to the fullest. This was also been used as a meaning for living: to enjoy life.
What makes it destructive?
There are evil people. That is a fact. There are people who choose evil over good. And their pleasure is a threat to other people; rape, stealing, robbing, drugs, and even as simple as gossiping and bullying. They do what pleasures them while harming other people.
While there can be difference between enjoyment and pleasure, with the former portrays a deeper meaning, many people still associates pleasure with enjoyment. Satisfying our flesh without God’s standard can be destructive.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying life. We just have to do it properly. The bible says, delight yourself in the Lord… (Psalm 37:4)
God encourages us to enjoy life. He instructed us to submit our worries to him including our problems and worries of tomorrow.
Listen to your heart
What makes it seem right:
We perceive the heart as the center of our being. Maybe because it is commonly known as the source of love, we perceived it as the source of goodness in our being. Deciding through the source of goodness and the center of our being makes it seem that we are deciding according to who we are and is able choose what’s good for us.
What makes it enticing:
Following your heart means you will never have to battle against your own desire. Like the first two, it encourages you to do what you want to do. It promises freedom, and there’s nothing best than following your heart’s desires.
What makes it dangerous:
Maybe we believe that there is no way that our heart will desire something evil. This contradicts what the bible says; that our heart is deceitful and we are sinful (Jeremiah 17:9). This means that it is not best to trust our heart. Our heart is capable of deceiving us and leads us into sin, incapable of choosing what’s best for us.
The bible has instructed us and says:
“Trust the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Following your heart has been the favorite method of the devil to deceive and tempt humanity. It was the method he used to encourage Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of knowledge. He knows that Man has desire to be superior and powerful. He took advantage of this to make Eve break God’s commandment. He knows this will work because he also fell in this trap; the desire to be like God.
While we may not have the same desire, which is to be like God, being sinful in nature, we have desire in our heart that prevents us to love our neighbor and do the will of God. Man is self-loving in nature. We prioritize ourselves that leads us to greediness and unloving towards others. We naturally choose what only benefits us.
There’s nothing wrong with applying these three wisdom in our lives. If you are godly, follows the commandments of the Lord, and your heart delights in His word, following them can produce a fruitful result and can lead into serving God. But if you don’t have any recognition for God, it would result in a dangerous and destructive outcome.
Here are more bible verses about God’s wisdom against man’s wisdom:
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. – 1 Corinthians 1:25
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. – 1 Corinthians 3:19