I have come to realize recently how much believers use catch-phrases. We share them as memes, as pretty pictures on Facebook or simply as quotes on WhatsApp. If someone sends a catch-phrase to us, we might even go “Yes! Amen! How true!” and so forth. We may be very well-intentioned as we do that. But do we ever stop to consider what these expressions really mean and what we really think about them?
Let’s stop for a moment and contemplate the meaning of just a few of these catch-phrases and examine them in light of God’s Word. I’m not saying all of them are wrong. Some, in fact, hold very encouraging truths. But when we just go “Amen” for every one without thinking about it, even how it affects us or applies to our lives, our thoughts tend to revolve around the catch-phrase and not around the Bible. I’m sure we can all come up with an example or two, in the different areas of our lives.
You’ve probably heard things like –
“Waiting for God to show up.”
“God did it again.”
“Our hearts should break over what breaks God’s heart”.
Or in things related to marriage –
“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ, so that a man should seek HIM first to find it.”
“Looking for a Boaz/Looking for a Ruth”
“Looking for a proverbs 31 woman!”
And so forth.
We can delve into each of these in a separate post. I certainly have done my share of using catch-phrases or thinking along the lines of some of them. However, I have come to realise that some of them not only aren’t true, but are un-Biblical expressions. For example: “Waiting for God to show up.” That is an un-Biblical statement. God is always present. The question is whether we are aware of His presence or acknowledge it. Just because we don’t always have things done our way or get the outcome we want, doesn’t mean God isn’t there or that He is not in control. We need to be careful not to turn God into a puppet, where our wish is His command. The same is true for “God did it again!” So God did it only if it’s the way we expect it to be done? He is in control and loves us, so He does what is best for us, not what we want. He deals with us according to our needs, not our greeds (also a catch-phrase).
“Our hearts should break over what breaks God’s heart!” – Are we really ready for God to purge out of hearts those things that break His heart? God is holy and we have a long way to go to fully understand what it takes to conform our hearts and minds to His holiness. Do our hearts break over the evil all around us? Our considerations of what is evil and what is impure fall far short of His. Do we REALLY desire for God to break our hearts over all of the sins in the world that break His heart? He is too holy to even look upon sin. Do we indulge ourselves in it and try to justify why our standard is better than His? Or is this just another nice catch-phrase in a song or part of our daily communications with one another in an effort to display holiness?
What about “Looking for a Boaz/Looking for a Ruth” or “Looking for a Proverbs 31 woman”? What do we mean by those statements? Do we really think that there is another Biblical Boaz or Ruth somewhere “out there”? There was only one Boaz and only one Ruth. The Proverbs 31 woman is not Mrs. Lemuel, but a description of an ideal woman, whose characteristics are to be aspired to. Can we desire and pray for our spouses to be like Boaz, like Ruth, like the woman described in Proverbs 31? Absolutely! We can pray that our spouses be like them – people who are first and foremost, born again and who love the Lord with all their heart. We need to have a correct understanding of what it means to fear the Lord – to have an awesome reverence for Him. If we draw closer to the Lord, He will draw closer to us. We will develop a love for His Word and a desire to study it to show ourselves approved and able to rightly divide the Word of Truth. We need to cultivate a Godly work ethic and encourage our spouses in the areas of their involvements, to encourage them in the Lord and to build them up, without using catch-phrases and, certainly, not those that are un-Biblical.
There is so much more to say about this matter. We use words to communicate, but words have meanings and we should consider them before we join the masses and use meaningless catch-phrases. May God grant us wisdom to discern “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, [that our minds might] dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8). If we do, our expressions will be more Biblically based.
© Hannah Kramer
6 thoughts on “Breaking Down the Catch-Phrases”
This is so true, we do it all the time. When I first became a born-again believer of Jesus Christ. I had a mentor; I have to say I appreciated that so much. One of the things I would say is “AMEN” especially in church.
One Sunday after service she said to me, do you know what the word “AMEN” means? I said no. She said it means that you agree with what was spoken. She said until you search the scriptures for yourself do not make it a habit of saying that word. Because the person who you hear preaching or teaching a bible study or even in conversation could use the scripture out of content and now you just agreed with them.
From that day to this present day. I do not through that word around anymore. Even when my pastor is preaching, I do not say amen unless I know I have already studied that chapter before. And if I have not studied what he is preaching from then I go home, and I study it for myself then I can say. AMEN.
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Yes, how true. Thank you for sharing that!
Great thoughts Hannah! Hope you’re doing well, sister!
Proverbs has a lot to say about the care we must put into our words. Prov 18:20-21 stand out to me: “With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” I think Solomon would agree with you that we should not take catch phrases or any words lightly… but this is one of the most common ways we sin (James 3:2).
Regarding “Our hearts should break over what breaks God’s heart,” are you agreeing that “our hearts SHOULD break over what breaks God’s heart,” but suggesting that we use this phrase too lightly without really cultivating the kind of brokenness that is aligned with God’s will? It does seem to me that should seek to have sorrow over what God has sorrow over, and love what God loves… am I understanding you rightly?
Hi Alex, thank you. Yes, we should love what God loves and hate what He hates.
Your insight here, and your word skill in expressing it, are both “spot on” – as the British catch-phrase might express it. Good job.
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