By Dr. Audrey Davidheiser, Crosswalk.com
The year may be new, but you won’t catch Satan interviewing for another job.
Millenia ago, Jesus already outlined the Thief’s threefold goal: to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10). This lawless being will resort to anything to accomplish his purposes, including manipulating us to carry out his wicked schemes.
One of his reliable tactics has to do with the tongue. The devil knows God has hidden the key to both life and death in our tongue (Proverbs 18:21). If he can convince us to utter destructive words, he can steer our lives toward death, which is one of his major agendas for us—whether in its final form (physical death), relational (like the dissolution of a marriage), or financial.
Thankfully, we’re not unaware of the Adversary’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11).
How about if we start the year by vowing to remain vigilant over our speech? Let’s echo David’s prayer for the Lord to guard our mouths (Psalm 141:3).
Let’s also purge the following six phrases from our vocabulary:
Dr. Timothy Jay’s research on cursing motivated him to estimate that profanity amounts to 0.5 percent of an average speaker's daily words. According to a 2007 study, the average individual utters about 16,000 words every day. This means the average speaker produces about 80 curse words daily.
If we were to work with the numbers cited above, giving place to profanity means we’re inviting Satan to ransack our lives 80 times every day. That’s what Psalm 109:17-18 reveals: “He loved to curse; let curses come upon him! He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him! He clothed himself with cursing as his coat; may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones!” (ESV).
Besides, muttering expletives disobeys God’s directive. He’s instructed us to fill our mouths with blessings. The Lord is so adamant about it, He emphasized that even when someone persecutes us, we’re not allowed to change our script and curse them instead (Romans 12:14).
The 10 commandments are still in effect, even for the 21st century. It means we’re still required to honor God’s name instead of misusing it (Exodus 20:7). But oh, there’s so much pressure to break this particular commandment! If you’re like me, you’ve received an “omg” text or heard teens and adults alike utter “oh my God” for the most frivolous of reasons. (I’ve even encountered a pizza parlor after the same irreverent abbreviation.)
Or how about the countless times people in real-world and in movies swear using Jesus’ name?
God didn’t instruct us to implement the third commandment because He’s an egomaniac who demands complete submission from His subjects. Rather, there’s absolute power in His name. Every other name has to bow before Jesus, the name above every name (Philippians 2:9-11). Just a quick call on His name guarantees protection (Proverbs 18:10), deliverance (Joel 2:32), and salvation (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13).
Allowing our tongues to treat His name casually, however, will dilute this truth.
3. The Universe
Is there such a thing as the universe? Yes. Genesis reveals how God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). This is how the entire universe materialized. But the Word is clear about Who holds the power—the Creator, not what’s created. Yet, crediting “the universe” for the goings on in our world has increased in popularity, even in Christian circles.
For instance, take the quote “the universe keeps throwing them together,” referring to a man and woman who were attracted to each other. At best, attributing intentional behavior to the universe amounts to silliness, and at worst, it’s a slap against the face of the Creator. Yet, it was a best-selling Christian novelist who glorified the universe in her social media accounts, all in the service of promoting her latest novel!
Don’t follow in her footsteps. Let’s not “exchange the truth about God for a lie, and worship and serve the creature [that is, the universe] rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25). Give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7) and glorify God for His intricate workings in our lives.
4. Mother Earth/Mother Nature
The Bible never refers to the Earth this way. Instead, Mother Nature originates from Greek mythology. According to GreekMedicine.net, the first Greek god was goddess Gaia—Mother Earth—who not only self-created out of chaos, but also gave life to everyone. In addition, Native Americans consider themselves children of Mother Earth.
Along with personifying the Earth as a mother comes the devout effort to protect it. While Earth Day might serve as a reminder not to trash the planet for some, to others, it’s so much more. A California university once issued an invitation to “honor Earth Day . . . [with] a special program of meditation and ritual as we deepen our sacred connection to both the planet and the spirit of humanity.”
Did you catch the spiritual elements embedded in that invitation? As Christians, we disavow worship of any deity but the one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:29). As such, a biblically balanced attitude toward the Earth involves caring for the planet (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2: 15, Psalm 115:16)—even with full knowledge that both the Earth and the heavens will perish one day (Matthew 5:18, 2 Peter 3:10). We may plant trees and reduce plastic waste, but we never revere the Earth.
According to the dictionary, karma means “the force created by a person's actions that is believed in Hinduism and Buddhism to determine what that person's next life will be like.” Next life? That’s right. This definition includes a belief in reincarnation, which is contrary to a Christian perspective.
But even if you reject reincarnation, there’s another definition of karma that’s more informal and therefore popular. This definition views fate or destiny as dependent on a person’s past behavior.
If this concept sounds familiar, that’s because Satan, who copycats God at every turn, stole the biblical principle called sowing and reaping to then rebrand it as karma: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).
Instead of labeling actions as bringing good or bad karma, let’s renew our minds and refer to them by their rightful name—sowing and reaping.
Have you noticed how the general population credits good things to luck? When someone escapes a natural disaster, it’s because they’re “lucky.” Meanwhile, insurance adjusters refer to the same tragedy as an “act of God.”
In other words, the mantra goes like this. If it’s bad, blame God; if it’s good, it must be luck.
This lie originated from—you guessed it—Satan. He devises ways to turn us against God while simultaneously attempting to steal from, kill, or destroy us (John 10:10). 2 Corinthians 4:4 labels him the god of this age; as the wicked ruler of this world, Satan can easily manufacture catastrophes, accidents, and mishaps of all kinds.
As far as the good things of life are concerned, the same verse—John 10:10—also reveals God’s purpose to bestow us with so much life, it oozes out of us in overflow. That’s why we don’t need to depend on luck to improve our standing. Why should we, when our good Father yearns to prosper us (3 John 1:2)? God has bestowed us with the power to gain wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) as long as we seek first His kingdom business (Matthew 6:33). Indeed, God is in the blessing business.
Let’s inform the world that good things happen not because we’re lucky, but because we’re blessed.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Sophie Walster
Audrey Davidheiser, PhD is a California licensed psychologist, certified Internal Family Systems therapist, and author of Surviving Difficult People: When Your Faith and Feelings Clash. She founded and directed a counseling center for the Los Angeles Dream Center, supervised graduate students, and has treated close to 2,200 clients. Dr. Audrey devotes her California practice to survivors of psychological trauma. Visit her on www.aimforbreakthrough.com and Instagram @DrAudreyD.