HANNAN: The Word of God ... platitude or precept?

Lisa Hannan

God forgive us if we allow any syllable of His Holy Word to become a platitude to proclaim rather than a precept to be lived out.

It bothers me that so many scripture verses today have become cliches and platitudes in Christendom; cute “sayings” that are quoted but not revered; verses worn on clothing, coffee mugs or hanging on walls, but not lived out in the lives of God’s people.

God's Word says we are to write His Words on our hearts. "Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul ..." (Deut. 11:18).

As followers of Jesus, we are instructed in the Bible to "Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do" (Joshua 1:8).

Sadly, very few of us read or study God’s Word as much as we ought because we are too busy and distracted by all the world has to offer. But I cringe when I see a shirt or hat that flippantly throws “Jesus” in with coffee or sweet tea. Yes, I live in the South and I like sweet tea, and I wear shirts and have coffee mugs with scripture verses inscribed on them. I have artwork inscribed with scripture hanging in my home because I believe what the Word of God says, and I want others to believe as well. "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

But wearing scripture on a T-shirt and having it on my coffee mug or wall does not make me righteous. Those things do not make me one iota more like Christ. And if I am doing all of that, but not living out what the Bible teaches, I am doing more harm than good as far as being a witness for Christ.

D.L. Moody, one of the greatest preachers of all time, estimated that every 19 out of 20 professing Christians were doing more harm than good as it pertained to the Kingdom of God. And that estimation was made over 100 years ago. What would the statistics be today, I wonder?

Only the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ applied to our individual lives makes us “righteous” in God’s eyes (Romans 3:21-22). And the first step in being made righteous is to be born again, by recognizing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the cross for our sin, confessing our sin and asking Him to forgive us and to come into our life and be Lord (John 3:16) (Romans 10:9).

But reading the Word of God daily, meditating on it so that it can do the work of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), obeying what it says and applying it to our lives is what makes us more and more like Christ through the Holy Spirit in us. Living out the principles of the Word of God is a far better witness than just wearing it on my shirt or baseball cap.

Hang the Word of God on your walls, my friend! Drink your coffee (or sweet tea) from a mug inscribed with scripture. Wear those T-shirts that proclaim the Truth of God’s Word, but more importantly ... live your life according to those scriptures, and everyone will see that God's Word is not just a cliché or platitude you proclaim. It is your precept for life!


Lisa Hannan lives in Valdosta with her husband, attorney Miles Hannan, who has been practicing law in Valdosta for more than 30 years. She has a B.S. in psychology from Valdosta State University. You can find her at www.lisahannan.org.

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