Many of the popular ideas we hear on a regular basis sound good. They seem reasonable and right. But when compared with the Bible, we quickly see them for the myths they are—completely contrary to what God says in the Bible.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, in Isaiah 55:8 we read, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”
Below are several popular myths and what the Bible says in response:
Myth #1: Survival of the Fittest
Science classes in public schools have long taught that only the strong survive. When we look at the world around us, we are tempted to believe the myth that strength is rewarded while weakness is crushed.
That’s not how God’s ecosystem works. He doesn’t seek the strong or the wise or the powerful. Instead, He lifts up the weak and the foolish and the despised so that no one can boast before Him.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
Myth #2: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
The world teaches us from a young age to compete, to get what we deserve, to take what’s ours. It’s a rat race, and we see others get ahead by tearing and clawing their way to the top.
Once again, God’s way is completely opposite the world’s way. Not only does He not help those who help themselves, He also actively resists them while helping the humble.
Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. (Proverbs 3:34)
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
Myth #3: God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle
Many find this myth encouraging when facing life’s struggles. It allows us to believe that we have an innate power to handle adversity and that somehow God will not breach our personal limits and push us beyond our capacity to endure.
But we read in the Bible that when we are weak, He is strong. When we reach the end of our ability to endure, He steps in and carries us. He doesn’t promise that we will have the power to endure; He promises that He will have the power to live in us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (1 Corinthians 4:8-11)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Myth #4: Believe in Yourself
This myth is a favorite of the movies. Just when the protagonist faces failure, she believes in herself and finds success. This myth suggests that we follow our instincts, listen to our emotions, and follow our hearts
Unfortunately, our emotions are a fickle master. God’s word tells us to walk by faith, not by sight. We follow God’s way, even when our flesh yearns to go a different direction altogether. Rather than allow our decisions to be controlled by our emotions, we bring our emotions in line with God’s Word and insist that our will, thoughts, and emotions take a back seat to the gospel.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Myth #5: Stick Up for Yourself
In a world filled with bullies, sticking up for yourself seems right. After all, if you don’t protect your rights, who will? This is our natural instinct. Protect your interests at all costs, make sure you get a good deal, don’t let anyone take advantage of you.
But God sees it differently. He says if someone asks you for a small thing, give him or her a big thing. Allow yourself to be defrauded. Don’t insist on being first, being right, or getting the best deal.
To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? (1 Corinthians 6:7)
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44)
If we examine the generally accepted wisdom of our day, we will find even more myths that are refuted in God’s word. In fact, the gospel itself is contrary to the philosophy of the world. After all, our human nature wants to earn our way to heaven, but God tells us that eternity with Him is freely available to anyone who believes.
Let us be like the Bereans in Acts 17 who examined every teaching to see if it lined up with Scripture before we accept it as true.