Recently I was talking with a dear brother who was struggling with his thought life, and I said to myself it’s time to revisit the “holy but”.
Proverbs 23:7 says: “For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.”
Did you know that people can say one thing but really be thinking another? Just listen to them talk. People actually live according to what they say after the word “but”. I don’t care what they say first before this conjunction; it’s what comes after that you hear what they are really thinking and believing in their heart.
Example: “So and so is a good man, we are lucky to have him for a pastor; “but”…now we are going to hear what they really think about the pastor. “But he talks too much.” “But his sermons are a bit dry.” “But…But…But.”
Sadly, most Christians typically say the wrong things before and after the but. We put God’s truth before the but and our situations or feelings after. We say things like, “I know Jesus loves me, but it doesn’t feel like it,” or “I know God is my sufficiency, but I don’t really have what I need,” or “I know I can do all things through Christ, but that’s easier said than done,” or “but I’m only human”, etc.
Now, when we do this to ourselves, where are we living? We are living in the negative thinking within. Remember, “for as a man thinks within himself, so he is.”
We need to learn to live out of God’s truth, to live out of the life of Christ within us. Our enemy the devil doesn’t care how much God talk we use in our lives as long as we put it before the “but”. God’s truth belongs after the “but”. I pray you are grasping this.
A name for putting God-talk after the “but” where it belongs is The Holy But. Our Lord used it in the Garden of Gethsemane. He said, “Father, take this cup from me, yet not my will be done, but yours.”
The Holy But is a bridge. It moves us from our negative thinking to faith in Christ Jesus. We don’t deny our circumstances because they are real, but they should prompt us to move through faith into living in the truth of the life within.
The Apostle Paul understood The Holy But, too. Let’s look at II Corinthians 4:7-10: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
Paul also penned Galatians 2:20 which reads: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me and the life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God…” To operate The Holy But, we have to speak or think our circumstances first and God’s truth last. This will move us from our circumstances to the solution—a person within, Christ in us, the hope of glory.
“I feel awfully weak, but Christ is my strength.”
“I am in pain, but Christ is my sufficiency.”
Bottom line, “we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.” Praise be to Christ…our Lord, our Savior, our very life within. Amen!
Revisiting the holy but helped my friend get his thinking straight. I pray it will help you, too.
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