There are some things that are so good, so true, so important, so powerful, and so needed that they get said over and over and over again. Their truthfulness and power makes them very repeatable. Unfortunately, however, being repeated over and over again makes them lose the shimmer they once had. As the hit song becomes an annoyance after the 1,000th time it is played on the radio, so truth overplayed gives way to rolling eyes. Although overplayed, truths don’t become less true, but they definitely becomes less listened to.
This is what we call a cliché.
Cliché & Christianity
An important lesson for all Christians is to know the inherent danger in the power of what we treat as cliché. There is a danger in Christian life of becoming blinded by what we wrongly put in the cliché category. You see, there are things that God has given us in His Word that are always relevant, always true, and always good, but, in sin, we allow our ears to become dull to their power and we stop listening. We let cliché rob us.
There are plenty of examples I could throw out there, but there is one that I have always come back to again and again. It is found in the pages of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Paul writes:
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5-7).
I can hear the eyes rolling and the objections being raised, “Yea, yea, yea; I have heard this! It only makes me start worrying about not worrying!” But, again, I believe this verse has not lost its truthfulness and power, but cliché robbed us and ran away with our wallet. By letting God’s Word become cliché have we kept ourselves from something beautiful.
D.A. Carson wisely probes:
Those of us who have been born into the family of God know about these things (praying about what worries us). But knowing about them and finding them true in our experience are two different things. When was the last time you prayed explicitly and at length over the things that worry you, trouble you, plague you? Did you take them out and recount them to God, one by one, laying your burdens on Him?
Time, time alone and quiet before God, that is what we need. Our lives are so rushed that we begrudge a three-minute “quiet time,” and then we wonder where God is.
Yet the psalmist had it right: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust'” (Psalm 91:1-2).
Christians who comes before the Father in regular prayer discover that Peter is right: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
They discover that Paul is right: “And we know that all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We are refreshed in the assurance of God’s sovereign and wise goodness. According to Philippians 4, the way to be anxious about nothing is to be prayerful about everything. . . J.A. Bengel was right to insist that anxiety and genuine prayer are more opposed to each other than fire and water. I have yet to meet a chronic worrier who enjoys an excellent prayer life. (Taken from Basic for Believers, p. 112).
Don’t worry about worrying, but let your worry push you into the throne room of God where you have a listening ear in the Almighty-Over-Everything One. Don’t let this counsel be relegated to the storeroom of cliché-ity, but store it in your heart and let it guide you to your knees. You don’t have to walk this earth with a heart filled with worry, fear, and anxiety, you can dump it all off in the hands of Your Father and let Him guard your heart with the peace that comes from His Son.
So, go and kick cliché-ity in the face and take your truth back.