Christian quotes aren’t hard to find. You can find them on keychains, coffee mugs, your own Facebook page, and a dozen other places. They’re usually short, catchy, and written in looping calligraphy, and more often than not, they’re cheesy enough to make us roll our eyes.
But not all Christian quotations are like that. Some of them barge into our brains and refuse to leave. Some of them stick with us. Change us. Make us better.
I’ve been exposed to Christian literature my whole life, so here are seven quotes that have stuck with me and have since made me better.
1. John Piper
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
What it means to me: The more we rely on God, and the more we let ourselves be content with Him, the more God makes Himself evident in our lives.
What to do about it: Realize that while the world is a beautiful place, it can never fill up our souls the way God does. You don’t need to remodel the bathroom; you need God. You don’t need a new car; you need God. Realize that, and you’ll have a much harder time griping when life doesn’t go your way.
2. Rick Warren
God’s purpose is greater than our problems.
What it means to me: Human life is a messy business — a hodge-podge of everything from minor inconveniences to death itself. God is bigger than every single one of those things.
What to do about it: Human life and all its problems may be messy, but it is also temporary. Realize that while it’s natural and necessary to grieve, even the most excruciating physical and emotional pain can become insignificant as a fly when faced with the Almighty God.
3. RC Sproul
We are secured not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because he holds tightly to us.
What it means to me: I’m a fickle person who can’t possibly love God with anything other than broken promises, mixed motivations, and selfish intentions. I can’t possibly hold onto God with that kind of heart, but I’m saved because, despite all that, God doesn’t want to let me go.
What to do about it: If you’re not sure whether or not you’re a “good Christian,” remember that there is no such thing. Moses’s burst of anger got him barred from the Promised Land. King David committed adultery, murder, and an attempted coverup of both. Peter denied his love for Jesus three times. If these biblical heroes, who were also completely human were saved by God, then you can, too.
4. C.S. Lewis
You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.
What it means to me: It’s true that we’ve made a lot of mistakes, and it’s true that we can’t go back and change them. But God cares much less about our pasts than about helping us move forward in a better way.
What to do about it: Quit wallowing in all the things you’ve done wrong and go live your life! Yes, it’s important to examine your mistakes, learn from them, and make amends, however possible. But the more time you spend looking at your past, the less time you spend looking at God.
5. Oswald Chambers
We are all ill-taught if we look for results only in the earthlies when we pray. A praying saint performs far more havoc among the unseen forces of darkness than we have the slightest notion of.
What it means to me: The phrase “all we can do is pray” is nonsense. Poppycock. Codswallop. Even if your prayers don’t heal your loved one’s sickness, or keep your spouse from getting laid off, or make this or that politician act like a decent human being for once, your prayers do something better: They draw upon the strength of God, and they use that strength to win the battle for your soul.
What to do about it: Learn to pray for what God wants, not what you want. Ask Him what His will is before you pray for what your will is.
6. Watchman Nee
Good is not always God’s will, but God’s will is always good.
What it means to me: God doesn’t just passively watch as Satan wreaks havoc; He actively allows bad things to happen. The fact that God challenged Satan to destroy Job’s family, living, and health for the sake of a bet is proof of that. But God used that bet to teach Job that his friends weren’t good friends at all, it isn’t his place to question God, and that faith is stronger than even the most devastating hardships.
What to do about it: No matter how terrible life gets, don’t let yourself get fixated on the waves that crash around you. Instead, focus on Jesus and walk across the water.
7. Billy Graham
God proved His love on the cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, “I love you.”
What it means to me: It means that nothing we do, nothing we say, and nothing we think can be big enough to make God turn away from us. This one act — this one attack that won the war between God and death — is living proof that the gospel is real. That God means it when He gives love in return for our hate.
What to do about it: Think about this, the greatest “I-love-you,” every minute of every day. Share it. Live by it. Be defined by it. God let Jesus be spit on and flogged and crucified so that humans could be His family. In light of that simple truth, everything beautiful becomes more so, and everything ugly becomes insignificant.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/priscilladupreez
Sonya Downing is a novelist, freelance writer, and content editor with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing. Her freelance work has been published in Focus on the Family’s teen girl magazine Brio, The Evangelical Church Library Association, and The Secret Place quarterly magazine. She has also blogged for IlluminateYA Publishing and edited for Mountain Brook Ink. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.