But I or but God. A couple of years ago my precious friend Vicki Frydrych gave me a square-stone plaque with these words, “But God” written in black. It has taken me a while to comprehend those words and what they mean. They have ended up being life-changing when it comes to the way I think about the small word, “but.”
It is mind-boggling to see how much impact and power a small word like “but” can have when it comes to what we believe about God and our relationship with Him. For example:
I know God loves me, but . . .
God forgives me, but . . .
Jesus said, “It is finished,” but . . .
God says He has good plans for me, but . . .
God promises to finish what He started in me, but . . .
He tells me I am a new creation, but . . .
How would you fill in the rest of those phrases? For me, I would have said, “I know God forgives me, but He is disappointed with me when I fail.” And, “He tells me I a new creation, but I am still a sinner.” Or, “God says He has good plans for me, but my husband just lost his job.” When those phrases are finished in that manner, the truth is diminished or negated by what I have done or what I must do, or by my circumstances. The bottom line is my circumstances or my abilities or failures become greater than God, the finished work of Jesus Christ, and the indwelling life of the Holy Spirit! I have heard this kind of thinking labeled “But theology.”
Consider these verses:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished !’” John 19:30.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:4-10.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:26-27
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life . . .” Colossians 3:2-4.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” Ephesians 3:20-21.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.
Let us be careful where we place our “but.” Taking our focus off circumstances, successes, failures, opinions and most of all our self-effort and allow God to have the power, authority and final say. Join me in putting the “but” in the right place. Not, “but I”; “But God!”