6 Phrases Godly Leaders Need To Stop Using

“The tongue can bring life or death” is what Proverbs 18:21 tells us. Leaders have to use a lot of words and give a lot of advice. Godly Leaders, you have a lot of power and influence with your words. Unfortunately, it’s quite easy to give leadership advice that isn’t in line with God’s Word. We hear phrases or cliches or even half-truths and take them to heart. Next thing we know, they’re coming out of our mouths. Not all advice needs to come from God’s Word, but it is essential that our advice shouldn’t conflict with God’s Word either. Here are six phrases that we, as Godly Leaders, need to stop using because they either conflict with Scripture and/or just aren’t helpful. 


So, in the first place, the Bible doesn’t say that. The concept comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13, where it says, “He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” It’s a verse about temptation, not suffering. But, I have to say, in addition to not being Biblical, it’s also just a false statement. You can’t handle losing a child prematurely. You can’t handle something tragic happening to you. There’s also the notion mixed into the phrase that the purpose of life is simply to handle stuff – to cope. That’s just not true. The chief end of man is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (from the Westminster Catechism). God’s promise is that He will be with us in our pain and that His grace is sufficient. It’s essential for the Godly Leader to know and remember that because our coping strategies simply aren’t enough. 


For some reason, Godly Leaders like to minimize things. We minimize requirements, training, expectations… and the list goes on. “Hey there, volunteer, will you sign up for this? You just have to teach once a week, or you just have to rehearse for a few minutes.” We’ve all said that. If you’ll just receive Jesus as your Savior… it is essential that Godly Leaders communicate in a fully transparent, encouraging, and challenging manner, and that means taking just out of your vocabulary. It’s just that simple. 


So what are we letting go of, and what are we asking God to do? I think the phrase has to do with surrender and trust. Or maybe it’s connected to the movie Frozen? As Godly Leaders, we are called to recognize that apart from Him, we can do nothing. It’s easy to think that we are such good parents, leaders, etc., that we’re the reason things are happening and that our kids are succeeding. But, in reality, it’s all God. It is essential for Godly Leaders to personally turn from sin and look to God to lead their lives. That phrase doesn’t do it for me. 

Maybe you could rephrase it as “quit grasping for control and surrender to God.” That would be a great phrase for a Godly Leader to use regularly. 


This is a very easy phrase to use, isn’t it? That report, that email, that lunch meeting, emptying the dishwasher… and the list goes on. Much like other aspects of our time management, it’s not that we didn’t get a chance to; it’s that we didn’t take the chance. It wasn’t on our priority list. 

Hours and minutes don’t discriminate. They let you do whatever you decide to do. While “I didn’t get a chance to” might sound like an easy way to get out of a situation where you dropped the ball or didn’t care, it’s not really honest. It’s better for the Godly Leader to simply say, “That didn’t make it to my priority list this week,” or “Sorry, I forgot about that and dropped the ball.” 


Okay, I know I’m stepping on some toes with this one. I know the heart is God’s sovereignty when we use this phrase. But boiling God’s mysterious sovereignty to the word “reason” is a stretch. As Godly Leaders, we use it to ease suffering and to encourage others when bad things happen. But, we rarely use it on ourselves, right? We only use it on other people and don’t want anyone to say it to us. 

To be honest, the phrase really doesn’t offer much Biblical encouragement. There are reasons, and God knows everything, but that doesn’t mean that God’s will is for all of the bad things that happen to us. If someone breaks into your house and steals your stuff, that’s not God’s will because everything happens for a reason. If your friend dies because of a drunk driver, that’s not God’s will because everything happens for a reason. 

It is essential that Godly Leaders find more Biblical, truly encouraging phrases to use in times of hurt, but that’s a different blog for a different day. 


Have you ever read Ecclesiastes? If so, you’ll know this statement isn’t true. If it is, then God is quite bad at his job, isn’t He? Because life is life, and there are a lot of unhappy moments.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love happiness. It is amazing. But it’s only one emotion among many – one ingredient in a balanced spiritual diet. It’s not even an emotion that is most conducive to character growth. God doesn’t want you to “just” be happy (see what I did there) in the same way that He doesn’t want you to “just” eat sugar. God’s Word tells us that life isn’t about avoiding pain. It tells us to lift our eyes up to the hills, not run for the hills.

Godly Leader, please don’t use this phrase.

Proverbs 25:11 gives great advice for the Godly Leader: “Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.” My prayer for you is that, as a Godly Leader, you give sound, Biblical, lovely advice in your role as a leader. 

We could talk a lot more on this topic, but we’ll leave it there for now. What are your thoughts or questions? Leave them in the comments. 

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Love being on this Essential Godly Leadership journey with you!

Essential Godly Leadership: “Leading your life, your family, your work, your relationships, and your world in a way that is seeking wisdom from, and pleasing to, the Lord Jesus.”


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