“God Told Me” and Other Conversation Stoppers

07May09

A hearty amen to Z’s admonition to guard how we talk about our experience of God:

I don’t doubt that God can and sometimes does “tell” people to do certain things. I have had strong impressions (that is my word of choice for this type of experience) that I was supposed to do X, Y, and Z and when I did, it seemed that it was certainly in accordance with God’s word and he blessed it.

The typical thing you hear from musicians [Z is a musician] is that “God gave them” this certain song. This is over the top and I would never say this to a person’s face, but oftentimes after I heard the song I would want to ask, “Well, why is God such a bad songwriter?”.

“God told me X” can be a real conversation-stopper. It’s like saying, “I think X and if you don’t agree you’re out of God’s will.” I’m having a hard time finding any biblical support for such claims, except in two cases:

  1. You’re an Old Testament prophet
  2. You’re an Apostle

Unless we’re prepared to claim that we hold one of those offices (and I don’t think anyone since the writing of the New Testament can), we should be more humble and honest in speaking about the way God is leading us.

I suggest a phrase like, “I’ve considered this carefully with prayer and study, and I think God is leading me/us in this direction.” Of course, this necessitates careful consideration on our part with much prayer and study of the Bible.

Perhaps that’s the root of the problem; it’s a lot easier (and maybe it sometimes even feels more honest?!) to just claim that God’s on your side than it is to pray, read, think, and pray again about a given decision.

I need to do the harder thing more often, myself!

Any testimonies out there of decisions you’ve made based on careful prayer and study? Did you find out that it was God’s will in the end? Or is there some paragraph I’m skipping over that tells me I should expect God to directly “tell” people things today?

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One Response to ““God Told Me” and Other Conversation Stoppers”

  1. 1 Patrick

    And I give you a hearty ‘amen’ as well.
    I also cringe when people use the word “call” in just about any context, but mainly churches and such. “God called me to this church.” It has the same connotations of receiving a word from God.
    in the NT, almost every single time the word ‘call’ is used, it is in reference to salvation. The other times, I’m pretty sure, are speaking about an Apostle.


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