“God Told Me”

“God Told Me”

Posted by Regi Campbell on July 16, 2018

There’s a little twinge in my spirit when I hear the words “God told me” come out of someone’s mouth (including my own).

Did He? Does He? How do you know it was God?

What’s our motive for qualifying what we’re about to say with “God told me.” Are we trying to sound ‘super-spiritual’? Do we think the truth we’re about to share has to have the heavy-duty punch of “God said” to be worth the attention?

I try not to get into theology on this blog because there are usually as many opinions as readers. Nobody has concrete answers to theological questions. I subscribe to this quote (often misattributed to St. Augustine) . . .

“In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.”

As Jesus-followers, we have a responsibility to represent Jesus and His Kingdom well. We’re told in Corinthians to be “ambassadors for Christ.” To me, that means when people see us, they see people living as Jesus lived. Loving. Serving. “Gentle and humble in heart.”

The humble in heart part is what I’m talking about here. It’s hard to appear humble in heart while we’re saying “God told me,” or “God wants me to,” or the even more dangerous, “God wants you to . . .”

Personally, I do believe God speaks to us individually. It’s almost always about matters of the heart, and it’s always for our good. But His words for us are just that . . . they’re for us. When we start adding “God told me” to things we’re saying, there are often unintended consequences . . .

  • Listeners get distracted from what’s being said by the “God told me” part. If what you’re saying is truth from God, won’t the Holy Spirit reveal that without us having to punctuate it with “God told me”?
  • Unbelievers can be intimidated and feel even more like outsiders . . . pushed further away from meaningful faith.
  • New or less mature believers lose heart, feeling there’s something wrong with them because God’s not speaking to them.
  • The believer doing the talking accidentally glorifies himself instead of Jesus.
  • The person talking could get it wrong, repeating things they imagined but God wasn’t in.

Let’s be thoughtful, careful and prayerful with our words, especially when we invoke the name of the God, who is so holy that the Jews didn’t even speak His name for 300 years.

Let’s be careful to avoid sin . . . including the sin of self-righteousness.

Scripture: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7)

Responses (3)

Doug Gray
Doug Gray Posted: July 16, 2018, 9:18 am

Regi, thanks for your comments. Although I’m not sure I’ve ever said “God told me”, I know that I have come off as being self-righteous. Still working on that one. The timing of your note is interesting. Our RM group in Clemson/Seneca just wrapped up yesterday, and each one of us wrote the “Letter from God”. What an incredible opportunity to “hear from God”. I’m not going to rush out and tell others that “God spoke to me”, but I truly believe that the exercise allowed me to be still, meditate on God’s plan for my life, and to hear His voice. Thank you for answering the call to develop this ministry. The impact for the Kingdom will be immeasurable. God Bless. Doug

Ted Harris
Ted Harris Posted: July 16, 2018, 10:18 am

YES, YES, YES As a pastor, I have heard the “God told me” so many times that I have probably become a little cynical towards it and immediately doubt the validity. I had a lady come up after a sermon and tell me that “God told her” she needed to tell me that what I had preached was heresy. I probably didn’t respond in the most charitable manner and told her that all week God was preparing me to say it. She uses this phrase all the time with people. I appreciate your practical take on what this does to a conversation and I will use this when in teaching.

Roy Posted: July 25, 2018, 11:28 pm

I know you probably get this a lot Mr. Regi, but I’m literally in the process of reading the last chapter of your Radical Husbands book and you’ve completely knocked me on my a**. No other book has hit the points you’ve mentioned and I’ve been reading a LOT trying to find my way. I particularly love the “Give Up” chapter which made my heart drop until I read what you actually meant. Your material is structured, but not rigid…it leaves room for creativity. In the middle of the chapter I decided to visit this site, and I’m a bit perturbed about starting a church group since I attend a mega-church. They have a lot of stuff already in place. I say all that to say that I would like to start a group with a friend or two AFTER I save my own marriage since I know other men who struggle with the concepts you’ve shared. I do have a request which may catch you off-guard, but my situation is literally a “CODE RED” carbon copy of what you shared in your book. My hope is that you can have a very brief (and I mean brief) phone conversation with me. I’m only asking for 5 minutes of your time (10 at the most). If you choose not to, I completely understand. You’re still a legend in my book. Take Care.

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