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)
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