Have you ever known someone who is always saying: “God told me . . .? “
It’s a common practice among “spirit”-type believers. I am persuaded God is saying a lot less than what is being attributed to Him. Perhaps 99% less. I think the Spirit of the Lord says more with less (This is clear in our Lord’s life. He dealt very abruptly with people). When the Spirit legitimately does say something, it will have the fragrance of Calvary about it, normally with an invitation for you or I to enter into his death and resurrection life. I think it cheapens the privilege of hearing the voice of the Lord to think of it as a non-stop series of heavenly tweets.
Claiming much direct divine communication is not a sign of spiritual maturity. Slaves need constant instruction from the Master. Sons, because they share the Father’s heart, and because their relationship with their Father is one of love and trust, don’t need to be constantly instructed by a divine wire-service mediated by so called prophets. Sons can just get on with living. It is called the glorious liberty of the sons of God. If there is a need for direct instruction because of jeopardy or unrecognized risk, I am very confident the Holy Spirit can get our attention. He is an expert disciplinarian and door-slammer.
The excessive and indiscriminate use of comments like “God told me” are usually based from insecurity and a need to appear to be spiritual to others. God spoke to Mary about the most significant event in the history of the universe, and she kept it in her heart. If we have what we think is a divine encounter, we blab it as if we were just ordering a cheeseburger at a drive-through. We can stand to be a bit more “demure” in our charismatic universes.
“God told me” is also a common way of controlling others, while sounding all spiritual in the process. How can you or I have any normal relationship with anyone, once one of us plays the “God told me” card? Who can compete with God? No matter what, you or I will be #2 in that scenario. So it is not possible to have any meaningful relationship with someone who is going to use the “God told me” card to buffer you from any real input or comment about what they believe or do.
Now, I do believe His sheep hear His voice.
The matter can be simply solved by saying: “I believe, or I think, the Spirit of the Lord may be saying to me. . . , etc. That’s the language of relationship rather than hyper-spirituality and a false prophetic spirit.
If what we believe to be God speaking to us, is indeed God, it will be self-evident. It will need no authentication from us in our vocabulary, and no defensive posturing will be necessary to protect someone’s ego and spirituality. If it turns out to not be God, His character is then not slandered by our words.
Short version . . . there’s way too much of that kind of lingo thrown around, way too loosely. We could do without it, just stop it, and His kingdom would not suffer an ounce of loss.
Copyright 2011 Dr. Stephen R. Crosby www.drstevecrosby.wordpress.com. Permission to copy, forward, or distribute this article is granted as long as this copyright byline is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.