Saturday, March 14, 2009

When God Speaks it Shouldn't Sound Like Your Voice

I get frustrated when I hear "I felt God saying to me." People use that expression all the time to justify their actions. I know a teenager recently graduated who says that God is speaking to him every week. The problem is, what God told him to do one week is now superseded by what God is telling him to do this week. On another occasion I heard about someone say God told them not to read a certain book. Okay, except for the fact that this book has been read by millions of Christians all over the world!!

People have to be real careful about assuming every time they get some impression that it is God speaking. To be honest with you, those who say they hear from God on a regular basis can come across as being very arrogant because God seems to always be telling them to go against the majority, or they can come across as being very wishy-washy because he is continually telling them to change direction and focus.

So how do we avoid the trap of "God said to me?" First off, everything you feel that God is saying must line up with Scripture. Second, get confirmation through other Christians. Third, test it against the love principle.

Everything that God tells us, whether it be through a personal impression or through someone, must line up with Scripture. God does not and will not contradict himself. His word, the Bible, contains all we need to live.

In speaking against the Gnosticism infiltrating the Church Peter said "...His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us..." (2 Peter 1:3) Why is this significant. The Gnostics taught that divine knowledge was transmitted secretly. Sound familiar? Many people who say "God told me" seem to come across as if they have some secret connection with God that others don't have. The truth is, God has given us his Word. The Bible speaks of things that "pertain to life and godliness." When God speaks it should always line up with Scripture.

Paul tells us that we should "Test all things and hold fast to that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21). I don't know if there is a better way to test things then to share with others what a person feels God has been speaking to them. If God has spoken it to one person then there is assurance that he can speak it to others as well. Others who are more mature may have more insight into what a person feels God is speaking. They may know Scripture better and can confirm or refute what "God has spoken." In the very least a group of people ernestly praying is better then one person claiming.

Many times when people say they have heard God speak their actions reveal otherwise. God will never speak something that goes against his nature of love. Love in itself is a difficult concept for many to understand. A person who hears from God might think they are doing the loving thing. The loving thing is whatever is best and right for another.

If God speaks it is because he wants the hearer to challenge others. Look at the prophets in Scripture. Prophets were not fortunetellers. They were men and women whom God called to warn Israel of approaching doom if they didn't curtail their ways. God speaks for a reason and it usually involves helping others to see correctly.

There is always a danger in this. The person who feels that God is calling them to speak out in love needs to do so in humbleness and humility. Far to often these people do so in arrogancy. It is a great privilege which leads to a great responsibility when a person hears from God in any other way different then reading it in Scripture.

Everyone needs to be careful that they are not hearing their own voice when they feel God is speaking to them. Humans are emotional creatures, and being that Christians are humans they can fall into the trap of justifying their actions through three simple words: "God told me." God's voice is not identical to a person's voice. Following these three steps will help a person determine who's voice they really hear.

1 comment:

KingAzJay said...

"Everyone needs to be careful that they are not hearing their own voice when they feel God is speaking to them. Humans are emotional creatures, and being that Christians are humans they can fall into the trap of justifying their actions through three simple words: "God told me." God's voice is not identical to a person's voice."

Yep, all too often we use "God told me" to justify what we want to do. I understand the other side of the argument, there have been times were I so wanted something, so wanted to hear Gods approval on something, that I found myself doing just that... Using God to justify my own wants. I really had to step back and ask is this me, or God? More often than not... it's just me.