“Gold told me;
…to park my car here.”
…to divorce my wife.”
…to kill the Muslims.”
It doesn’t take long in church life before you hear someone saying it.
The words ‘God told me’ have been used to justify mass murder, the proliferation of a range of weird beliefs and abuses of power so heinous that you can’t really blame church leaders from throwing their hands up in the air in exasperation and saying you should never ever use them.
Yet the characters of the Bible seemed to have no problem saying them. Our most famous stories begin with; “And the word of the Lord came to.. or “God spoke unto…,” or in the New Testament you are more likely to read; “The Holy Spirit said…”
Is it ever okay to say ‘God told me’?
Let’s turn that question around for a moment.
It’s not okay when;
- You are using it to manipulate. This usually looks like; ‘God told me that YOU should do this for me.” We are responsible for our own actions; never the actions of others. God is more likely to speak to others about their own actions as he will speak to you about yours.
- You are trying to add to your authority. After all, introducing a statement with those words silences any opposition. If the message were true, absolute submission is demanded and who are we to question the words of God?
- You are using them to strengthen your wish-list. This can often look like pulling out your favourite scripture and adding a ‘God said’ in front of it just to get what you want.
So when we make a claim to repeat his words, we are assuming sovereign authority and the power of heaven for our situation. There should be a deep hesitation. A solemn reverence. An understanding that God’s words are not to be messed with. Putting my words into God’s mouth is almost an act of blasphemy.
But Jesus said we would be able to recognise his voice and we would know it enough to follow it (John 10:27). In fact, the ability to hear from God directly is one of the marks of a New Covenant Christian (Acts 2:16,17). The coming of the Holy Spirit meant that we could receive communication from heaven through prophecy and dreams and visions.
So it is okay to say ‘God said’ – under one condition; when and only when the word has been tested and proven (1 John 4:1).
The problem is we don’t see clearly – our hearts are described as naturally deceitful which means we can get it wrong (1 Corinthians 13:12). So we are told to test the spirits to see if they are from God. Every ‘revelation’ must be put to the test. Only then can we be confident to follow those words with confidence and assurance.
Yes, you can say ‘God told me’, but be very careful when you do.
Do you ever use the words ‘God told me’? Why? Why not? Leave your comment below
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