Q: Every time I hear someone say, “God told me to do… whatever,” I want to run for cover. I’m generally skeptical. What should I say to these people and how would I know if God has actually spoken to them? Karen
A: That depends on what God “told them to do.” If it sounds to you like something God would tell a Christian to do, I’d encourage them to do it. Don’t reject their “revelation” out-of-hand, but give them some guidance.
On the other hand, if it sounds a bit off the wall or will really impact their life, I’ll often ask these questions. “Who are the three people you most admire spiritually?” Once they’ve answered, ask them this follow-up question, “Have you sought out their counsel?” If not, I’d urge them to do so. The second piece of advice is this; “Don’t just go to people who you think will agree with you. Go to the people you most respect spiritually.”
I really get nervous when, what “God told them to do”, is in violation of some fairly clear teaching or principle of scripture. When that happens, I do tell them my reservations. But, I’ve also found many are so convinced they heard from God that I can tell they’ve made up their mind. A wise pastor of a local charismatic church once observed of his flock. “I’ve found that many strange bugs get attracted to the light!” How true.
My pastor, Jim Samra, wrote a book God Told Me. While I’m not entirely in agreement with him on some aspects of this topic, he is one of the wisest, godliest men I know and he has some excellent tips for discerning the will of God in your, or someone else’s life. I particularly like Chapter Three.
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