It’s the card that trumps all other arguments. It’s the statement that usually precedes big news while simultaneously precluding disagreements against the new big news. I’ve heard it from friend to friend, from husband to wife, from parent to kid, from kid to parent, from boyfriend to girlfriend, and from pastor to congregation. We LOVE to use it. Here’s why:
It makes us sound ultra-spiritual.
Not that spirituality is a bad thing per se, but when “being spiritual” is your pedestal to stand on so you can look down on others, their viewpoints, their opinions, and their values–well, then, you’ve got yourself a problem. Who’s a jerk. Who’s you.
It makes us look tight with YAHWEH.
It’s like “Yeah, me and God were hanging out last night at Lifeway and as I stood in the devotional section, I heard Him confirm to me that He wants me to __________.” It’s as if we’re saying that God talks to me and what He said to me is more weighty than what He might have said to you.
It’s sometimes a disguise for selfishness.
Now, I KNOW nobody who reads this blog has ever struggled with selfishness. I bet you’re reading these words while also feeding the poorest of the poor bowls of rice and water; rice you bought with your own paycheck and water from a well you dug with your own hands. You’re such a giver. But there are actually some people who are both selfish and have ulterior motives behind the “close encounters” with the Almighty. You know, the encounter where He told them to leave their spouse and kids because they should be happy and they’re not. The encounter where God told them to dishonor and disrespect their parents through a decision they are making. The encounter that completely flies in the face of what God has already stated in black and white in His word. THAT encounter.
So, how are you supposed to know that “God told you so”? Here’s my 2 cents.
1. What has He already said in Scripture? He won’t ever contradict Himself. And I believe the Bible gives more answers than we usually give it credit for.
2. What has He said through the gift of wise counsel? Seek those who are older, who care about God and you, and are outside your circumstance for a more objective viewpoint.
3. Pray. (You knew that was coming.) But not the kind of prayer where you’re telling God what you want, tacking an “Amen” on the end, and bolting out the door knowing you’ve heard Him speak. My first ordination mentor once told a younger version of me that he should not just talk to God in prayer, but to be still and listen to God. That kid thought that was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard. That younger pastor figured “when I want God’s opinion, I’ll give it to Him.” That younger me has since learned better.
4. Will what I “heard” from God lead to my glory or His? I’ve found that God’s not very interested in making me awesome. He’s interested in His own fame. His plans for me will always end up in the exact same place the entire world will one day end up: bringing glory to Him.
In what other ways can you hear and confirm God’s direction in your life?