If I had a dollar for every time over the past few years that I’ve heard someone say “God told me”……..I’d be a rich man. In the Christian circles I used to run in, all a person had to do to put a stamp of legitimacy on any kooky idea they could come up with was say “God told me such and such” or “I feel the Lord leading me to do such and such”.
In almost every case where someone claimed divine guidance, it was fairly easy to discern that it wasn’t the voice of God they were hearing.
In many of the cases I would hear someone claim the Lord was leading them into this or that ministry or to do something for the Lord. In some cases it was mere months or even weeks that they were off in a different direction. In other cases it was obvious they weren’t equipped for the kind of service the Lord had “called” them to.
In far too many cases all you had to do was stand back and see the chaos and confusion surrounding these people’s ministries, the division, and the lack of joy. It was obvious God wasn’t in their situation.
Early on, when I heard all the great and wonderful things that so many people were claiming God had told them, I wanted God to tell me something too. I spent far too much time and effort seeking God’s guidance and direction that I wasted several years chasing after God’s voice instead of God. After two or three years, not “hearing” from God, I became angry at God and had my faith sucked right of me. It’s a hole I’m having a hard time digging out of even now.
To this day I’m convinced that almost all of the “God told me’s” were nothing more than ideas formed in the hearts of men at best, and divination of unclean spirits at the worst.
In all of this, however, I have a hard time siding wholeheartedly with my newfound Reformed Theology friends. In general, most of the people who follow Reformed Theology believe God quit speaking to people after the original twelve apostles died. Some, on the hard-core side, believe God doesn’t communicate at all with anyone except through the written Bible. Others on the lighter side of Reformed Theology believe that He does, on occasion, speak through the gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians in the Bible.
But here is where I have difficulty with the much of my fellow Reformed Theology friends. Your position regarding the cessation of “God speaking” doesn’t make sense to me.
Reformed Theology people are men of prayer. They believe in praising God and asking Him for our daily needs. Most every one of them believes God answers their prayers according to His will. So, as an example, I was at my wit’s end a couple of days ago and I prayed to God for help.
As I’ve blogged here before, I work from home now. I’m having difficulty with it because it requires an above average knowledge of computer networking, which is something I don’t have. I could call my boss in Seattle every time I have a problem, but as many issues as I’m having I’d probably lose my job. So I pray a lot.
So, back to my example. I couldn’t get something on my computer to work. It was an issue I was facing that I had no prior experience……At all……. So I prayed. I prayed “God, I have no idea what to do. Please Lord give me the direction I need to go and what I need to try. I’m at a loss and I can’t keep calling Seattle for help. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”
In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting to figure out what to do and was going to have to call Seattle again.
Within about 10 seconds an idea came to me, without me even still thinking about it, as to what I needed to do. It was so complex and out of my league I knew it was an answer to my prayer.
So, I ask, where did the answer come from?
Did it come out of the “imaginations of men”? Did it come from the devil….did Satan answer my prayer?
I mean, how ridiculous is it for us “people of faith” to pray to God, ask for something, and then refuse to believe it when He answers our prayers?
I understand the “voice” of God has been blamed for huge amounts of chaos. Entire Christian denominations have been formed on a “voice”. I also understand the “voice” needs to align with every “jot and tittle” of God’s written word. In addition we need the council of other clear thinking men and women of God. But how stupid is it of us to ask God for help, then when the help comes we’re afraid it came from the devil?
I no longer “search” after the “voice” of God. It was a path I believe the devil was exploiting me with. However, when I pray for wisdom regarding my Godly role in life……being a father, worker,husband, I have to believe He’s going to give it to me, according to His will and written word.
Otherwise, what are we even praying for?