Whenever someone tells you something that begins with the three words “God told me” you should immediately:
1. Look for the nearest exit.
2. If said exit is locked, attempt to cut them off mid-sentence by poking them in the eye.
3. If they are significantly taller than you and hence out of eye-poking reach, quickly lift your pant legs up as high as possible because you are about to wade through a pile of really smelly stuff.
The Truth Behind “God Told Me”
God has never spoken directly to me, ever…
Not through a dream.
Not through a strange set of circumstances.
Not through a person.
Not in my head.
Not in my spirit.
Not in my gut.
Not one time. Never. Nada. Zip. In all my 50 years of walking on this planet I can say with the utmost confidence that the creator of the heavens and the earth has NEVER spoken directly to me.
There have been numerous times that I’ve felt confident that God had indirectly spoken to me…
Through a dream.
Through a strange set of circumstances.
In my head.
In my spirit.
In my gut.
The problem is when those times occurred, I wasn’t sure if it was God that was communicating with me, or if I had too much pizza the night before.
And that’s the issue—we’re never sure. Ever. And that’s just the way it should be.
How God Speaks to Us
The only time we should ever feel 100 percent certain that God is speaking directly to us is when we are reading the Bible.
All other times, and I mean ALL other times…
…regardless of how good the moment feels
…or if you are having a mountaintop experience at a church camp bonfire
…or if a trusted pastor is sharing some startling revelation about your future
…or especially when everything within your soul screams that what you are sensing is coming directly from the throne-room of God
…in all of these times ALWAYS take whatever information/prompting/leading you think is coming directly from God with a graceful measure of incredulity.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
The annals of church history are filled with the stories of people who thought they heard from God, but sadly didn’t. Unfortunately I can’t think of any of those stories right now, because I have too many of my own to ponder.
Embarrassing Phrases Christians Use and How They Hurt People
Soon after my conversion and entering preparation for the ministry, I visited a young family in the hospital whose daughter was dying of leukemia. On the way down the corridor, praying, hoping, pleading with God for him to heal her, I suddenly became aware of the fact that God had spoken to me—he was going to heal that little girl.
So I laid my hands on her and prayed.
And told the father all he had to do was believe.
And turned to the mother and told her all she had to do was have faith.
And then I went home.
Two weeks later that little girl died.
I saw that father in a Pizza Hut a few years later. I slowly extended my right hand to shake his, but he didn’t respond in kind. He just stared. His eyes welled up with tears, and then he slowly walked away.
Point #3 above said that whenever someone begins a sentence with “God told me” you should hike up your pants.
I share that from personal experience.
This article originally appeared here.