As a teacher of God’s Word something I hear very well meaning Christians say all the time that has me increasingly frustrated lately is, “God told me…”
Of course I never utter the words “cringe worthy extra biblical revelation” out loud but that is often where my mind immediately goes.
When we assume that God is speaking to us individually, apart from his word, we elevate ourselves to the status of a prophet. When we call our own thoughts God’s words, we are thinking too highly of ourselves and not nearly highly enough of God.
In his book, Gospel and Wisdom, Graeme Goldsworthy writes, “Every case of special guidance given to individuals in the Bible has to do with that person’s place in the outworking of God’s saving purposes.” He adds, “There are no instances in the Bible in which God gives special and specific guidance to the ordinary believing Israelite or Christian in the details of their personal existence.”
In other words, God will not tell you to quit your job to be a missionary, or to go back to school, or to pack up and move to another state. You may be able to give yourself some peace by saying that your choice has been ordained by God but that may indeed not be the case. What you may think God is telling you could actually be something the flesh desires (Romans 8:5).
The primary way God commands us is through His Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). If Scripture commands something of us, there’s no reason for anyone to hesitate and wonder if it’s really God’s will.
Often, we want God to give us specifics—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, what car to buy, etc. God allows us to make choices, and, if we are yielded to Him, He has ways of preventing wrong choices (see Acts 16:6–7).
The better we get to know a person, the more acquainted we become with his or her desires, how we relate to God is no different. The more time we spend in His Word, the more readily we will know His will for us.