How many times have I said, “I don’t feel like God is calling me to that?” Or, “God is urging me to …”
If I’m honest, I think 99% of the time it comes down to me using some spiritual language to justify what I do or do not want to do. I give it the “God” stamp without even truly seeking God to get His direction. I use God.
I’ve had people tell me what God wants me to do. I’ve also had people tell me what God wants me to stop doing. Some have told me they see His anointing at the same time as others level criticism and declare something dead, nonspiritual or not “meaty” enough. How can that be? Has God really anointed at the same time as He has left us high and dry? It makes no sense unless you allow that people tend to use God to make their points.
Today I had the opportunity to listen to someone tell me that God would rather have me put my efforts into meeting needs in Maine rather than head to New Orleans with a team intent on meeting needs there. I wonder how they know that. Did he wake them up and tell them? Wouldn’t it have been more effective to wake me and tell me directly? Why the middle man? I’m pretty sure I would have received my brother better if he came expressing his opinion and seeking our reasoning rather than posing as God’s spokesperson.
Why am I taking a team to New Orleans? Simply? Because our Guatemala trip didn’t work out and people wanted to return to continue the work we started. God never told me to go to New Orleans. But He never told me not to go either. He’s provided over $35,000.00 for us though. Is that evidence of His endorsement? Doors closed on Guatemala and opened for New Orleans. God or coincidence?
It’s like the woman who poured the perfume on Jesus feet. Some people got wound up about the expense of the perfume having had a better use than a foot wash. Jesus didn’t get wound up about it though.
“God wants me to go to this school, buy this house, get a new car, marry this person.” I hear it a lot but I’m not sure what it all means. Does it mean that God endorses whatever we feel strongly about or does God make us feel strongly and thereby give His direction? If the latter is the case, God wants me to eat a lot of donuts because I sure do want them and I like them far too much.
I think we use God to endorse our plans and support our arguments. I think, at least when I read Scripture, that God desires that we represent Him well, serve as ambassadors for Jesus and love others. Beyond that I read that if we delight ourselves in the Lord that He will give us the desires of our hearts (which become like His heart when we delight in Him.)
If we would worry about following Christ in our own lives, the logs in our own eyes would become so apparent that we would probably stop worrying so much about the splinters in the eyes of others.
If we would worry about the clear and direct teaching of Scripture and become Christlike, I doubt we would have much time to worry about styles of worship, dress codes and shortcomings. I bet our criticisms would be swallowed up by a desire to be supportive and lend a hand.