Stop Saying, ‘The Lord Told Me…’

Stop saying, “the Lord told me.”   That’s my piece of advice for Christians today. 

This is a subject that is sort of an issue that I find particularly annoying, and so I kind of wanted to share just a commentary on it and some of my thoughts.  Take it or leave it. You certainly don’t have to agree with me – and many people will not.  However, at least hear me out.    

One of my pet peeves is people’s insistence on using the phrase, “God told me such and such.” Or, “God showed me such and such.” Or, “God laid this on my heart to share with you.”  A few weeks ago I wrote a blog and did a video about a young man named Troy Black whose video channel is full of videos that are called, “God told me this, or God told me that.” And, I have to tell you that has for a long time really bothered me. Now, I consider myself a charismatic. By that I mean that I believe that the gifts of the Spirit did not necessarily cease after the Apostles died off or when the Scripture was put into place.

Those who believe that the gifts are no longer for today are called “Cessantionists.” I have a video about that topic, you can check it out if you want more detail.  I believe that God could and does give His church supernatural gifts as He wills so that the Church can glorify Him. However, I have this sense that the gifts are probably not as frequently experienced as many people think that they are. Charismatics have a tendency to see miraculous gifts such as healings, miracles, and prophecies as something that’s rather routine, almost mundane. And perhaps they are in some places, but it’s been my experience that some of these things don’t always go down as many want to believe.  But, in any event, I want to talk about the use of the phrase, “God told me.”   

Adding that little phrase can really change the dynamic of a sentence rather profoundly. If I say to you, “I really think you should go to Bible school,” then what I’ve done is shared my opinion of what I think you should do. But if I change it a bit and say, “God told me that you should to Bible school,” then I’m no longer giving you my opinion, but have made it God’s. I’ve put God’s endorsement on it.  Obviously, if you’re the kind of person who wants to do God’s will, then you have to do what I just said. If God is telling you to do something, then you’re going to do it. But, how do you and I know that what someone is telling us is from God and not just their opinion?  That’s kind of important, isn’t it?  

Or what about the preacher on a Sunday morning who stands up to preach and tells his congregation that the message that he’s about to deliver is something that the Lord has laid on his heart; that the message you’re about to hear is from God?   That means that this isn’t just something that the preacher has worked on, or that God has inspired that person to preach, but that the message itself is from the mouth of God. We absolutely must sit up and listen.  We must heed the words that we’re about to hear, since they are God’s words.  

You see, I think the problem here is that we use the phrases, “God told me” or “God told me to preach this” or “God wants me to say this today” as ways of getting people’s attention because we feel strongly about what we’re trying to say. We want others to listen to us and so we add that little phrase as a way of making it sound more significant. Now, you may object and say, “but what if what I’m saying is from God?” “What if God has really told me to say such and such?,” or, “God really did tell me to preach this message?” Well, let me ask you: if the message is really from God, is it necessary to say so?  Wouldn’t it become obvious that God is speaking if in fact He is speaking? Can people only discern the voice of God if we tell them that what they’re hearing is His voice?

You know, a very famous verse that Charismatics like to quote is Isaiah 55:11, which tells us:,

“So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please.”

This passage suggests that God’s word has inherit power to do what God wants it to do, and that it will not return to God without having borne fruit. Note, that it doesn’t say that this only happens if we identify the word that we are speaking as being from the Lord. If the word that we’re giving is from God, then it will accomplish what He desires because the power comes from God and not us.   

I think there can be a grave danger in assuming that the word that we’re speaking is from God when it’s really just our opinion – even if it’s a good opinion. Moses said that “the prophet who PRESUMES to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”(Deut. 18:20)

Claiming that God is speaking through you when He’s not was a capital offense in Moses’ day and was punishable by death. To go with the presumption that what you’re getting is a word from the Lord when you’re actually not is pretty serious business. Yet, today it’s thrown around like candy at a parade.

I suspect one of the primary reasons Christians do this is because of ego. We want to impress others with our spirituality.  We want others to think that God is using us to speak through, and that they need to come to us for direction.  It makes us feel incredibly important to say, “God told me to preach this today.”  

A couple of years ago I was having lunch with a friend who was telling me about some things that he was going through. Suddenly, I felt very pressed upon to say something to him about what was happening. The more we talked the more I felt like God wanted me to share a word with him. Yet, I had already reached the conclusion in my life that I wasn’t going to say, “the Lord wants me to say this to you.” So, when I had a chance, I just shared with him what I was thinking without any kind of introduction. When I said it to him he kind of just sat and stared at me for a moment and then the conversation continued. Later, he brought up what I had said to him and it was at that time that I confessed that I had almost said that this was from the Lord. He replied, “you didn’t have to.  As soon as I heard it I knew it was from God.”   

That moment as always stayed with me. God was able to confirm for him that he was hearing from God without me having to tell him. God’s word accomplished what He pleased without me having to identify it. And, I saved myself the embarrassment, and sin, of claiming something was from God had it not been.    

I believe that God will honor our humility if we just allow Him to do His work with and through us, without having to make any special claims for ourselves.  In fact, I think the more humbly we can walk with God, the more power and inspiration we will likely experience.   So, why don’t you just stop saying that God told you something or that God laid a message on your heart to preach. Why not just say those things and preach those messages, and let God confirm in the hearers heart if those things are really from the Lord.

Dane Cramer is a backpacker, follower-of-Jesus blogger, jail chaplain, amateur filmmakerPodcast host, and author of two books: Romancing the Trail and The Nephilim: A Monster Among Us , and has worked as an investigator for over 35 years.




Leave a Reply