It is not uncommon to hear Christians say things like “God told me …”, “God spoke to me and said …”, “God has been telling me …”, “God wants me to …”, etc. While I don’t think it’s completely wrong or sinful to talk this way (if done without trying to benefit yourself), I prefer not to for a number of reasons, which I will cover:
It leaves little to no room left for discussion: If God told them, who’s to argue? I won’t be able to question what they said because that means I’m questioning God, not them.
Did God literally tell you that, or are you just saying that? Every time I hear someone say something like that, I can’t help but wonder if they really mean that God audibly told them something, or if they just feel good about a decision and want to attribute the confidence of the decision to God. The fact that it causes question is a turn off to me. If I tell anyone that someone told me something, they actually told me via voice/text/email or some tangible form of communication.
What if someone feeling far from God hears this? This runs the risk of someone hearing this who is dealing with doubting or feeling far from God. If the struggling person is hearing that someone else is being talked to by God, it may be really discouraging, and questions may arise within themselves such as “why doesn’t God ever tell me anything?”
If God did not audibly speak to you (it was just a thought you had then), what makes your thought any different than other good thoughts you have? All of us have thoughts every day. Some are good, others are bad. And some thoughts we have that we think are good can actually be bad. But really, what makes this good thought they think God ‘told them’ any different than any other good thought? Just because a thought may seem more profound doesn’t mean God directly told it to you.
With an enemy referred to as the deceiver, you should always use extra caution when attributing something as being directly from God: This is an unnecessary gamble when saying that some subjective thought someone has is directly from God. If these phrases are not used, the risk can be avoided completely.
Some people use God to boost their own credibility: Some people use these phrases to try and use God to build their own credibility when speaking to other people. They often over-spiritualize things and use God to benefit their own selfish desires. So while it sounds like they are trying to give God credit, they are really wanting the person they are speaking with to view them as being really connected to God.
I realize that some people sincerely just want to attribute good things to God, and that’s a good thing. However, I think there are so many other great ways to do it that are far less risky and problematic as this topic. As always, I am really interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Also something to think about – what if I said that God has really been teaching me a lot of things on this topic, and he told me to write this post? Would you read this post and react to it differently?