I had been in other relationships before I met my wife. Some were positive experiences while others had a more negative side to them. The worst thing about a failed relationship is usually the breakup. It is followed often by weeping and gnashing of teeth. There was on relationship I was in that over time I realized was particularly unhealthy. After being in it far longer than I should have been, I finally broke it off. It was point blank obvious to me that God did not want me in the relationship. Amidst the many conversations for “closure” there was an interesting statement made by my ex. She believed it was God’s will for us to be together.
This happens often. You get two people who both claim God told them something that directly contradict with each other. This leaves us with a few possible options. One of these people is mistaken, one of them is lying, or God is lying. Obviously the last option cannot be true which leaves us with one of the first two.
We use God as a convenient excuse to back up our actions. We think he is the full proof method to get someone to do what we want. It is awful. This is an issue plagued by Christian cultures. It runs rampant in Christian dating. It is alive and well in most Christian colleges. “I just feel God is not calling me to do that right now.” “I don’t feel God’s leading in this area.” “I feel God wants me to be with you.” “I feel this is where God wants me to be at in life right now.” “God has not told me personally that I have an issue with this sin.” “God just does not want me to date right now.” We rarely can give Scriptural evidence for these things God is telling us, but we lean back on the old prophetic message.
This is not to say that God does not speak to us clearly on these kinds of issues sometimes. There still needs to be some tact in how we handle this. First we need to figure out if this is really something God is telling us, or if perhaps this is just wishful thinking or an excuse made out of convenience. Here are some simple tips on figuring this out.
1. What does Scripture say. Can you back up what you feel God is telling you by using Scripture? There are plenty of situations where the Bible will be vague on your circumstances, but in some cases it may be able to very clearly tell you that what you believe is a message from God really goes against what His word says.
2. What do wise and older Christians say? If solid Christians are universally disagreeing with you then you may want to take notice of it. While it is to impossible that God has let you in on a secret, and everyone else is just to clueless to see it, this is pretty rare. People from an outside perspective can have an easier time at seeing your motives.
3. How exactly is God telling you to do this? Is it simply a feeling you have? Or is there something more substantial to it. Are there any events in your life that can backup what you feel God is telling you? Feelings are not inherently wrong, but that can be misleading. Take the example of my ex. She seemed to think God had personally designed for us to be together. It was painfully obvious to me that that was not the case. What evidence aside form personally feelings did she have that said God wanted us to be together?
4. Give it time. I’m not saying you never act on what you feel God is pulling you towards, but take time to sort it out, and make sure this is really legit. Spend time in prayer. Some passions can come and go. If this is really something God is placing on your heart then it is not simply going to easily go away with a little time. Chances are that it will grow as you try to understand it.
So let’s say you really feel without a shadow of doubt that what is going on with you is form God. When you proceed do so with caution. Do not advertise to everyone that this is a personal message from God. When I broke up with my ex I did not say that this is what I felt God wanted. I took the hit for it. I did this for two reasons. One was that I can still make mistakes. Even though I was confident this was what God wanted (And I know now that I was 100% correct and understanding that) I was not about to put all my eggs in one basket. Who am I to speak for God when I did not hear from Him in some sort of a cosmic audible voice? The other reason was that I did not want to put the blame on God and bring a wedge between Him and my ex. I do not think people who do this realize how irresponsible they are being. Sometimes you need to let God be the one to tell someone else their story on His time. Do not just assume you are always meant to be his messenger boy.
It can be difficult to follow God’s leading. Sometimes He makes himself very clear, and other times He seems quiet and mysterious in what He is saying. We need to be patient, and seek His guidance. We cannot just use him as an excuse for convenience. It saddens me when someone is confronted by another in sin, and they say that they have yet to feel God telling them this is wrong. They fail to realize that God may be speaking through the person confronting them. It pains me when others head down a destructive path in life, and place it all on God’s leading.
Sometimes we just need to take responsibility for our actions. When we do not want to do something we should just place it on our choice to not do it. If you do not want to be involved in something then just say it. Don’t say God is telling you differently in order to make it more spiritual so others can’t be upset at your choice. All you are doing is trying to have people get upset at God for the decision rather than you. Guys, if you want to ask out a girl then man up and do it. Trying to use God as a pick up line is just sad. If you want to turn down someone that asks you out then just turn them down and let yourself be the villain. Do not try and place God in that role.
Yes God speaks to use and guides us. That is absolutely awesome. What is not cool is using Him as an excuse to get out of things or to get something you desire. God is not something to use to guilt others, avoid others, or get out of responsibility.
There is affine line. We must be responsible for our actions, but we must also remain completely and utterly dependent on God. I still struggle with this balance. What I know for certain is using God as an excuse is not what it means to be dependent on Him.