“In high school I was a friend of Herbert Orin Tubbs, a scrappy country boy from Alabama who loved to kill snakes, shoot guns and play basketball. Herbert, despite what you might imagine from my description, was quite intelligent, and when he graduated was offered a full scholarship to a good private university. Surprisingly Herbert, turned down the scholarship, stayed home and went to a local community college part-time. When I asked him why he turned down the scholarship, he said, “I didn’t feel that tinkle in my nose!” He went on to explain, I won’t say yes to anything unless I feel a tinkle in my nose. I believe its God’s way of talking to me.” Over the next few years that tinkle, apparently, led him to quit college, float between various odd jobs and chase a girl across the country.
We all know someone who speaks with authority about how God or destiny has lead them to make certain decisions. If you are like me, you relish the ring of authority and confidence this brings to a person. But at the same time you are suspicious of such idiosyncratic declarations.” Dojo @ ReImagine – Experiments In Truth Week 2
I read this the other day and it reminded me of a conversation I had with my brother about hearing God. I encounter so many people who are Christ followers that say they hear God telling them to do things I know violate His nature and Word. The problem is they are convienced at they have heard God. I know at the outset of this post, you might think I am judging what God tells other people or maybe I’m wrong and missing God myself. I realize this and am willing to take the criticism. People have to make decisions all the time that are difficult and that affect relationships. The problem comes when we are not honest with ourselves and make decisions with wrong motives driving us. Our decisions always have consequences and many times relational ones. God’s direction is always loving and redemptive even if the decision is a hard one. Relationships are what God values – it is the core of our faith journey and where our growth happens. The issue here is the necessity to hear God and the dangers of not. Not hearing God can leave a wake of relational carnage behind us or cause a lot of personal pain with major spiritual detours.
Like the above quoted story, there are people who say they got the tingle. Now, they may use different words but it’s the same thing. I’ve heard many people over the years in ministry say “I’m leaving my Church, God has released me or I’m leaving my spouse, God has released me.” A friend of mine, after hearing one of these comments said to me “You know what released means; It means I can do what I want.” Now last I checked, we are the church. I mean the body of Christ’s followers. How can you leave the body accept be cut off? When we leave a church we are really leaving relationships. This is why Jesus used the picture of marriage to symbolize His relationship with the Church and therefore our relationship with each other. Truth be told, most of the time it’s due to hurt or offense. God wants us to operate in love in our relationships, even when it’s hard. This is where growth happens.
Here’s the point – We must check whether the tingle (voice) we have is from God or just a feeling that will relieve us or absolve us or excuse us of the responsibility to love one another and bear with one another instead of signing God’s name to our decisions and then saying it’s about the need for a different type of Church. It’s easy to feel intently about something and call it God’s voice. The flesh always seeks self -preservation and self-gratification. The Spirit seeks sacrifice, unity, love, generosity and thinking of others. The more scary thing is when we cannot distinguish between His voice and our fleshly desires.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
We must be able to divide between the soul and spirit and discern by the Holy Spirit even our own thoughts and intentions hidden in our hearts.
A little advise:
1. Don’t make decisions when you are angry, hurt, or offended with someone.
2. Don’t let hurt dictate your decision making by clouding your ability to hear God.
3. Talk to your pastor. If it’s your Pastor, talk to your Pastor.
4. Seek unbiased, wise counsel before you make decisions.
5. Pray and seek scripture.
6. Make sure it’s your Spirit not your soul that you hear.
7. Love always fulfills the law of Christ.