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Do we need to “hear from God” before we make a decision? And what if we have a friend who claims to have heard God’s voice on something, but we think they are mistaken? How do we question their decision without undermining their faith? This is a really sharp question from a listener named Matt.
“Pastor John, I have a question about addressing issues with people who have prayed about a certain decision and feel that God spoke to them. Is there a way to lovingly push back when this seems like what they apparently ‘heard’ from God seems like a poor choice? How do you critique their choice without shaking their faith and making them doubt their ability to ever hear from God?”
Steps - Time - Moment - Things - Person
Well, I would go through five steps with them, perhaps. This may be over time rather than in the moment. But these are things you need to establish with the person in order to help them understand this rightly.
The first thing I want to establish is that Scripture trumps spiritual gifts. The principle is found in 1 Corinthians 14:37–38, where Paul says this: “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.”
Anyone - Prophet - Person - Tie-in - God
Now, remember, he’s saying that to prophets: “If anyone thinks he’s a prophet.” So this is a person who claims that because he’s spiritual, or because he has a close tie-in with God, he has a word from God about something he should do or say. Paul is saying, “Now wait a minute. If I say something that preempts what you just said, you need to submit to what I say because I’m writing Scripture as an authorized apostle.”
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