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The Lord Told Me To Share This

Ok, so…The Lord didn’t really tell me to share this message or that message with you today.  But I wonder, did you feel the weight behind the title of this post? Did “The Lord Told Me…” give you an added thought, burden, or draw to read this post?  If so, this is the exact reason I’m writing this post.

A brother in the Lord once encouraged us to use caution and discernment when people seek to add authority or power to what they say by prefacing their statements with phrases like “The Lord told me,” “God wants me to tell you,” “The Lord gave this to me for you,”or something similar.  When someone speaks using these types of phrases it is typically out of a desire to speak a word with authority.  But the simple truth is that authority may or may not be present in the words they are speaking.  In speaking a word to people, to declare, “Thus sayeth the Lord,” in such a way actually puts those who hear what is being said in a difficult position.  It puts them in a position, by their response to what was spoken, of having to choose between either validating what the person said to be ‘the word of the Lord’ for them, or of seeming to judge whether or not that person has actually heard from the Lord.  I’m sure anyone who has ever been in this situation would agree, it is a difficult and awkward position to be in.

So if/when we find ourselves in that position, we can choose to 1) validate what they spoke, essentially going along with what they said, without questioning or weighing it against the scriptures and the Spirit of the Lord; 2) question what was said, potentially causing them to feel like we are questioning their  ‘spiritual ability to hear from the Lord, or 3) go against what was said, risking the same results as option 2.

Option 1

When someone seeks to bring this added weight to their words, if we go along with what was said because we were told it was from the Lord, we do ourselves an injustice, for this is not the way the Lord intended it to be in His Body.  He intends for us to know Him more, to hear His voice and recognize it, to live by His indwelling life.  Taking everything a person says is from the Lord and treating it as such robs us of such learning and knowing of Christ.  We must allow Him to work His life into us in this way.  We must allow the Lord to cultivate that relationship within us so that when He speaks, whether it be through a brother/sister, the scriptures, or another avenue, when the Spirit quickens us inwardly, we recognize it as the Lord and we align our lives with it.  This is not something most of us just learn over night.  It takes time, faith, and sometimes we miss it.  Sometimes we get it wrong.  But the Lord is gracious and will call to us again, and again, and again.  He is constantly working in and through us to strengthen faith, give hearing, understanding and knowing of His life and leading.

Options 2 & 3

But what happens when we question what is being spoken or go against it?  If we choose to question or go against what was spoken, we are essentially telling the person who spoke they may have gotten it wrong, or they did get it wrong.  Which, would be the same as telling them we don’t think they heard from the Lord correctly, or they didn’t really hear from the Lord at all.  I don’t know many people (any really) who want to be the one to tell someone they didn’t hear from the Lord correctly, or they didn’t hear from Him at all.

As I’ve seen many times, either option doesn’t typically sit well with the person speaking the ‘word of the Lord’ to others.  It usually involves pride, anger, hurt, uneasiness, frustration, resentment, and a myriad of other feelings.  Many times parties on both sides of this coin experience the same frustration or difficulty in trying to deal with the situation as best as possible, with one trying to re-explain what they meant, the other trying to maneuver around it without offending them.  Often times, as things are examined and weighed in light of the scriptures and the Spirit within, we begin to see or understand the person who spoke ‘thus sayeth the Lord’ may have indeed received something of the Lord, but in their humanity (which we all deal with) may have added their own thoughts to the mix, or may have only received something in part, and so they have tried to piece the rest of it together based on previous experiences or situations.  Examples could go on and on.

Humble Suggestions

In all of this, I see a couple of options that may help avoid or resolve these situations in the future (I’m sure there could be more, but I’m starting with these).

First, in anything, it is wise to search the scriptures to find Christ, to be mindful of the ‘inner quickening’ of the Spirit within, showing us the path to Life, revealing the Lord to us.  This is the responsibility of every follower of Jesus.  I can not emphasis this enough.  For too long people have been taught that being a Christian means attending a service/meeting, listening to a sermon, or sponging off of others who speak in meetings.  So many people have learned to rely on others to hear from the Lord for them, or to pursue the Lord passively, and to choose what they think to be right or good.  This is not what the Lord intends for His Body.  We must move beyond passivity when it comes to knowing the Lord and expressing His life to others.  As members of the Body of Christ, we must take the responsibility upon ourselves to seek the Lord, pursue His mind, and express His life.  We must become a people who learn, hear, understand, receive and discern the Lord’s life for ourselves.  Then we share our portion of Christ with our brothers and sisters in a way that encourages them to do the same and Christ is expressed in a fuller and broader way.

Second, we must lay down our desires and tendencies to have what we speak carry the weight and authority of the Lord.  Understand that does not mean we are to begin speaking our minds and spouting off the first things that come to mind in a given situation.  No, we are still responsible for what we speak.  We should always strive to speak Christ, to have His life flow through our words.  Doing so brings life, Christ’s life.  But we must stop being a people who act on the feeling of needing to add a ‘thus sayeth the Lord’ to our own words, thoughts or interpretations.  We must seek to reveal Christ when we speak, but offer it as plainly as possible and allow those who hear to discern or recognize Christ in what we speak.  To put it simply, we are to learn and know the Lord and then allow His life to speak to others, allowing Him to add His authority and weight to what we speak because His life is in it.  In reality, if the Lord is truly speaking in and through you, the person/people you’re speaking to will recognize it because there will be life in what you speak.  In such times, most people will affirm what you’ve spoken on their own accord.  If there is not life in what you’re speaking they will recognize that as well.  In either case, you will have done them a service by allowing them, another opportunity for the Lord to bring His life and to grow within them.  I would dare say you will experience a little humility in doing so, as well.

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10 Responses

  1. “the Lord told me to share this” ok maybe…or maybe not

    I really enjoined your post, it’s expressed in love, tempered with experience, and the intent is to build the Body of Christ.

    Thanks bro for this post, and your ministry of love!

    Like

  2. Thank you for your post, brother. I agree with you in principle that the words, “The Lord Says” or “The Lord told me” seem to be a way tor a brother or sister to add authority to their words during a meeting.

    Should we not treat each word (whether spoken in authority or not) as if it could be from the Lord? Some of the most authoritative words I’ve ever heard came from quiet spoken little grandmothers! And if a word spoken (whether or not the speaker indicates it was from the Lord) we should gracefully appreciate the word and affirm the person, while using discernment regarding its content. I agree with you fully in this.

    I think there are also times when the Lord truly does give you a specific Word and asks you to speak up in authority … not because you want your specific word to have great authority (that is the flesh and it has no place in the body of Christ), but rather because it is coming directly from the realm of the Spirit?

    To be honest, when I’m in a meeting and am in the flesh (and often when I’m in the Spirit) I will often say nothing because I do not want to speak out of the flesh. In fact when the Lord gives me a word I’d rather not give it, because there is often a lashback from that word that actually did come from the Spirit (just because its from the Lord won’t mean we will or won’t like it!). It is more convenient to stay quiet, but that’s not Christ. I’m actually often surprised by the authority by which He speaks to His people.

    Thanks for sharing, good post! It was good to meet you down in Florida when we visited … we’re now in Nashville enjoying the body of Christ!

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    • Stephen,

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      I wholeheartedly agree, when hearing/listening we should treat each word as though it may be from the Lord. I’m of the belief that if the Lord used Balaam’s donkey to speak, He will speak through anyone. I also agree there are times when the Lord truly does give someone a specific Word to be spoken and they should speak as the Spirit leads. I believe when that happens, whether it is a ‘pleasant’ or ‘difficult’ word to receive, the Spirit within will bear witness to the Spirit of the Lord, for it is, as Paul writes, one Spirit above all, through all, and in us all. In any case, we must learn to affirm the brother/sister who spoke, encouraging them to continue to share their portion of Christ, while graciously being able to agree or disagree with them. This requires grace on both parts. Thankfully, in Christ, grace abounds in our Lord, Jesus.

      It was a pleasure meeting your family as well. We rejoiced in the news that your family was moving to Nashville to be a part of the expression of Christ there. I would love to visit the Nashville saints someday.

      Like

  3. Very true, bro. Speak the truth in love, always making the best attempt to speak from Christ’s life within. When we do that (and it is a learning process) the result of our words are up to Christ Himself. Our responsibility is only to speak as we are led. He doesn’t need our help to sway others with catch phrases. We must give Christ and others the same freedom to respond in the Spirit was we take in speaking from the Spirit. The sheep know the Shepherd’s voice, whether He speaks inwardly through the Spirit or outwardly through others. The phrases you mention often inhibit the freedom of Christ to work through our words. I’ve found that using these prhrases often make people very defefensive because of past hurts that are brought to mind.

    Like

    • Mark,

      Thanks for reading and sharing brother. Again, I appreciate the clarity you help bring to things. Learning to speak from Christ’s life within is, indeed, a learning process. One, I’m sure, we will continue in until we know in full, just as we are known by the Lord. I especially appreciate your statement, “We must give Christ and others the same freedom to respond in the Spirit as we take in speaking from the Spirit.” This is in line with our measure of grace. We must be willing to offer our brothers and sisters the same measure of grace we’ve been given. Love you brother!

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  4. When sharing with someone a word that you believe God has given you for them, it’s vital to make absolutely certain that this person knows you are fallible and you do not expect him to accept what you’re saying as a “thus saith the Lord” kind of thing.

    Such a word can be a real blessing to a brother or sister if and only if it is offered humbly. The attitude “I could hear wrongly” has to be a constant companion. We are all learning. A word “from God” shouldn’t be a shock to the person receiving it. It should be a confirmation of what He has already been dealing with that person on. Or it should be an assurance of love or an encouragement or in rare instances even a missing bit of information the recipient has been looking for.

    When I first started learning to hear from God, not so long ago, I made the mistake of not making this perfectly clear when I tentatively (in my own mind) shared something with another person. It took me by surprise that at least a few people took the things I said as somewhat infallible. Not only that, but they sometimes took them literally instead of metaphorically as I had intended. When sharing a word from the Lord, you cannot take it for granted that the listener will know to check your words out with God and against scripture for himself. You also can’t take it for granted that the listener will understand what is a metaphor and what is literal.

    So, yes. I agree with you, Tobias, and would also like to add that sometimes the problem is not that the speaker wants to add authority to his words, but merely that the listener automatically grants authority unexpected and undesired by the speaker.

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    • Cindy,

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I agree with you that a word ‘from God’ shouldn’t be a shock to the person receiving it, but that it should be more of a confirmation, assurance, encouragement, or a fuller picture, in line with how the Lord is or has been working already.

      I also appreciate you pointing out that sometimes the problem is not the speaker. After re-reading my original post, I would like to point out two things. 1) This post is not an attempt to place blame on one party or another, but simply to encourage us to reconsider how we are speaking to one another. 2) I would also like to point out that not everyone who uses these types of phrases is trying to bring the Lord’s authority with their words, but could be using these phrases simply because that is how others around them have spoken and they just learned to do so as well. Again, this is why I hope to encourage the Church to rethink how we speak.

      Like

  5. Great post, brother! I have actually found it very freeing to not have to add weight to my words. To just let them be what they are and let the Lord do with them as He pleases. Yes, we still need to weigh what we say and to not speak flippantly, but we also don’t have to make our words into something more. The Lord is more than capable of using whatever means and whomever He chooses to reveal Himself…like a donkey. 🙂

    Like

    • Bridget,

      Indeed, it is freeing when we allow the Lord to have His way with us, within, without, and through. We continue to ‘discover’ He is more than able to be the provision of what we share, what is received, as well as the bridge to bring us all to the same place of knowing Him.

      On the lighter side…when I read the last sentence of your comment it made me think of the phrase, “Like a BOSS!” I had to laugh because in my mind I said “Like a DONKEY!” We should start saying that!

      Like

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