For My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

I grow weary of people proclaiming the various things that God has told them. Or to be more accurate, what they claim God has told them. This is not a particular problem at Martin Top, thankfully, but it evidently is elsewhere. I myself have felt the Lord lead me in particular directions and He even prompted me to do things, but He primarily speaks through His word. People who think themselves regularly in receipt of direct messages several times each day are likely to be confusing their own thoughts for God’s, and this is highly dangerous. Do not assume that a thought that enters your head is the Lord's. We know that Satan can whisper lies, and we know that our own hearts are deceitful above all things. Yet even if a desire to do some good appears in our mind, we must not presume that this is a command from God. In the summer, I thought about starting a youthwork in Gisburn. There is little going on there, and a young people’s work is something we lack. A fool would have assumed that the thought was a heavenly imperative and commenced setting it up. If it is from God, the thought will not go away, it will be confirmed by others, and most importantly of all, it will be in accordance with His written word. To this end, I wait.

I have previously shared about people who have been ‘told by God’ to come and join Salem Chapel, only for God to supposedly change His mind some months later, and off they march. This makes them to look foolish and God to appear fickle. Yet pretending to hear God’s voice is far graver than simply rushing into things or displaying immaturity; it is deeply offensive to God. At a recent session of the Westminster Catechism class, we considered the commandment ‘Do not use the Lord’s name in vain’. We sometimes dismiss this injunction as mere prohibition on swearing or the use of vulgar language, but it is much more. Someone perceptively suggested that presuming to speak God’s mind when He has sanctioned no such thing is here forbidden. If confusing our thoughts with God’s is shy of blaspheming Him, it is still taking His name in vain. By attributing His authorship to some random idea, feeling or inclination, we make a vain assertion and cheapen His divine dignity. It is considered plagiarism to take someone else’s work and pass it off as one’s own, but it is rather insulting to take our own, inferior piece of text and attribute it to a famous author. My own writing style is less than perfect and is sometimes awash with grammatical and linguistic errors, but imagine the effrontery of my writing a blog post and saying John Piper or John Stott composed it. Having no control over its content but all the blame for its many errors would drive any prominent author to vexation.

Be very careful the next time a thought enters your head and you glibly assume it was put there by God, you being one of His special guys to whom He regularly sends memos and instructions. If it is not from Him, and just from you, you risk speaking His name vainly, which is one of the reasons for which the Lord Jesus went to the Cross.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 55:8 NKJV