Anyone old enough to remember Flip Wilson?
This is from Ed Sullivan, circa 1970 AD:
Now, in the modern church, circa today AD, we don’t say “The Devil made me do it.” We blame God. Or the Holy Spirit.
In fact, some of the worse things ever done to me were done by people claiming to have been “led by God” to do what they did. And, yes, they prayed about it. They prayed because they felt guilty, but after praying enough, they concluded that God wanted them to do the very thing they wanted to do but felt guilty about! And it’s not wrong if God tells you to do it.
I have a friend who is a Baptist deacon. He likes to say, “I’ve never seen a pastor ‘called’ to a new job that didn’t pay more than the old one.”
Well, that’s the cynical side of me. On the other hand —
I know ministers who gave up secure positions in which they were very successful to take much less money and yet do a ministry they felt called to. I know businessmen who gave up prominent, lucrative jobs to serve God in full-time ministry, make much less money and taking huge risks with their livelihoods.
I’ve known people do some of the most amazing, sacrificial, loving, truly Christ-like things imaginable — things I can’t imagine myself doing — because they felt led by God to do it. And some of these people were led kicking and screaming — not wanting to be so self-giving.
I have a lot of trouble declaring people who give up so much for Jesus frauds. I mean, I wouldn’t do what they do unless God made me do it. And if they tell me they felt compelled by God, well, that makes a whole lot of sense.
So does God lead people to do particular good things by an impulse beyond the pages of the Bible? And if so, how do we distinguish leadings that are genuine from fake leadings?
And does the Bible give any authority for your conclusion? Have you ever experience such a leading yourself — and how did you conclude it was really from God?