Whiners and Winners
I Must

"God Made Me Do It!"

The spirits of the prophets

There is a biblical admonition to pray, seek God's face, and turn from wicked ways.

There is no disputing that this is a mandate for those who are "called by God's name."

So, believers must comply in order to be consistent.

This often raises eyebrows and blood pressure for my non-believing friends - and perhaps, rightly so.

That is because they advocate transparent decision making processes in public life that are subject to scrutiny and visibility.

The assumption is that if a leader seeks divine guidance, that instructions will come that are not subject to that sort of public evaluation and accountability. They wonder if the person seeking God will claim some sort of personal revelation from God that is contrary to logic and ethics.

There is a short answer to that from the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 14:32. It is binding upon Christians and potentially comforting to those who are not Christians:

"The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets."

Paul was dealing with the same dangers at the local church level in Corinth. People were saying things like, "God told me," "God told me to tell you," and, "The Holy Spirit MADE me do it."

They thought that would excuse them from all sorts of misbehavior, rudeness, and lapses of good sense.

Public people who seek God and follow Jesus are bound by the law of love and expected to exercise good sense whatever they perceive God saying to them. They are required to operate within the laws and social contracts of society.

They are subject to public scrutiny. Their devotions and prayers in private are to provide them grounding, clear their minds, reinforce their values, and provide insights. There is no magic here and no free pass to act badly.

I can't speak for all believers, but I believe that there is adequate permission in the scriptures for society to hold their leaders accountable for the actions even if those leaders base their decisions on insights they received in prayer.

No one in this world operates in a vacuum. Every human being cultivates an inner life that helps guide him or her in the process of decision making. Everyone needs to quiet his or her soul to think and act clearly. For the Christian, that happens in prayer.

There is a very funny video in circulation that claims, as evidence that God does not answer prayer, the testimony of a former leader that he prayed daily for guidance. It is funny, but flawed. The bases of decision making for Christians are not mysterious. Guidance is filtered through our human minds and ethical sign posts. Our spirits are subject to our selves.

Relax. If we truly pray, seek, and repent, the world will be a better place for you as well and God will never lead us to trample upon your dignity - not the God I know in Jesus Christ.

If we do that, blame us. It was our call.