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“God Told Me To” – Isn’t always the best answer…

I get a lot of requests to read scripts, to take pitch meetings, to folks asking for career advice.  I’m a “connector” and it’s apparently part of my DNA.  But when it comes to helping people, there’s always one response that stops me in my tracks:

“God told me to do it.”

It comes in the form of “God gave me this screenplay, so I won’t change a word.”  Or “God told me you should produce my movie.”  Or “God showed me that this will be the biggest project of all time.”  I don’t doubt that you feel very strongly that your project, movie, event, or whatever was inspired by God.  I’m cool with that, and thrilled for you.  But the minute you bring up the “God told me” card, then I can’t help you anymore.

Why?  Because it can’t be a bad idea if God told you to do it, right?  It can’t be poorly written if God gave it to you word for word.  It can’t be a really lame idea if God dropped it on you.

But the truth is, very often, it IS a bad idea.  It IS poorly written.  And it IS a really lame idea.

Here’s my recommendation:  No matter how you feel about it being a God idea, or a seed that God dropped in your lap, take the humble approach.  Be open to advice.  Look for good counsel.  Consider making changes.  Learn how to do it right.

Most of all, get the education, experience, and talent to make it well.  When God called Solomon to build his temple, he searched for the most talented artists and craftsman in the land.  He wasn’t content with good-hearted losers.

The Bible is filled with examples of “God ideas” that were adjusted for circumstances and situations.  He gives us enormous latitude in helping His plan come to fruition.  Maybe your “God idea” could use some of the same adjustments to make it a reality…

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11 Comments

  1. As Christian comedian Tim Hawkins put it, sometimes when somebody in church says “God gave me this song”, and then they get up and sing it, the congregation starts thinking “maybe you should give it back”.

  2. I generally (very much!) agree. I’ve talked with many people who have thought they were speaking for God on some theological point. And while their argument was from Scripture, there was obviously room for another perspective from the same Scripture. But I’m fine with such a person not wanting to tweak their theology, practice, or idea. After all, it wouldn’t be much of a conviction if they were willing to tweak it because of pragmatics. I do hope, however, that they would take the humble route and realize that their conviction is not my conviction, and their path is not everyone’s path.

  3. I find people in the Charismatic world too often throw down that phrase as the ultimate trump card. What in the world are you supposed to say to that? “Are you sure it wasn’t the Meat Lover’s Pizza you had last night?”

    If God did tell you to do it, that really is between Him and you. He can speak to any other party as He did you to move the project along His way.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know God gives us ideas, plans, projects. When He does, amazing things happen if you follow His plan, work very hard, get great advice, be willing to see it pruned before he really grows to what it is supposed to be.

  4. Great word, Phil! Over the past decades, I’ve often had the opportunity to meet with pastors who desired to go on television. When I’d sit down to chat with them about the possibility, the very first question I’d ask is, “Why do you want to broadcast your services?” Two answers always came to the forefront: 1) “My Deacons came to me and told me they felt it was time that we did” or the number 1 answer was, “God told me to.” After listening to copies of a few of their messages, I had to question if we were listening to the same God. Sometimes it’s difficult to separate personal desire and passion from a mistaken “calling.” While I would never discount the fact that God does still “call,” the motivation behind the call should expose the validity of it. God looks for the those who are willing to follow Him and His leading. When it is a true call of God, the same Spirit that was their motivation will resound within every believer that comes in contact with the project. That’s the way God works!

  5. When someone tells me that their idea, project, or plan was given to them by God, I pray about it. If I hear nothing from God, I merely reply, “I am sure your project is God-inspired, but, apparently, I am not the one who is supposed to help you with it.”

  6. Great points. However, God’s wisdom is often foolishness to man. I’ve had disagreements with my pastor about the wording and style of certain projects. In the end I submitted to him, and the effect of the project was tremendous. Lives were touched. Who cares if we won no creative awards?

    I think it’s good to consider making changes to something that God inspired. God can easily say, “Yes, I love that input from so-and-so who knows what they’re talking about.” But what if he doesn’t? Does He still know best?

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