Arm-Twisting for God
"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."1
Some time ago I was a lay leader in my local church. On more than one occasion a fellow lay leader (who claimed to have the spiritual gift of discernment), in important leadership meetings, would state at the very beginning of the meeting that God had told him how the matter at hand was to be.
End of discussion? Who can argue against what God has said? At one meeting where we were discussing the future of the church, as graciously as I could I said, "God hasn't told me how it should be so can we discuss this matter." Fortunately we did. At the time the church was land-locked without any room for growth. After lengthy discussion it was decided to consider relocation. Today it is now a thriving church in a new and excellent location.
Yes, I believe in the importance of spiritual gifts. However, all who claim to have certain spiritual gifts do not necessarily have them. God's Word tells us to test the spirits to see if they are of God or otherwise.
Unfortunately, because of immaturity, insecurity and needing attention, some folk are guilty of arm-twisting for God; that is, they use God-talk in order to gain attention, to be in control, to get their own way, and/or to feel important.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be courageously honest with myself and You and never be guilty of 'arm-twisting' in Your name in order to gain attention or to get my own way. And please give me a discerning spirit so that I will know what is from You and what is not. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen.”
1. 1 John 4:1 (NIV).