There is this strange dilemma when you are a pastor or other “professional” Christian that comes up in my life quite often. In the ideal case when I am speaking, teaching, or writing I should be letting God speak through me and letting his words come out. It should be what He has to say more than what I have to say.
But everything that God is saying “through me” is coming through the filter of my brain, my mouth, my messed up self. So while it is nice to think that God is speaking many times I mess things up. Most of the time I just make the assumption that the good parts are from God and the messed up parts are from me.
But here is the thing. When it comes to taking credit for or accepting praise for things I find myself torn. There is this Christian humble act (and by act I am not meaning that it isn’t genuine) that says when someone says something about what you do, or when you talk about something you have created you must say something like, “it was all God.” There are many variations, but that is in effect the main thrust of all of them.
While I don’t have a problem with this from a pride standpoint. I do have a problem with it because the older I get and the more that I do this the more that I realize that just because someone liked what I said doesn’t mean that it comes from God. It just seems like arrogance to claim that what you say or do is from God. It is like you are claiming to be writing Bible or something.
I try my best to let everything that I do be “God inspired and not
Shane inspired” but just because that is the case doesn’t mean that it
actually happens. It just seems like audacity to look at a piece of
work that was created by my hand and tell the world, “This was inspired
by God!” I mean what if it is crap? What if it is un-biblical? What if I
was just missing out on what God was saying to me.
I know many people don’t take it that way, and I don’t have time to have a 20 minute conversation with everyone who says, “nice sermon,” but how I generally feel is that I try my best to say and do things that are in line with the Bible. I have prayed and asked for God’s guidance and have to the best of my ability prepared my heart to be a conduit of God’s words. But the whole God speaking thing, well that is up to God and He doesn’t ask me before He does something. Not only that He doesn’t need me to do something. Not only that I can’t make God do something through a set of rituals as if he were an idol that I made in my basement.
God is God and sometimes I think He speaks through me and sometimes I don’t. And here is the really crazy part. Sometimes I think he is speaking through me even though he isn’t, and sometimes I think I am messing everything up and God is speaking clearly to someone.
I guess in the end I have to just go with the fact that I do what I know I have to do and trust God for the rest. But that is hard to say while someone is walking out the door.
With all of that said, there are some cool times (most notably when I am preaching) when I feel like there is a second voice in my head and all I have to do is speak what that voice is telling me. For me those moments are some of the most pure worship times of my life.
(I think the most pure worship moments I have had in recent memory have come when watching Nathan sleep, but that is a whole other post.)