If, on the other hand, the person’s gut check spiritual leading led him down a path to ridiculing folly that only resulted in him having boos and hisses heaped upon his head, the person is said to have been NOT walking with Jesus, being out of God’s will, and acting selfishly.
A case in point from my college days: I recall coming to church one Wednesday evening to attend our mid-week Bible study. There hanging around the church was some young guy no one had ever seen before. As we make our introductions, he begins to tell us this glory bump raising story of why he was at our church.
He was originally from North Carolina. He had listened to Michael W. Smith’s song “Go West, Young Man,” and couldn’t get it out of his head. So. Believing in his gut his constant humming of this song was God prompting him to “Go West,” he began to pray and fast as to where in the west he was to go. I mean, think about it: Pretty much everywhere in America is west of North Carolina. Then one day he happens upon a satellite broadcast of one of our church services, which were televised for the ACTS network in those days. He watches our service for the entire 30 minutes and his gut tells him this is God giving him the key to unlock the next level in his journey.
So. He packs what meager things he owned into his run down Escort and headed west to our church in Arkansas. And after a harrowing three day journey of fixing flat tires, over heating engines, a broken air conditioner, sleeping in his car at rest stops, and battling other attempts by Satanic forces to hinder him for accomplishing God’s will for his life, he pulls up to our church maybe an hour before services started. And can you believe it?! It just so happened we were having a pot-luck that evening right before church started, so he got a free, warm meal for being faithful in his gut check adventure.
Everyone marveled at his story. A few folks even let loose some “praise the Lords” and “amens.” It was such a powerful testimony to taking steps of faith and trusting the Lord when you don’t know what may happen the next day. Everyone secretly wished God would lead them in such dramatic, awesome ways.
I imagine some are reading this thinking I am going to reveal how he turned out to be a wacko who either left on some other weird adventure to Alaska or was found out to be a criminal fleeing the law, but such was not the case. He moved in with some guys who needed a roommate, worked at a local restaurant for a while as I recall, and then got a job as a counselor/teacher at a Christian camp for troubled youth. I’m not sure what happened to him after that.
“But Fred,” you ask, “Isn’t the fact that everything turned up roses for this guy clear confirmation God was leading him?” No. But it is confirmation that God can be gracious to us in spite of our stupidity. Believe me, for every story I could tell where some spiritual naif quit his job as a high paid CPA on the whim of “feelings” and yet fell backwards into all sorts of blessings, I can recall a dozen or more with individuals who made just as equally appalling decisions that led to their ruin.
The greater question, however, is how can these divine gut feelings be so right in one instance, yet so wrong in another? If a person is “feeling” God is telling him to do such and such, I would think there would be some sort of infallible authority attached to the feeling, right? Meaning a couple of things: It’s from God, so it can’t be wrong and it’s from God, so it will be clear. But apparently, with all the dumb decisions that result from people following their guts, I get the picture that God mumbles a whole lot and tends to be vague.
Without getting into the entire discussion about the continuation or cessation of the gift of prophecy in the Church, I had a few questions:
If the gift of prophecy is for today, and people having wiggles in their tummy is indication of God nudging people in a particular direction, why is discovering exactly what God wants for the person and where God is leading him or her like trying to figure out how to get to the next level in Super Mario Bros.? “That’s when you submit your feelings to Scripture, Fred.” Really? Why wasn’t Scripture alone sufficient enough to provide some direction in the first place? Why is there first a need for the tummy tickle before one goes to Scripture? What more could God possibly tell you with your guts that He hasn’t already told you clearly in His Word?