S2E13-What did you say, God?

Video link: https://youtu.be/YLhzlTQlvZc

Opening: Welcome to Almost Ordained. I am your host, David, the guy who graduated seminary, but never got ordained.

Have you ever heard someone claim that God spoke to them and said something that made you scratch your head and say, “I don’t think God would say that”? Like maybe, God told them they need a new private jet, top of the line, like a Falcon X7 or a Gulfstream G650? Do they really think God told them that? You might have dismissed it out of hand, but there are a lot of people who take that seriously. Maybe you know someone who does. If so, you’ll want to stick around, because I will show how this type of thinking and “hearing God” comes from a faulty understanding of faith, and hopefully help you maybe steer them toward a more biblical meaning of faith.

0:58 “Do You Like Your Plane?”

I’ve talked about the Word of Faith movement before. I was drawn to the Word of Faith in part because of promises of miracles, and signs and wonders, and healings and divine health, wealth and success. But what intrigued me the most was when they talked about having conversations with God. They said God talked to them directly through the Holy Spirit. And they related these conversations like, “I said … and God said … and I said … and God said …” and so on. I thought, “They can actually hear God talking to them? I’ve gotta learn more about this.”

Here’s an example. Now, I don’t want to use names. But if you see and hear anything like this from someone claiming to speak in the name of God, just know the God they are talking about has nothing to do with the Bible, nothing to do with Christ or mainline Christianity, and nothing to do with the Gospel handed down to us from the apostles.

So without using names, one WoF preacher is talking to another. He talks about how while flying home from a revival meeting on his own private jet “that God so graciously gave us,” he says he heard the Holy Spirit say, “Do you like your plane?”

“Yes, Lord, it’s very nice.”

“Do you really like your plane?”

“Well, yes, Lord.”

“So are you saying this is the best I could ever do for you?”

“I thought, Now that’s an odd statement.” (Technically, it’s not a statement. It’s a question. But I keep watching to see where he’ll go with it).

Now he’s confused, so he gets out of his seat and says, “You’re trying to tell me something, Lord. What is it?”

So God tells him by settling for this plane, and not believing God for a better plane, he is letting his faith stagnate. “Oh no, Lord! I would never let my faith stagnate. I don’t want that to happen.”

The other one he’s telling this to says, in effect, “Yes! You can’t just maintain where you are. You either grow or you stagnate. And that applies to faith like everything else.”

So if he doesn’t want his faith to stagnate, he needs to believe God for a better plane.

4:25 Believing God for something

If you’re not familiar with the WoF and similar movements that are active now, you might not understand what “believing God for a better plane” means. I’ve seen reporters quote this as “believing in God for a plane,” or even “bleeding God for a plane,” like, (slashing noise), cut that open, and I’m bleeding God for a plane.” No. No one is bleeding God here. And it’s not believing in God for a plane. Or for anything. I’m just using a plane as an example. It could be anything. Like, if you are living in an apartment, and you want to live in a house. You want to own a home, and so you believe God for it. In WoF, you talk about believing in God, period. You also talk about “Believing God for something.”

In the Word of Faith, faith is a force you can use to make whatever you desire and pray for manifest. They talk about using their faith and the Bible to get something from God. They call that believing God for (fill in the blank). For something. So to them, growing in faith means being able to believe God for more and more stuff, and bigger and better things. So if I want to grow in faith, and I already have a private jet (or three or nine), but there’s a better jet out there, I have to approach God like, “Lord, you want me to keep growing in faith. You said in Psalm 37:4, ‘Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart’ (NRSV). You know I take delight in you. I desire a better plane. I believe you for a Gulfstream G650. I believe I receive it now in Jesus’ name, and I thank you and praise you for it.” Keep confessing that, and you will receive it. And you have to do this, because you have to use your faith. You have to keep exercising it to make it grow. Because if you don’t grow, you stagnate. Use it or lose it.

There are a number of problems with this of course. But he believes he heard this from God, so it must be the truth. If I believed what he heard really was from God, I would be mad as hell. Because when I prayed and believed God for what I needed, I didn’t get it. I wasn’t looking for a mansion or private jet or Bentley or anything like that. I just needed a job, so I could eat and pay my bills, and have something left over to give to others in need.

8:40 God: Sugar daddy or soup nazi?

With this guy, God is like an overeager sugar daddy. Dude is already riding on his own private jet, one of three actually. He didn’t even ask for anything more, and God is like, “Do you like this plane? Oh, I don’t think this is good enough for you. You should believe Me for a better plane. We don’t want your faith to stagnate, do we?”

And with me, God was like the Soup Nazi. “God, I need a job. Could you help me?”

“Do you believe I can help you?”

“Of course I do.”

“Do you believe you receive a job that will cover all your needs?”

“Yes.”

“Do you really believe it?”

“Yes.”

“Do you really believe it?”

“Well, uh, yes?”

“You hesitated! You don’t believe! No soup for you!!”

“I didn’t ask for a mansion or a yacht. I only wanted a job. I need a job.”

“I said, no soup for you!!!”

10:02 Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Falcon 7X Jet

So did this WoF preacher really hear from the Holy Spirit? I think it’s possible he heard a voice he thought was God. He’s got three private jets, a 35,000 square foot mansion, drives around in a Rolls Royce, and apparently a Falcon 7X jet on the way. All of that he obtained by listening to that voice. Why wouldn’t he think it was God? Except… even in the Word of Faith when I was in it (It might have changed since then), they said the Holy Spirit would never speak a personal word to you that contradicted the written word of God, a.k.a, the Bible.

The pursuit of more and more money, more and more luxury cars, bigger and better homes and private jets, more and more expensive clothes, shoes, and food, never being satisfied with what you have, never having enough, what do most people call that? Greed. So how does the Bible compare with the ever increasing greed this voice spoke with? How about this from 1 Timothy.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains (1Tim 6:10 NRSV).

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. What is the love of money? Greed. What is the constant pursuit of bigger and better things, more and more expensive lifestyles? It’s greed. For at least a thousand years plus, greed has been named one of the seven deadly sins. In the Bible, it’s the root of all kinds of evil. But these two say that’s not greed. That’s growing in faith. How do they know? Because God told them so.

This definition of faith tells you never to be content with what you already have. It tells you if you are not acquiring bigger and better houses, bigger and better cars, bigger and better jets, more and more expensive furnishings, more and more expensive food, more and more expensive clothes and shoes, bigger and better offices for your ministry, bigger and better hotels when you travel, more and more people sending more and more money in offerings and donations, so you can buy all that bigger and better stuff you’re believing God for, then your faith is stagnating.

13:43 Growing in Faith or Greed?

No! That is not faith. That is greed. You’re not growing in faith. You’re growing in greed. And the Bible says, Greed is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Ti 6:10). The verse just before that says,

those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction (1Tim 6:9 NRSV).

Don’t look for the next shiny object, so you can “believe God for” it, thinking you are growing in faith. The Bible says if you have food and clothing, be content with these (1 Tim 6:8). Take Baloo’s advice in The Jungle Book and be content with the “Bare Necessities.”

15:00 How to Grow in Faith — the Biblical Way

Faith isn’t about manifesting your desires for bigger and better stuff. Faith is about trusting in God to provide what you need. You can ask God for what you want, but how God answers is according to God’s will, not according to the desires of your flesh. And as Paul told Timothy, those who preach that greed is good, greed is growing in faith, and godliness is a means of gain, have wandered away from the faith.

But as for you, man [or woman] of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness (1Tim 6:11 NRSV)

If you do that, if you shun greed and learn to be satisfied with just the basic necessities, if you shun pursuing constant upgrades to your lifestyle and using godliness as a means of gain, if you pursue instead righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness, you will grow in faith. That is how you stop your faith from stagnating.

16:56 Closing:

Thanks for watching Almost Ordained. I hope you’ll come back for the next episode. If this has been helpful to you, please share it on your social media, or email or text the link. If you want to be notified when new videos become available, click the bell. And click the like button. That will help it show up in people’s search results. Until then, remember these words from Matthew 7:12, “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”

Grace and peace to you.

David Anderson is a multi-passionate author of fiction and nonfiction. His latest book is Dark Nights of the Soul: Reflections on Faith and the Depressed Brain.

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