Why “God Told Me” will Fail You in Marriage
By: Deji Yesufu
My Lawyer friend, Olakunle Allison, published a story on Facebook where he recounts how a relationship he had failed to materialize in marriage because the mother of the lady he was dating then took his name, along with those a few other guys, to a prophet. The prophet chose one of the men in the list – obviously the more comfortable amongst them – and the marriage proceeded. Today, the lady is on the verge of divorce and Kunle has even offered her legal counsel. Kunle believes that he heard God tell him that that lady was to be his wife. The young woman also confirmed it. Unfortunately, a higher power, a prophet, overruled both of them and recommended a marriage that is today on the verge of collapsing. Kunle believes that if both he and the lady had followed their heart and obeyed what they heard from God, things might be a bit different from the outcome the lady is facing today.
I totally agree with Kunle on this note. The pervasive and destructive influence of so called prophets on the lives on people in our culture cannot be quantified. I cannot even begin to tell you stories here; suffice to say that if you are an individual whose life is ruled by what another man says, it does not matter whether that man is a so called pastor or prophet, be certain that your life will someday be left in ruins and you will be held accountable for it and not the prophet. Recently a brother shared with me why those of us who are reformed hold to a doctrine called the “liberty of the conscience”. When something is not clearly written in the Bible or when we cannot make healthy deductions from scripture about a practice, a Christian is at liberty to do whatever he feels best to do. An individual who is born again, possessed of the Holy Spirit and walking in obedience to him, is at liberty to do whatever he wishes to do – as long as it does not contradict the tenets of the Bible.
The biblical injunction regarding marriage is that Christians be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. If a Christian woman has many suitors, the first things she wants to ascertain is who among these men is a Christian and it is not difficult to know this. When you spend time with an individual and they share their aspirations and deepest concerns with you, one should be able to discern who and who is making God and his word, the Bible, a central pillar in their lives. When a suitor begins to solicit for sex before marriage; or, he is not a committed church person; or, he has a penchant for suggesting unbiblical means to solving life issues, a Christian woman should know that she cannot marry that person. After her personal judgement, you also want to bring the individual to see your parent and pastor. I start with parent because they have experience in this institution and are likely to make judgement that will not be inimical to the woman. Because of so many false teachings and pastors that parade the Christian landscape today it is difficult to suggest pastors but ideally a pastor should be one who is trained and properly ordained; and such a e will have insights that parents may not have. After she has scaled these two huddles, the woman should choose whoever she likes of the remaining suitors.
I have written this first because I want to use the rest of the essay to disabuse people’s minds of using “God told Me” as a yardstick for marriage. I mention this because it appears to me that Kunle, in the above story, is suggesting that if the lady in question had simply obeyed what God was putting in her heart, all would have been well with her. In a way, I agree with Kunle. This thing about liberty of conscience can also be tied to what God is saying to each of us individually in our hearts. The conscience is not the voice of the Holy Spirit. The conscience is an individual’s measure of right and wrong. If you have grown up to regard a practice as right, the day you do something against that, your conscience will smite you. However, it is assumed that a Christian’s conscience has been educated and sensitized with the laws of God. It is taken for granted that such a Christian has some maturity regarding God’s dealings in his life. Therefore, when the individual feels convinced at heart regarding doing something or not doing that thing, it will be a violation of their conscience to compel them to do otherwise. You will not be giving them liberty to follow their heart or conscience that way. This is why when Kunle and the girl felt convinced they were to marry each other; it might have been God within their conscience that was directing them that way. When the prophet suggested otherwise, their consciences were violated with consequences. However…
My challenge is still with this matter of God speaking to people about who they should marry. In our ubiquitous charismatic environment, when you suggest to people that you want to marry; or that you wish to go into ministry; or that you want to run for public office, the next thing we are asked is “… did you hear from God?” The assumption is that if God spoke to you regarding any of these endeavors, then the outcome will be positive. Again, if “God told me” is with regards with the liberty of a man’s conscience, then I will understand. But the “God told me” that is prevalent today has regards to hearing a certain voice; or seeing a number of dreams to confirm the matter; or God sending people to you to tell you what God had told them about the matter. If this is what you base your decision on, know for certain that God is not in it and the certainty of that event leading to heartbreak is very high. Let me make it abundantly clear to those who have ears to hear: God is not speaking to anyone outside the Bible today. The sure words of God are contained in the Holy Scriptures: Genesis to Revelation. If you want to know what God is saying to you: read the Bible. If you want to hear God clearly: the read the Bible out loud. God is not saying anything to anyone outside the Holy Scriptures. If you encounter a prophet or an apostle or a pastor who tells you that God said something to him about you, tell him that he is a thief and he is a robber. Here is how God is talking to the saints today.
The Bible contains the holy words of Almighty God to all of humanity. All men are dead in sin and trespasses and they do not have ability to hear God because they are DEAD. When God will give a man ears to hear him, he will awaken him to eternal life first through preaching of the redemptive stories of God as they are written in the Holy Scripture. When a man hears the good news and learns that Christ died for his sin; when such a person repents and comes to living faith in Christ, his spirit man awakens to righteousness. God gives him ability to hear him in his word. That man becomes a Christian. He begins to learns to listen to God by obeying God’s commandments: the ten commandment. He also begins to hear God instruct him in righteousness as he lives a life committed to loving God and loving his neighbor. This is where the Christian’s conscience becomes increasingly enlightened. He grows in maturity: he knows good and evils, and learns to do good. It is such a conscience that comes to certain decisions making processes in life and is able to decide on what he or she believes God will have him to do. It is the reason why it becomes a violation of his conscience when a pastor or another person (or worst still a prophet or apostle) now tells him to do something other than what he is convinced at heart he should be doing. It is a such a Christian lady or man that comes to the subject of marriage and is able to choose what he or she is convinced is God’s choice for them. They choose from a wealth of biblical knowledge, life experiences and a certain peace of heart God gives them in decision making. They do not need a voice in their heads; they already have God’s word instructing them in righteousness. A heart that is rebellious against God’s laws and then come to marriage and think God will suddenly begin to dictate to him or her what to do, is a heart that is already deceived. Such a person will hear something: they will hear demons speaking to them.
What has occasioned this essay has been the story my friend published on how a prophet ruined a lady’s life by suggesting to her who to marry. I have gone further to query my friend by writing that even the “God told Me” thing is just as bad (unfortunately I do not have space in this essay to reel out many stories of people who heard God clearly regarding marriage but are today regretting it). I have insisted stated that God’s holy words are in the Bible alone and a conscience that is steeped in biblical knowledge and obedience to God is the one that will be able to make the right decision when it comes to marriage. It is also this very submission to God’s laws that will preserve the marriage when the couple eventually begin their journey into matrimony.