“Lord, was that You, or was it Me?”

by Lester Young

Anybody ever found themselves wondering that?  I’d be willing to venture we all have at one time or another.  It often rears its head when we’re happened upon by an opportunity (which we were neither looking for nor expecting) to give something away – money, time, services, that new outfit you just bought and have only worn once, a car…whatever.  As Christians, I think it’s safe to say that deep down in our hearts we want to obey and please God.  We really do.  And, if we were absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt sure of just what His will was more of the time, it’s likely we’d be better at choosing to follow it – and that would make us feel a bit better about ourselves, too.

But, you know how the story goes.  You’re sitting in church, and you also happen to be sitting on a little extra cash  – the first ‘extra’ you’ve had in a month of Sundays.  Or, it comes to your attention that someone you know is suddenly in need, just as you were quietly and pleasantly contemplating what evening you wanted to treat yourself to that well-deserved dinner out.  Then, a little pang hits you; just a fleeting thought that says, “I should give this [fill in the blank].”  And, yeah, you heard it; the thought registered in your mind clearly enough, though you kinda wished it hadn’t – because, as soon as you perceived it, almost immediately your brain (maybe even your whole body) actually recoiled from it and pulled the other way; automatically, seemingly with no outside assistance necessary on your part.

And then, that question comes – partly because you’re really not sure, and partly because you really just don’t want to.  Your thoughts turn inward (which is actually your first hint, right there), about how you really can’t afford to give anything away; or you start resenting the notion altogether because you had ‘plans’ for that money.  Anxiety hits, mainly from worry about yourself but also because you know you ought to obey God – if that is indeed Him.  So, you ask Him, again and again, “Lord, is that You telling me to do this, or is it just my own thought?”

Of course, because you’re secretly hoping it’s not God (because, if the truth be known [and it is], you’d really just as soon keep whatever it is you’re thinking about giving), you’d probably find a way to skirt around the whole thing even if He screamed an answer at you.  Maybe if you do nothing – “if I can just make it through the service and get outside to my car” – eventually the feeling, the whole episode, will go away.  Your mind reels.  You inquire again, “Lord, how can I be sure?  Look, just give me a sign, okay?”

Actually, He already has; though we typically overlook it even while we’re sitting right through it.  I just described it for you, and it’s written down in Galatians 5:17: “For the sinful nature [flesh, in the KJV] desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature [flesh].  They are in conflict with each other…” (NIV).  Do you see it?  When your carnal mind recoiled to the initial thought to “give” in the very beginning, according to the Word of God, that itself was your sign.  The flesh is contrary (or opposed) to the Spirit and vice-versa, so the fact that it recoiled at all is proof that what it recoiled against had to be from the Spirit –  and the Spirit is the way that you should always choose to go (Romans 8:14; Galatians 4:6, 5:18).  Fortunately for us, it really is no more complicated to figure out than that (or, unfortunately, depending upon your point of view, I guess).

So, the next time you find yourself with the wayward thought that you should do something good – whether small or large – for somebody or some thing, but you’re not quite sure if it’s God or just you thinking it, take a moment to introspectively size up the situation.  If you’re torn in two different directions with your flesh ‘self’-ishly pulling one way…well, as Bill Engvall aptly puts it, “Heeere’s your ‘sign.’”

Here’s another hint that’ll make things even easier when the “Lord, is that You or me?” question pops up: it’s probably Him.

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6 Comments to ““Lord, was that You, or was it Me?””

  1. If it’s in line with the Word, then it’s the Lord. And giving is surely in the Word! The Lord’s Word is His will. Thanks for this wonderful post, Lester! Dee

  2. Another great post, Lester. This is an important question for everyone, one we must answer. Once we answer it, we must obey it if we want any peace in our lives. I rarely have a problem with giving. With me, it’s more an issue of wanting to give to a need when I don’t have the means to follow through. So, is that the Lord? I know the Bible says that it’s good if it is in our hearts to give but we don’t have the means to give as we would like. The Lord blesses that, too.

    • Hi Diane…

      Yes, God always looks at and examines our heart…just as when King David was commended for having in his heart to build God’s Temple, even though he was held back from actually doing so; and when Paul praised the Philippians for wanting to give though they lacked opportunity. Our giving is always accepted based on what we have, not what we don’t. Thanks for stopping by, Diane – great to hear from you!

      Lester

  3. Ah that kind of thing happens to me all the time. Nearly died-did God save me? Got a burst of energy that made me volunteer all over the place- was that God working through me? Initially I’m always convinced it was, but the next day I’m never sure. Life is funny that way. As far as the money thing goes. I’ve had bad experiences with giving money toa church. I prefer to give it directly to a cause or a needy person than give it to a church…or at least my church

    • Hi G26.

      I’ll go ahead and give you the short answer: “Yes!” The Word says, “Every good and perfect gift [so that would be both gifts to us from others, and through us to others] comes from the Father of lights (James 1:17). So, any good action or deed done is precipitated by Him…that’s why Jesus said, “There is none good but One, and that’s God” (Matthew 19:17).

      You know, I’m quite sure God’s grace has saved all of us more times than we can count – whether we were aware of it at the moment or not. And, as far as money is concerned, it’s only a limited part of what we can give; such as our time, attention, our services, other material commodities, or even just a smile or kind word (at the proper time such things can do wonders and be much more valuable than cash). We are certainly responsible for being good stewards in our giving, as well as in everything else that’s in our power – but don’t give up entirely on charity to churches; there are still plenty of honest and conscientious ones around. As in all things, let the Holy Spirit lead you in your giving too, and with His input, you’ll never go wrong (John 5:30; 1 John 5:6). Thanks very much for stopping by, G…God bless you! 🙂

      Lester

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