Are we putting words in God's mouth?

In the book of Jeremiah, the people of Israel were warned about the people who were preaching and attributing their words to the Lord, claiming to be prophets of God. The only thing was… they weren’t. They were preaching a false Gospel and yet many believed them and their claims.

Of course it’s easy to write this off as a story from the Bible and allow the implications to be lost on us. But so often, we’re confronted with words under the guise of “truth” that are actually false. Even more scary is the fact that we might be preaching a false truth to ourselves, attributing words to the Lord when they’re not.

It can be difficult to discern the leading of the Spirit from our own personal desires, especially when it is a decision concerning something that isn’t as black and white as murder or stealing. What about choosing between two life directions that are both good? What about deciding whether or not to get together or break up with someone? Those questions are a little more difficult to traverse.

I’ve heard people use the “God told me to” card to pursue someone they liked and then a few months later, use the same play to break up with them. I’m guessing they misheard the Lord on at least one of those accounts. Especially in communities of faith where words from the Lord are expected, desired and accepted, it can be tempting to let our minds wonder and label whatever pops in our head first, “a word from the Lord.” How often do we say, "I feel like God is telling me ______" when it's actually our fear or our desires driving our decisions?

To be clear, I believe that God speaks through His word, through prayer, through experiences and through other believers. I believe that He puts people in our lives to speak life and bring encouragement. I believe that He provides divine wisdom through Godly council. I believe that words from the Lord are a very real and good thing in our Christian walk. I simply want to make sure that before we speak, we’re seeking God and discerning His words from our own.