God is never going to tell you something in your mind that would cause you to do something that’s un-Christlike. If it is not like Jesus, believe me, you didn’t get the idea from God.
What is Jesus like? James 3:14-17 gives us some specifics that are a good measure for testing an idea: “If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition … such ‘wisdom’ is of the devil. The wisdom that comes from God is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial and sincere” (NIV).
First of all, this passage tells us two things God’s wisdom is not. It will not be motivated by bitter envy or selfish ambition.
These verses instead give seven things to test if an idea that comes into your mind is from God:
- Is it pure? If any thought is impure, God didn’t give it to you.
- Is it peace-loving? If the idea is from God, it will promote harmony and reconciliation, not conflict.
- Is it considerate? Any idea that would hurt or harm someone, even though it may benefit you, is not from God because he cares about the effect it might have on others.
- Is it submissive? If you get an idea from God, you must be open to having it tested by other people, asking them what they think about it. If you are hesitant and don’t feel like letting other people test the idea, then it didn’t come from God because it isn’t leading you to submit to others’ feedback.
- Is it full of mercy? An impression from God will make you more gracious and forgiving. It won’t make you judgmental or critical.
- Is it impartial and sincere? When you get an idea that’s from God, you don’t use it to manipulate people to get your own way.