There’s a genre in Christian publishing in which authors write from God’s point of view. Sarah Young’s bestseller, “Jesus Calling,” is one of those books, with a twist. Young believes she writes the very words of God.
“I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day,” Young explains in her 2004 devotional debut. So she decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down her “personal messages from God.”
Young admits her writings are not “inspired as Scripture is,” and that, “the Bible is, of course, the only inerrant Word of God.” However, it seems she believes her messages are better, for they address the felt needs of Christians who are “searching for a deeper experience of Jesus’ Presence and Peace.”
Since its publication, “Jesus Calling” has appeared on all of the major bestseller lists. According to the publisher, Thomas Nelson, the Jesus Calling brand line has surpassed 35 million units sold.
I can understand its popularity. If God actually spoke to someone, I would want to know what he said. But is Young’s book a reliable source? Does God speak to people today?
John Piper gives good insight in an article titled, “The Morning I Heard the Voice of God.” Commenting on an article published in “Christianity Today,” written by a professor at a well-known Christian university, who also claims to have heard the voice of God, Piper states, “What’s sad is that it really does give the impression that extra-biblical communication with God is surpassingly wonderful and faith-deepening. I grieve at what is being communicated here. The great need of our time is for people to experience the living reality of God by hearing his word personally and transformingly in Scripture.”
“Jesus Calling” raised some troubling questions for me: Should I be longing for more than the Bible? Is the Bible really enough? Am I missing out on a deeper experience of Jesus’ presence and peace?
So, I asked God, and He answered me through his Word: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And in Psalm 19:7: “The law of the Lord is perfect.” Nothing needs to be added. Every word is what God has to say to us personally on any given day.
I agree with the psalmist who said, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:103-105). I know of nothing better than that.
Justin Peters sums it up well in his sermon titled, “How To Know the Voice of God,” at GTY.org: “If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear God speak audibly, read it out loud.”
- Kathy Hardee is a wife, mother, grandmother, dog walker, writer, and worshipper of the one true God.