Sarah Young, the author of the blockbuster devotional “Jesus Calling,” met the real Jesus after a long battle with cancer. Before her passing, Young had spent years publishing what she claimed were direct dialogues with Jesus Christ. Using a first-person voice, she made it seem as if Jesus Himself were speaking directly to readers through the pages of her book.
This creative gambit was a marketing goldmine, captivating those who crave an intimate, almost conversational relationship with God. Mainstream Evangelicalism embraced her writings with open arms—even LifeWay, the retail arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, stocked its shelves with her books. Most notably, her devotional has mesmerized millions of Evangelical women across Christendom, becoming a staple in many Bible studies and personal devotions.
So as we cut through the fog, we’ll see that while here on Earth, Sarah Young did not truly hear Jesus calling, but on August 31, 2023, she very likely heard these dreaded words from Jesus: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
The first red flag is the brazen claim that she heard directly from Jesus. Yet, God has spoken to humanity already in His son Jesus, and it’s recorded in its finality in the 66 books of the Bible. The writer of Hebrews tells us that God spoke “in these last days” through His Son, and it didn’t include a footnote about a sequel. Sarah Young’s supposed revelations fly in the face of what sound biblical theology clearly teaches, that there is no new revelation after the closing of the canon of Scripture.
Next up is the question of authority. The Bible isn’t just a self-help book or something we read for enjoyment or entertainment—it’s the unchanging, infallible Word of God. It has survived thousands of years of scrutiny, skepticism, and outright attacks. When Young suggests that she has personal chats with Jesus, there’s no way to argue logically that His supposed words don’t carry the same weight as Scripture. She’s undermining the very foundation of Christian faith.
The typical behavior of people who claim to hear directly from God is that they will often act as if they’re on a higher spiritual plane, as though they’ve got a VIP pass to divine revelation. This special access, they imply, gives their words a degree of authority that the rest of us don’t have. But here’s where they go astray, Scripture tells us to be humble, to test all things, and to lean not on our own understanding but on the unchanging Word of God.
The Apostle Paul commended the Bereans for testing even his own teachings against the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). So if we’re told to scrutinize an apostle’s teachings, how much more should we evaluate the personal experiences of some random woman in modern times who claims she hears directly from God against the standard of truth, the Bible? It alone is our revelation of God, who He is, what He has done, and How we can know Him—no additions are needed.
Sure, people find her book comforting. But real comfort—lasting comfort—comes from the rock-solid promises found in God’s Word, not from sentimental feelings stirred up by a bestseller. Emotions change with the wind, but God’s Word is an unshakeable fortress that has stood the test of time.
It’s alarming how easily “Jesus Calling” has slipped into Christian homes and minds, revealing a glaring lack of discernment. The Bible tells us to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). So let’s test Sarah Young’s claims against the gold standard of Biblical truth, and guess what? They don’t measure up.
Absolutely, God is very much alive and active. His Holy Spirit guides us every day, but always in accordance with what’s already been revealed to us in Scripture. If you think you’re getting a direct message from God, your first stop should be the Bible. If the new “revelation” doesn’t line up with God’s established Word, then it’s not from Him. If it does line up, then it’s not new—it came from Scripture. It’s that simple.
The most genuinely loving act we can do for anyone is to point them to the Bible. It’s the ultimate source of truth, full stop. A healthy respect for God’s sovereignty demands an equally robust commitment to His Word. So, with both sorrow and iron-clad certainty, we’ve got to say it: Sarah Young did not hear Jesus calling.