Since the prophetic found its way into my last blog post, I thought I should provide my readers with a scriptural explanation of what God was doing through me in that story. I realize that many of my readers are not familiar with the concept of prophecy, whether Christian or non-Christian. Though it seems uncommon, it is far more normal and apparent in the church today than you might think. I understand that this side of Christianity has entire books written about it, but I am going to attempt to give a brief, yet satisfying summary of my studies and experience with this gift.
Holy Spirit is the promised gift from the Father to all believers. He is literally God’s Spirit within a person. He has many roles and purposes on the earth today, some of them including: conviction, comfort, conversion, and sanctification. The role that I will focus on in this article is His ability to empower the believer. Before the Disciples could change the world, they needed an encounter with Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus ordered them, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) Jesus didn’t even want them to go out preaching or doing any ministry until they had received the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the mission that Jesus gives all his believers is impossible on our own strength. Proper ministry is an impossible task that can only be accomplished with the help of God. Every Christian is meant to represent Christ in our everyday lives. But this is impossible to do in our sinful nature. However, the Holy Spirit enables and transforms the Christian to accurately portray God’s likeness. As Paul writes, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV). Understanding our identity in Christ and our role in this world makes it easier to allow the Holy Spirit to amplify His presence in our lives.
Holy Spirit carries with him many spiritual gifts for believers to minister in. Nine gifts are highlighted in 1 Corinthians 12: wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, discernment, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and of course prophecy. All of these gifts are meant to coincide with the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Without accompanying the Spirit’s power with the Spirit’s fruit in character, things can get weird.
So what is prophecy? To put it in simple terms, prophecy is the gift where God speaks through a vessel to another person or persons. In the Old Testament we see prophecy all over the place. Through this gift of prophecy, Samuel anointed David the King of Israel, Isaiah predicted the coming of the Messiah, and Jeremiah warned of Babylonian captivity. It is important to recognize the difference between the Old Testament prophet and the New Testament prophet. One main difference has to do with the fact that the Old Testament was a time of law and judgment, while now is the time of grace. Because of Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, prophecy is used only to build up, strengthen, and encourage people of the Church (1 Corinthians 14:3). Prophetic words can still be used to address someone’s problems or sins but the word is spoken through love, humility, and with a transformative answer. A prophetic word is never meant to cause fear, anxiety, guilt, or depression. Instead it is to be an accurate reflection of God’s love for the individual and His hope for their lives.
A prophetic word can be expressed in many ways. God likes to get creative with the way He speaks to people. A prophet can see a mental picture, an open vision, they can hear a word or phrase, or they can just get a subtle impression leading them to a conclusion. I have witnessed firsthand some amazing moments where God used me, or one of my friends to prophesy to someone. It is amazing. There’s something so powerful about seeing God speak to a person. The receiver is immediately filled with awe and a new awareness of God’s love for them. When a stranger tells you something that only you and God know, it proves that God is real and it proves that he cares about you.
Here’s my favorite part about this gift. I believe that all Christians can operate in this gifting. If you want to be used in this gift, just ask God for it. That’s why Paul writes, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1). Paul wrote that we should eagerly desire the gift of prophecy. Furthermore, Moses also desired this reality when he said, “I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29). Due to these two credible men of God, I think it’s safe to assume that God even desires for all of his people to prophesy! If that’s the case, then the ball is in our court. It’s time for us to step out in faith and start loving people and praying for them in this powerful way.
Prophecy is simple. It’s just God speaking to you and then you open your mouth and repeat it. That’s it. It’s nothing weird or out of the ordinary. I know a lot of you reading this feel like God doesn’t speak to you anyway. But I assure you that if you’re a Christian, He does. It all comes down to intimacy. The more time you spend praying with God, reading the Word, and worshiping, the more aware of His voice you will become. God can do whatever He wants, but I wouldn’t expect to hear his voice clearly if I only prayed every once in a while or if I only opened my Bible when I’m at church. Remember God wants a relationship, not religion.
Obviously there is much, much, much more to be said about this topic. I had to keep this post broad and brief for the sake of your time and attention span. If anyone has any questions regarding this subject please contact me. E-mail me, Facebook message me, text me. I would love to talk about it :)
Peace and love.