Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Moving Into the Prophetic
In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul gave a listing of spiritual gifts distributed among members of a fellowship as the Holy Spirit might determine (faith, miracles, healing, prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, tongues and interpretation, discernment of spirits}. They were and are God given and cannot be drummed up by simple desire and application, no matter how earnest.
In their zeal to have manifestation of God's power in their midst the Corinthians were tripping over themselves in disorder looking for opportunities to serve and to be seen serving in the perceived gift or gifts. Paul admonished them to do things decently and in order. He made a suggestion that for general blessing of the gathering nothing would prove more beneficial than the prophetic. He told them to covet the "best gift".
He then went on to stipulate that none of these gifts could surpass the simple blessing of love and compassion of the Godly sort (1 Corinthians 13)
It troubles me that we now see gatherings where the intention is to "train" all those attending in prophecy. As if a body of knowledge and technique must be crammed into the cranium. But gifts are GIVEN! They may be refined with ways and means and testimony and example from mentors. BUT THEY ARE GIVEN.
At such conferences and seminars teaching is also offered as to how to "position" oneself to receive his/her prophecy. If a matter has been prophesied it will come to pass unless blocked by disobedience or distraction. One must keep clean of known areas of sin; keeping short accounts in prayer and repentance; thanking the Lord in advance for the blessing, challenge or assignment. The rest is left up to God and not technique. I have often questioned whether Christ had to position Himself in order to see the Messianic prophecies fulfilled in His earth walk.
There is another related mis-fire in the prophetic experience going by the name of "prophetic evangelism". The intending witness will be given supernaturally certain facts about the person being addressed. He will quietly and confidentially release this information with the intention of causing his listener to be "wowed" into accepting that his message is from God and that the testimony of salvation/ healing/ sanctification is legitimate. In the vernacular it is referred to as "reading his mail". I think that most of such should be left to the traveling carnival. There may be isolated exceptional instances, but I do not see it as a regular practice of ministry. God prepares the heart. The witness simply presents the germinating seed of the Word. New life is begotten not persuaded.
The Holy Spirit operates in love, sincerity and truth. So should any believer intending to pass along pearls of edification, exhortation, comfort or rebuke.