Recently, the Lord spoke to me, “Lean not on the imaginations of your own heart.” It was a restating of Proverbs 3:5, “… Lean not on your own understanding.” This was a word for me personally concerning a specific situation, but I think it can also apply in a general way to any of us who hear God’s voice and/or see visions. We should take time to discern whether we are truly hearing and seeing from the Lord, or whether our own imaginations are tainting our revelation.
During the months leading up to the Presidential election, and since then, we encountered many prophetic people with conflicting assertions about what the future held and still holds:
- President Obama would not finish his term in office. / President Obama would seize a third term for himself.
- There would be no election. / There would be an election.
- Hillary Clinton would win. / Donald Trump would win.
- The election would be a squeaker. / The election would be a landslide.
- There would be martial law, and on and on.
Obviously, some of the dreams, visions, and “the Lord told me” statements were blatantly false. They came from the imaginations of the prophetic people’s own hearts. Confusion and division within the Body of Christ resulted, as did much skepticism about prophecy in general, which is a terrible shame.
Was all of this coming from false prophets? Not necessarily. Immaturity is a possible factor. Some of the people releasing supposed revelation, especially of a sensational nature, simply succumbed to a desire for fame. The possibility of being heard by the world through YouTube and other social media platforms brings with it huge temptations for the ego.
Some, I believe, received information which was meant as a call to prayer, so that the things they were seeing could be prevented from happening. That wasn’t always clearly understood or stated.
Some, no doubt, experienced dreams or visions fed mostly by their own biases and fears, which in turn bred fear in those who listened to them. There tends to be a lot of fear-prophesying going around.
Before we are too harsh in our judgments, we need to realize that we’re all susceptible to inaccurate revelation based on our inner issues. It’s good to ask ourselves, “How can I avoid making the same kinds of mistakes?”
For most of us, when we receive a word or vision, it is wisest to sit on it for a while, letting it simmer in our hearts. The simmering helps us to discern between what is a product of our own souls and what is genuinely from the Lord. While we keep it between us and Him, we continue to inquire for a fuller understanding of what He is revealing. He often discloses what He wants to say in pieces. Many is the time in my past, when I got excited about something I was hearing from the Lord and released it too soon, only to have the Lord tell me more afterwards, which rounded out or clarified the original word. My revelation would have been far more beneficial to others if I had waited on the Lord for the fullness of it.
We should also be aware that most of what we hear is not even meant for public release. Its purpose is for prayer. While encouraging and assisting the Church through prophecy is very important, it is equally true that much of what we receive is supposed to stay a secret between God and us. It is given so that we can pray it back to Him.
In our next post, we’ll talk about a few specific areas where we can learn to navigate through imaginations to the accurate word of the Lord.