1 Corinthians 13:1, 2 clues us in to one of the major reasons prophecy can go awry:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and do not have love, I am like sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and do not have love, I am nothing.
It’s a relatively simple self-check: Is what I am giving forth exhibiting God’s love? If not, the word doesn’t produce the fruit it should. Notice that these two verses are not speaking of counterfeit prophetic gifts. They are written to those who really do have something from the Lord to share.
Many people are releasing prophetic revelation these days. And that’s as it should be, for on the Day of Pentecost, Peter said,
But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” — Acts 2:16-18
We are deeper into the last days than the Church was at the time of that first outpouring. We should expect many people to receive revelation. It has been promised.
Yet, some of the words currently being shared cause fear or confusion in the Body of Christ. It is hard to sift through it all and know who or how much to believe! Part of the problem is that prophets are not always applying the love filter. There are other issues to consider as well, but measuring prophecy with the litmus test of love is a good place to start.
Here’s a checklist to help you discern whether your prophetic revelation is ready to release to others:
Will my word create fear or a godly response?
Sometimes the revelation itself is accurate, but how we project it produces a negative result in people. In the Bible, even when the prophets spoke of dire things coming upon the people of God, there was a redemptive message attached: “Repent and you won’t have to go through this,” or, “I will be with you during it all, and I will bring you out into a better place,” or, “I will keep you safe through the calamity.” God does not give a prophetic word which creates hopelessness in His people.
Is my prophetic word colored by a personal ax I have to grind?
If I am upset or bitter in my heart toward the person, church, leaders, or group I am addressing, the prophetic words I give to them are going to be tainted. It’s hard to pass the love test when we’re judgy or angry toward the people we are prophesying to. That attitude will leak out and either wound or infect our listeners.
Is my prophetic word mixed with my opinion?
Political leanings, doctrinal persuasions, and personal desires can really mess with us. It’s amazing what we can come up with as “God said,” based on opinions or how we hope something will turn out. Furthermore, our opinions sometimes end up squashing fellow believers.
Am I putting the best interests of others ahead of myself when I prophesy?
This covers a lot of territory. Romans 12:10 tells us, “Be kindly affectionate toward each other with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.” Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through strife [some translations say ‘selfish ambition’] or vanity, but in lowliness of mind, let each of you esteem others better than yourself.”
Is it all about me having the most sensational word out there? Getting the “likes” or followers? Being able to say, “I had that word first?” Do I get pushy about giving a word? Do I interrupt the flow of my local church service to share my revelation? None of these behaviors pass the love test.
Looking at how our prophetic words measure on the love meter is a good place to begin growing in greater accuracy and effectiveness. We will look at some other factors in coming posts.
The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy,
by Lee Ann Rubsam