Prophecy is simply the divine word of the Lord. Since entering the new covenant through the blood of Jesus, prophetic utterances are made available to everyone, which can be wonderful and terrifying but Paul clarifies prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit to give strength, encouragement and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3). It sounds like a good thing, so why does it terrify so many in the church? Like many gifts of the Spirit, prophecy has been perverted. Some churches responded by throwing it out. Some churches use prophecy as a licence to call out the sin in others and it leave you feeling raw and exposed. In many cases, prophesy is used as a control tool to keep people adhering to the law by exposing their sin instead of expressing the love of God for them.
It’s not prophetic to know someone’s sin or shortcomings. We don’t need God to tell us about other people’s sins. Most of us are hound dogs for areas of weakness in others. It bothers me when I see prophetic declarations used to expose another person (and it really bothers me when I’m the one being exposed). Do you remember hearing, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? It is especially good practice when giving prophetic words.
The Lords’ thoughts toward us are as numerous as the grains of sand on the sea, and they are good thoughts. Jeremiah 31:3 says he draws us with loving-kindness. It’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance; no one has ever been shamed into the kingdom. Prophesy that exposes sin shames us but true prophesy from the mouth of the Lord is strengthening, encouraging and comforting.
In my latest personal interactions with the Lord, I only hear every kind of wonderful affirmation and encouragement. Not only does he love me, but he’s proud of me – in everything I’m doing. Finally I said to the Lord, “I can get a big head if you keep talking to me like this. Surely there are things you want me to change.” He said, “Not if you understood my love.” Hmmm. What does it mean to understand his love?
Love covers a multitude of sins. The Greek word, kalupto, means to hinder the knowledge of a thing; as if there is no sin. His love erases knowledge of sin; a full pardon. It’s why we have full access to the throne room of God. It’s why we can stand before the throne of judgement without condemnation. For God so loved the world (John 3:16). He loved the world. He covered the world with his love. In other words, in his presence, our sin, strongholds and shortcomings fall off.
How does this relate to prophetic declarations? The word of the Lord tells us who we are, in Christ. In Christ, we are made perfect forever (Hebrews 10:14). If prophecy does not express the Father’s love, then I doubt the source is from the Lord. We love because he first loved us; when we love, we work towards pleasing our lover. I’ve quoted Mike Bickle and it bears repeating, “Lovers do more than workers.”
It is not our job to cut others’ down to size. It is our job to encourage one another, bear with one another and love one another. Prophecy should bring another into the presence of the Lord, and there our heart is exposed by the Father and always in love. There is no argument or justification for sin when confronted with the love of the Lord. The arguments cease and the sin falls off and the person proclaims, “God is among you” (1 Corinthians 14:25) because he feels the love and God IS love.
Before the receiver of the prophetic word needs to judge the word, the speaker should first judge the word they are about to deliver. Will it strengthen him? Will it encourage her? Will it comfort her? If you answer yes to the questions, only then should you proceed with the word.
What’s an encouraging word or blessing you received from someone?