I've learned a few lessons in my last 20 years of prophetic ministry. Here are some tips to help you avoid mistakes:
- Don't allow another person's insistence and impatience to force you to produce revelation. If you do, you will be offering the person your soulish speculation or personal opinion.
- Don't allow yourself to feel pressured into telling others everything you know about an issue. Be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You must believe God will promote you and raise you up, if that is His purpose for you.
- Don't spend time seeking God for an answer to another person's dilemma unless he has spent more time in prayer concerning the issue than you have. Another person will value what you have to say only if he has exhausted his own strength.
- Don't feel obligated to generate a prophetic answer for every question posed to you. You are not God. You know only as much as He tells you. Furthermore, you were not given a revelatory gift to be a "prophetic 7-Eleven convenience store." We are all called to know God and to listen to His voice.
- Don't be compelled to give a direct answer. In your dialogue with others, practice asking questions rather than making statements.
This exercise of restraint will develop your listening skills and cultivate the fruit of patience. It will also help foster humility in your soul. In this way, you will practice allowing your spirit to rule over your soul.
As time goes on, psychics and occult practitioners will become more visible. Increased instability in our country will create an increased demand to know what lies ahead. Consequently, people will look either to the occult or to God for answers.
We need to be careful not to look to prophetic individuals as non-Christians would look to psychics and astrologers. Remember, God is faithful to tell us what He wants us to know. We simply need to seek His face and listen to Him.
As the church, we need to listen to God individually and corporately. This is not to say we don't need prophetic gifts. I am convinced there will come a day when the "prophets of God" will openly challenge the "prophets of Satan," much as Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:1-40).
In fact, I believe the highest use of the prophetic gifts is outside the walls of the church. I am expecting prophetic evangelism to flourish in the near future as never before. When it does, God will pour out His power in unprecedented measure.
I look forward with you to that glorious day!
How to Respond to a Prophetic Word
If you receive a prophetic word, pray about it. Ask yourself: Does the prophetic word "feel" right to my spirit? Does it line up with Scripture?
If you receive a "directional word" (a prophetic word that gives some direction for your life such as a job, geographic move or whom to marry), consider the source. Is the individual spiritually mature?
Share the word with those who have authority in your life—your pastor, your home group leader, your spouse—and request their input. Get confirmations from independent sources as well as from the Lord. "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established" (2 Cor. 13:1).
Beware of a spirit of impatience, presumption and ambition, which will cause you to leap too quickly in response to the word. Wisdom will urge you to lay your word down on the altar. You will discover that when the time is right, God will give it back to you.
Sometimes you will see the opposite of the word begin to happen in your life. Remain aware, but turn what the enemy has meant for harm into good by discovering what still needs to die in your life (pride or ambition, for example).
Meanwhile, abide in God, remain attentive to the Holy Spirit and maintain a posture of prayer. Cultivate a mindset of internal stillness and rest. Remember, nothing is wrong with pondering a prophetic word or experience in your heart as Mary, the mother of Jesus did (Luke 2:19).
John Paul Jackson is the founder of Streams Ministries International, a prophetic teaching ministry headquartered in North Sutton, N.H. A popular teacher and conference speaker, Jackson travels around the world teaching on the art of hearing God, on dreams and visions, and on the realm of the supernatural. He is the author of several books, including Moments With God Dream Journal and Unmasking the Jezebel Spirit, both from Streams Ministries.
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