When I began in ministry, it was with a raw passion for Jesus. My life had been turned around as a teenager, and I had been set free from the powers of darkness that had permeated every facet of my existence.
The Lord sent me to a hardcore spiritual boot camp for ministry training. I moved across the nation to attend a radical Bible college where people were healed regularly, prophecy flowed like a river, and deliverance was common. There were so many lessons learned, but one thing that I learned early on was the blessing of honor. God taught me to honor His presence, to honor His Word and to show honor to the mentors He had placed in my life.
I find myself reflecting upon these and other valuable life lessons from that season of my life. I see so many strongly gifted people as I work to raise up the next generation of revivalists. The Lord has really been dealing with me about honor, submission and purity. I have witnessed a wave of prophetic voices arising who seem to be determined to sow seeds of strife, division, confusion and rebellion into the hearts of God's people. In many ways, I believe that they do not realize what they are doing.
This troubling trend is due in part to several reasons:
1. A Lack of True Spiritual Fathering or Mothering and Accountability
We essentially have a generation of orphans in the natural and in the spirit. Many have simply had to find their own way and have never enjoyed a healthy relationship with a mentor, a father, a mother or an apostolic leader.
2. Unresolved Hurts and Wounds
Let's face reality: Life and ministry can be very messy! People make mistakes, plans fail, seasons shift, and many times we find our hearts suffering due to disappointment and hurt. I love what a pastor friend recently said to me about offense. He told me that offense is always an opportunity to identify what is lacking in our own heart. We must examine why we have allowed offense to take root and then pray a Psalm 51 prayer while doing a heart checkup. We need to invite the Holy Spirit to shine His spotlight on every hidden area of our heart and identify what needs to come into alignment with the character and nature of Jesus! Unresolved wounds will lead to unsteady pathways. Rejection and lack of affirmation will create an orphan heart that constantly lashes out at others.
This becomes exceptionally dangerous when a person, particularly a prophetic minister, uses the wound to justify rebellion. An unseasoned voice tends to view themselves as reformers, not properly recognizing that they may be rebels. The prophetic spirit by nature should not be politically correct. I am not advocating diluting the strength of a revelation or being disobedient to deliver the message. What I am strongly endorsing is ministering with integrity, wisdom and biblical submission.
Valid prophetic ministry should identify hidden demons, reveal traps and challenge God's people to live lives of intimacy with the Father. Rebuke and correction must flow from a place of love and maturity. This is where it gets messy. Many who are wounded are acting as seasoned apostolic voices, blasting and rebuking major leaders, proven ministries and creating division, all because they really need healing.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me" (Ps. 51:10, MEV).
3. False Spirits and Deception
The Bible says that the powers of hell will work overtime in an attempt to deceive even the elect! For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Mark 13:22).
Deceiving spirits come to mimic the anointing and presence of God. They bind, restrict and ultimately control. This is one of the reasons that the written Word of God needs to be the final authority in the life of a believer and in the body of Christ. A true understanding of who Jesus is should lead to a life of the supernatural with radical signs and wonders. It is imperative that each of us judge our spiritual lives by the Word. We also need to be teachable and allow others to speak into our lives. This is of particular importance in the lives of people with influence and leadership posts. Deception can begin and then take root because a minister refuses correction or instruction.
"Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is brutish" (Prov. 12:1, MEV).
Familiar spirits can come mimicking the anointing in order to deceive the people of God. The discerning of spirits (not a critical spirit) is vital to distinguish the authentic from the counterfeit. The enemy knows how to trick people. He can produce false signs and leadings. In many cases, a prophetic voice that started out right ends up wrong due to deception. One of Satan's minions comes as an angel of light.
"And no wonder! For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14, MEV).
Putting the Word first, praying in the Spirit and heeding the counsel of godly ministers with years of wisdom and fruit can help to avoid this trap. If the enemy can mislead a person with growing influence, then he can ultimately confuse and hinder many people.
4. Pride and Arrogance
Any person who has a position of leadership becomes a target for a prideful spirit. This can be a business leader, a community leader and certainly a spiritual leader. In the prophetic ministry, there is a great danger of listening to the accolades of men because of accurate prophetic utterance and revelation. Receiving confirmation that a word is on target is not a bad thing, but a prophetic leader must turn that attention back to the Author of the Word. We must recognize that we are merely messengers. Obviously, there is a price paid and character developed, which is very admirable, but humility is key to longevity. I have witnessed wonderful people who become seduced and intoxicated by promotion and advancement. This is true of any person who receives promotion from the Lord. I think that Jesus demonstrated the proper approach in Mark 1:35, "Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed."
In the midst of major ministry success, mass healings and glorious revival, Jesus withdrew! His compass was set in the presence of God. The voice of the Father was His "true north." This is the position that we must assume in times of promotion and favor. We must go back to the presence of God and allow His fire to refine our hearts and His love to direct our steps. Fleshly ambition fades in the presence of the Lord! He satisfies every need, dream and desire. Accurate prophetic utterances must point people back to Jesus! He is the ultimate dream, desire and mark of success. He alone deserves all the praise.
"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble'" (1 Pet. 5:5).
The bottom line is this: I believe that we are in the midst of a vital reform in the body of Christ. There is a fresh move of God springing forth as Revival Hubs rise up around the globe. Pockets of revival are bursting forth, hosting the presence of God and transforming lives with a book-of-Acts approach. A Davidic generation is arising and releasing fresh prophetic sounds that are unlocking and framing a new era. There is vast potential in the prophetic ministry but the stream must be purified.
As I spent time with the Lord at the end of last year, I felt that He prompted me that there was need for calibration and alignment in many of the rising prophetic voices. The body simply cannot and must not be fed contaminated words. This certainly is not limited to the prophetic office, but applies to all of the gifts. The apostolic ministry is coming forth with power and velocity, but it must have humility and integrity in place of ego and domination.
We will see those who refuse to heed to the voice of correction begin to experience diminished influence. Though they may have great prophetic gifting, their voice will be muted because they are not in alignment with the Father's heart nor in the season of God. Those whose ministries operate with a strong spirit of rebellion will have a decreased role in the coming move. Strong and mature apostolic ministries will not empower rebels and orphans to lead. They will instead invest in sons and daughters who have been forged in the fire and can go the distance!
Ryan LeStrange began in ministry after training under his spiritual father, Dr. Norvel Hayes. The apostolic call on his life led him to build multiple ministries in various geographical locations, the foremost being Ryan LeStrange Ministries. Ryan, a modern-day revivalist, moves strongly in the power of God, traveling the globe to ignite Revival Fires. His crusades and services are alive with Prophetic declaration, miracles and healings, and powerful preaching. Ryan is one of the senior leaders of New Breed Revival Network, a network of ministers committed to see Revival birthed in America and the nations. He is co-founder of awakeningtv.com, a media channel created to host revival inspired services, featuring ministers and messages both past and present. Ryan has authored several books and is presently working on several more. The Fire of Revival and Releasing the Prophetic have inspired believers to press for more of God. He is the founder and Apostle of Impact International Apostolic Fellowship, an organization created to father and network ministers around the world.
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