From the desk of Steve Shultz:
This is one of the best "answers" to the questions we get asked all the time. Or should I say it like this: People say to us, "This person can't be a prophet because they made a mistake." And yet, few would argue that a newborn can prophesy with his or her first words or prophesy the first time without ever making a mistake. This goes for all the gifts God gives, by the way.
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The Prophetic Gifts: How Do They Work in Us?
This week we will study the prophetic gifts and how they work in us. When we do, many will realize that they have been working in them, but did not understand them. Even so, this is not a science but a relationship. We are listening to a Person, not just learning formulas and procedures.
Prophecy Works Through Friendship with God
In Amos 3:7 we are told, "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets." There is nowhere in the Law that the Lord obligated Himself to do this, but He does it because He does not want to do anything without sharing it with His friends, which is the basic essence of prophetic ministry – friendship with God. The prophets are those who have become so close to God that He does not want to do anything without sharing it with them.
Many question whether one must be called as a prophet or if it can be pursued. Both are true. Some were called before they were born, and they cannot do anything else. The prophetic is also something that the Scriptures exhort us to seek, so He would not tell us this if He would not let us achieve it. Because the real essence of the prophetic is friendship with God, this is something He wants all of His people to pursue. This is why Moses said that he would that all of God's people were prophets (see Numbers 11:29).
The prophets see what He is doing because they stay so close to His throne – they see and hear what is happening there. I have heard it often said that we should not seek the gifts, but the Giver. This sounds noble and wise, but it is contrary to the Scriptures, and it is the immature that follow such glib-sounding phrases that divert them from the truth of the Scriptures. We are exhorted in such places as I Corinthians 14:1 to: "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." Pursuing the gifts of the Spirit is a way that we pursue the Lord. The Father is seeking those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth, and the gifts of the Spirit are a way that we do this.
Of course, we pursue the Giver first, but this does not exclude pursing the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are not gifts in the sense that we think of gifts, like presents. A better translation could have been something like "tools of the Spirit." The gifts of the Spirit are not given as a reward, or to just bless us, but are given so that we can do His work. This work of the Lord is worship; it is our service, done because we love Him.
Can a True Prophetic Person Make Mistakes? What Happens if I Make a Mistake?
A basic work of the prophet is to speak for God, to say what He wants said in a situation. This is an ultimate trust that He will not give to the immature or the frivolous. What king would want someone representing him who was prone to add his own opinions? Therefore, anyone can be used to prophesy, but it takes a level of maturity, integrity, and trust from the Lord to be commissioned as a prophet. It is a trap for us to think that we have God's opinion about everything – that what we think is what He is thinking, and what we may feel about something is the way He is feeling about it. This will lead to prophesying from our own soul, at best.
This is what happened to the Apostle Peter right after he had received the greatest revelation – that Jesus was the Christ. Jesus commended Peter for hearing this straight from the Father and was told that it was upon that rock, the rock which is revelation that comes from the Father, that He would build His Church. Then He blessed Peter with the keys of the Kingdom. The very next words that came out of Peter's mouth were straight from Hell, and Jesus had to scold him by telling him to "Get behind me, satan!" (see Matthew 16:23).
So here we see how easy it is to hear straight from Heaven and the next thing can come straight from satan. This happened because of Peter's immaturity, and it happens to virtually every prophetically-gifted person when they are immature. If this is too discouraging to you, and you are too afraid of making such a mistake, you will never make it as a prophet. If you learn from your mistakes, you will learn to discern between the voice of God and your own soul, or the devil, but if you are too afraid of making a mistake, you will never learn.
Peter was prone to the biggest mistakes in the New Testament, but he was also used for some of the greatest works, which is why he was given the keys to the Kingdom. Peter was not afraid to use them, and he did open the door of faith to both the Jews and Gentiles, not to mention walking on water, raising the dead, and having such power that just being touched by his shadow brought healing.
Many want a formula for knowing God's voice so that they can avoid making mistakes, but the only formula I know is to mature in Christ. I would love to have the gift of being able to lay hands on people and have them mature instantly, but I have never seen that gift in Scripture. Maturity requires experience. It is also true that people often learn much faster from making mistakes, so if we want to mature fast, we need to embrace our mistakes as opportunities. This is not to imply that we should want to make mistakes, but we cannot be too afraid of them to step out in faith. If we are, we will never do anything, and we will never mature in the gifts.
I do not know of a single person I consider to have a prophetic gift of true New Testament stature who has not made major mistakes on their path to maturity. Once we are a commissioned prophet, we should not still be making these, but there is a difference between a calling and a commissioning to the ministry. Paul was called as an apostle many years before he received the commission at Antioch.
You are not a prophet when you are called as a prophet, but only when you have been commissioned. We have to "make our calling and election sure" (see 2 Peter 1:10), or we must pursue maturity in our calling until God sees that it is time for our commissioning. If you are wondering whether or not you have been commissioned yet, then you have not. When the real thing comes, you will not have any doubts about it. Until then, enjoy the opportunity to try your wings, and stay humble enough to embrace your mistakes and learn from them.
Note: Events are subject to change at the ministry's discretion. We suggest you always check first with the event contact listed here and/or directly visit their website for latest updates on each event.
February 18-19, 2011
2011 Power and Glory of the Kingdom
Speakers: Jeff Jansen, Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner, and Jason Hooper
Global Fire Ministries
325 Walla Court, Murfreesboro, TN 37128
February 25-27, 2011
Open Bible Fellowship
1439 E. 71st St, Tulsa, OK 74136
March 10-12, 2011
Regional Impact Conference
Speakers: Rick Joyner, Tom Hardiman and MaryAnne Hardiman
New Dawn Community Church
11030 Wiles Road, Coral Springs, FL 33076