Have you noticed that people have a tendency under pressure to go to extremes?
You have probably noticed it with healing, the belief that God heals all, to the sad position of believing that God doesn’t do that kind of thing nowadays. The same can be said of prophecy, the gifts of the Spirit, faith, dreams and visions, and indeed about God Himself.
The area that particularly saddens me is where, not understanding the value of doctrine or theology, the prophetic person then runs with whatever comes to mind and then finds single verses here and there to justify their particular stance.
Depending on how it is dealt with, such practice can unfortunately lead the Church into confusion, indifference, disillusionment and heartache. Promises that are ‘not really promises’ can sometimes be embraced with false hope for many years. That is why integrity with what God has said is really important. People trust what the prophetic person is saying.
Theology and doctrine are really important – the Bible is inspired in a way that even the most anointed prophet is not. I don’t want to give you examples of the gross error I have heard and read over the years from some of the most prominent prophetic ministries, but I do want to say something positive; it doesn’t have to be what you are like! You can be different. Prophet Daniel was found to have an excellent spirit, and you can too.
One of the things I have noticed over the years in Church life is a changing emphasis in the prophetic with a swing from focusing on the Cross of Christ, to the Resurrection of Christ. What folks needed to grasp, as may anyone reading this, is that the acceptable middle ground is the law fulfilling life of Christ which is the forgiveness of our sin, the removal of our guilt, and more gloriously, the imputation of Christ’s very own righteousness to us. God freely forgives us and removes our uncleanness. The awesome truth is that God does not love us because Jesus died for us, but more soberly, God so loved us, that Jesus died for us. No questions asked, obedient even unto death on the Cross. That is breath-taking.
There is a legalism built in us in regard to repentance that if we are not feeling guilty and shameful then we are not truly right with God. No guilt and no shame is the good news of the gospel. There is a difference between conviction and guilt for the Christian. All of this is not just the remit of pastoral or apostolic ministry; it is at the very heart of what the prophetic ministry at its core is all about.
Prophetic ministry making these declarations and attending to these truths brings staggering hope to those who have given up, need courage or are returning to a renewed passion for Christ. The Church has a real enemy who accuses relentlessly, day after day. The principle work of the enemy is not temptation but accusation; he wants to paralyse us with guilt and shame. That’s where you come in, to proclaim freedom to the captive.
Don’t reduce your theology and your prophetic emphasis to just the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Yes, I understand your hesitation, it is all about the Cross, but the truth is that Christ Himself is central to the message of the Cross, not the crucifixion itself. We are saved by Christ who fulfilled the law on our behalf, died for us and rose again.
Our prayer meetings can often focus on the Cross, not the risen Saviour who stands amongst us. Our prophetic ministry focuses on bigger issues than we sometimes imagine, and God would rather (in my opinion) have us learning to listen to the questions of the world, and the answers of the Word.
No matter where we look in the Bible, it tells one story, namely Christ, who saves, redeems and justifies. Don’t be distracted into imitating other ministries whose emphasis is on the firework factor (Woo and Ahh!!) everything is about the supremacy of Christ in all things.
We are here for His glory alone. God loves His own glory, and is exceedingly jealous for it. He delights in His own glory, but be careful that we don’t find ourselves arguing for the glory of God in an unglorious manner!
Let your extreme be that in your prophetic ministry, and in the lives of your hearers, that you want to see God glorified in all things!