As part of a wonderful community of believers in England, I showed up to Sunday morning church meetings where a line of people waited to share the truth that God had given them. For some, this meant describing a picture they envisioned, for others it meant reading a passage of scripture, for other still, it was a story of God’s grace in their lives. Sometimes the messages were for specific individuals, the whole church, or even a certain cross-section of the body. Before speaking, individuals had to receive approval from the church elders.
After awhile, I began to wonder if this practice was merely a charade. Having a ‘word’ to share was cool and it seemed like people were just making things up that sounded good. Whether or not they had heard this from God, I could not say. Everything the people said came from the Bible and made sense.
Even while judging the character of others, I made up several ‘words’ myself. Since I was too scared to share them, no one ever knew that I was cool too.
This naïve reaction was challenged one spring night when the college age young adults gathered for a weekly meeting. That night, one of the church elders was going to show us how to encourage each other through the gift of prophecy. In my mind, prophecy was one thing only: predicting the future. The book of revelation had been written with a warning not to add to the prophecy of the book. I did not plan to bring all those curses upon myself by trying to predict the future or adding to the words of God.
I didn’t understand that while prophecy is speaking truth from God, it finds its value in application Biblical principles to specific situations in a person’s life. It does not seek to add to the truth, but to apply the truth to the life of an individual or church. Even though it is not infallible like the Scripture, it requires attention to the voice of God, humility, and the boldness to share the message. The receiver should consider with prayer whether the prophecy lines up with the truth of Scripture and encourages them toward understanding God. I don’t know if this was explained then, but most of us had never used the gift of prophecy to encourage someone else, so an elder of the church was going to walk us through the steps.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish