This is an excerpt from a chapter entitled
"The Gifts of the Spirit and Your Season"
Suffice it to say that God loves us so much that He wants us to have the right information in every season that we find ourselves in, and He has made multiple paths down which we can travel to get the information. If He can’t get the information to us directly, He can send the divinely inspired information through one of the three gifts of the Holy Spirit that I have described (word of wisdom, word of knowledge, prophecy). When a person speaks to us through one of these gifts, they are sharing divine insights from God about the future or the present, or they are sharing some special insight into something we may be facing.
If we look at 2 Kings Chapter 6, Elisha had insight that his servant didn’t have. The prophet—or the “seer” as some were called in that day—could see things that others can’t see. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit, through the gifts of the Spirit, allows other people to see pertinent things, helpful things about our season, about our “Next” that we can’t see.
I want to caveat this by saying that with every true gift there is counterfeit. The Bible says that there are men who “prophesy out of their own hearts.” (Ezek 13:12, Jer 23:16) These people, perhaps even well-meaning, have not heard the deep things of God from the Holy Spirit. They have heard something out of their own hearts. There are others that the Bible says utter (speak) lies Ezek 13:9.
The best defense against these erroneous voices is to study the Bible to show yourself approved, rightfully and correctly dividing the truths of the Bible (2 Tim 2:15), and to cultivate your spiritual ear through intimate fellowship with God through the Holy Ghost.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:1 (NLT), “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” As you cultivate your spiritual ear, you will be able to sense in your spirit whether what you’re hearing is really from the Spirit of God. Romans 8:16 calls this process “bearing witness.” The Holy Spirit inside of you will give you peace, a sense of confirmation that what you are hearing is from God. We should always proceed cautiously, when the peace of God is absent or when the inner confirmation/witness from the Holy Spirit is missing.
Another test of any prophetic word given to you is whether it came to pass or not. God knows the future perfectly. He knows the end from the beginning. Any person who claims to be sharing a word from God that doesn’t come to pass has not heard from God and is automatically suspect. There are legitimate manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit still in operation today. These gifts have proved valuable many times in my life.
Two of my previous pastors, Dr. Michael Freeman and Pastor Sean Moore, seek God each year for “the Word of the Lord” for their congregation. I can say that I have been blessed every time I have embraced “the Word of the Lord” and used it to guide my actions in a specific season. You may ask “Why would you put so much stock in the prophetic word to the point of basing major life decisions on it?” Glad you asked.
In 2 Chron 20:20 (NKJV) it says, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” The purpose of the prophet is to help us prosper. The true prophet shares the inside information about the future that the Holy Spirit has obtained from the deep things of God, to give us an advantage in the season that we are in. A prophetic word is the perfect help at a time when we are trying to determine what “Next” step to take.
Again, many times in my life I have been able to say that the inside information relayed to me by a prophet has helped my life. I am not one to chase prophets or prophetic words. I focus on cultivating my relationship with God, and I have come to rely on what I hear from God and see in His Word above other sources. However, none of us hears perfectly from God. We can all miss His words or have blind spots. I have found it is at those times that God in His mercy sends prophets to me.
Recently I was in a desperate search for direction from God. I was led to a church that I had never visited before. Preaching there was a Nigerian Bishop, Bishop Emmanuel Odjighoro, whom I had never seen before or heard of. He began flowing in the prophetic. For illustration, I want to share some of what he said. I was searching for direction, clarity, I was battling despair and confusion about future direction, and these are his words, which I believe were divinely inspired by the Holy Ghost for me in the season that I was in:
- That’s why God did not give Abraham the map to the land of Canaan, God told him, arise and go to the land I will show you, you need to trust me enough, to begin to pack up in Haran, and take the step to leave Haran. And if they ask “Where are you going?” Tell them “I don’t actually know where I am going, but God said I should move out of Haran, and He will show me. Where I am going is in the hands of God.”
- You need to take the first step. I have the roadmap in my hand. I’m going to lead you. I’m not giving you the map so you can start leading yourself. I want you to trust me every day. I want you to follow me…I will lead you to the place that I want you to go, to the place of your resources, to the place of your provision.
- Lift up your voice, ask God for clarity of His voice, tell Him you are willing to follow Him, ask that He just leads you and tells you what to do, He will visit you afresh.
- To every weak person in the house, let there be strength, to every discouraged person, let there be courage, to everyone who is confused, let there be soundness of mind, In the mighty name of Jesus, for the hopeless, let there come a river of fresh hope, in the mighty name of Jesus.
- God’s plan, God’s program for your life is being executed by the power of the Holy Spirit, His counsel will establish you, will set your feet going on the Rock, on the mountaintop to lay hold of victories and achievements that were not experienced yesterday. Our God is alive and because He lives, you will live also.
It would take too much detail to share why these words were so powerful for me and why they were such a confirmation for me about the things I was considering. However, I wanted to share them because they illustrate so much of what I have been saying in this book.
Sometimes God tells us to “go,” and He doesn’t explain why, or where, or how long to stay. In addition, He sometimes doesn’t give us the map of where we are going “so that we can’t start leading ourselves.” Often God requires a step of faith first before He releases details. You will never be successful in navigating the seasons of your life if you can’t trust God enough to follow Him in the seasons of your life when He directs you in this way.
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