The Purpose of Prophecy
When we operate in prophecy as a gift of the Holy Spirit, our words are intended to bring comfort and encouragement to the body of Christ.
But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men…he who prophesies edifies the church.
1 Cor. 14:3-4
The gift of prophecy may require us to develop our ability to see in the spirit before it will function properly. God can send us messages for others in the form of visions, but if we aren’t able to see them, we can’t give them to the people they’re intended for. The revelation we receive and the power to bring to pass the words we speak are dependent upon God. The ability to see the revelation He sends, and the ability to correctly interpret and deliver it depends upon us.
The danger in receiving inside information from God about others is that the information may be used against them for personal reasons. God may disclose the dark secrets of a person’s life to any of us. A person with a desire to tarnish another’s reputation can easily use prophetic revelation to “correct” them simply to cause them shame and humiliation. Before we consider dragging someone’s dirty laundry out in the open for public scrutiny, we might ask ourselves how we would feel if we were the one in the hot seat. Prophetic revelation, if it is not used wisely has as much potential to do harm as good.
Since there is no condemnation in Christ (Rom 8:1), any activity that leads to condemnation is counter to the character of Christ’s ministry and it should be avoided. The purpose of prophecy is to encourage and exhort. The goal is not to leave a person feeling condemned, but to leave them feeling encouraged. If God reveals a person’s sin, we must find a way to handle that revelation in a way that allows us to give them a word that will encourage them.
When God shows us a person’s sin, He is revealing something about their character. What He reveals in this case is not how He intends for them to live; it is how they happen to be living at the moment. The goal of prophecy is not to expose sin but to inspire righteousness, not to uncover nakedness, but to further clothe with the righteous from the Father. Because the power of the prophetic word is its ability to reveal the future, we must reveal to them the person they will become, and not the person they are today.
If God shows you a vision of a man and his wife, and as the vision progresses a woman appears who seduces the man into having an adulterous affair, we must consider the damage that could be done by accusing him of having an affair, even if the accusation turns out to be true. Prophesying the obvious plans of Satan to destroy his marriage isn’t going help him out of the situation he’s in. When we fail, it is because we have allowed the enemy to lead us from the path God has prepared for us (see Jas 1:13). The prophetic word is intended to shine a light upon that path. Knowing that God has prepared a path and a destiny of righteousness for everyone, we must prophesy from the person’s divinely ordained destiny, and not their failures. If God shows you a man who is having an affair, you must prophesy that God designed him to be a faithful and loving husband who loves his wife as Christ loves the church. When He shows you images portraying addiction, you have a choice: Do you reveal their addiction and warn them that it displeases God (as if they didn’t already know) or do you declare that God’s desire is for them to be a pillar of society and a role model for others? The first option will leave them feeling condemned and hopeless, while the second will leave them feeling encouraged. Prophecy is a powerful gift when we use it the way it is intended to be used.
This is an excerpt from the book Seeing in the Spirit Made Simple.
You have summed up a great deal in relatively few words. Your message is not only instructive, but also edifying – it is a great encouragement of what we can look forward to doing, and learning to do…as our Lord wants, in these times.
What can I do to receive this prophetic gift from the Lord? I am praying for order and healing in my own life. My heart’s desire is to speak words of knowledge and to be used by God to prophesy
Good news – you can begin right away! You can speak Words of Knowledge as they come through the Holy Spirit; your ability to say what God wants to say, including words to edify, comfort and exhort – in the Spirit of Christ – is something you can already do, and I have no doubt that many are hungry for the encouragement, comfort and edification that can come through you now.
Please encourage, edify, comfort, exhort – in the Spirit of Christ – starting now.
When you begin to do this, it’ll be interesting to learn what Words of Knowledge may come…I hope you will let us know.
When you edify, comfort, and exhort – you will see faces light up, encouraged in Christ. I hope you’ll let us know about this, too. It’s amazing and wonderful to participate in such encouragement – and to witness some of the results.
It has been my experience that God reveals that which he intends to heal. He does not reveal someone’s pain only to ignore it. He does not reveal a person’s struggles only to torment them or condemn. God reveals that which he intends to heal. So when I receive a word of knowledge about someone’s hurt or need I rejoice because I know healing is on the way. The prophetic works the same way.
I am greatly edified by your comment. Saying it that way doesn’t convey the feeling, but it sure is accurate…and a valuable thing. Thanks!