Thus saith the Lord
Coming from a Pentecostal/charismatic background I have always been aware of the emphasis on spiritual gifts and hearing God speak. In fact I have at times in the past been recognised for carrying a prophetic gifting and being able to speak and reveal accurate Words of the Lord. Being excited at both the giving and receiving of words of knowledge and wisdom, and speaking destiny over people’s lives. I have also been aware how easy it is to use specific phrases to give these words extra weight and make it very difficult for people to judge them and weigh them up. These words then become like a binding factor on people’s lives and they can spend their entire lives in pursuit of seeing a fulfilment to the prophetic word given. Throw in a good old Pentecostal ‘thus saith the Lord’ or a more modern version ‘God is saying’ or ‘I believe God is asking you to…’ and there is no doubt that what is being spoken is straight from the mouth of the Father. Much of what has been the prophetic movement has been controlling and manipulative. Trying to get an individual to see things a certain way. Piling pressure on to see this happen in their lives or they are missing the mark, walking in disobedience to the plans of God. These phrases have been thrown at me a few times, from being told that God wanted me to marry a certain girl by an elder of a church (I didn’t want to and didn’t. This caused me to have to leave that church.), to being given words about how to improve my ministry and where to take the church I was pastoring. These phrases are useful when we want to leave somewhere- God has told us to move on, to starting a ministry- God has called me to do such and such. I have heard them used in prayers when someone wants to make a point, and given strange voices when publicly shared with some-one’s personal good idea. I felt compelled to say it, couldn’t stop myself if I wanted to, I was taken over and He moved my lips. I am not just throwing blame at what has been aimed at me I am taking blame for times I have used the weight of those words to get MY IDEA, MY VISION, MY THOUGHT above all others. I believe in the prophetic, but I also believe it is time for a new day. It is I believe less about what comes out of my mouth and more about what we see, hear all around us at all times. Equipping people to know God in all spheres of life. Sharing stuff but giving freedom to ignore without being rejected.
The phrase personal prophecy is not found in the Bible. In my experience the most exciting words of knowledge and wisdom have not come about in prophetic conferences but in day to day conversation. With the woman at the well Jesus never said, ‘I believe God wants to reveal this to you’ He just chatted. As He chatted truth was revealed. This holy chat worked at the heart of the woman without having to use funny voices, back-up phrases or God’s name in any way as force. It just happened. Jesus never told her what to do with the ‘Word’, He chatted. He walked on. She went on. No pressure, no control, no manipulation. Stuff happened in the everyday life. I think many of us have missed God speaking in the natural because we are waiting for the supernatural moments. The anointing. The prophet to come to town. The opinion of the oracle. The prophetic movement almost has to get rid of the prophets to hear again. The prophets need to become invisible as they were called to be (foundational ministry? Since when have we bought a building because we loved the look and sound of the foundations? This is the sound of the underground). My Word is not your bond!!!
Do As You Do
If Elisha had listened to the word of the prophet and the encouragement of the sons of the prophets he would have missed out big time. At each stage of Elijah’s final journey he would say to Elisha ‘stay here.’ The sons would join in, ‘yeah, stay here with us.’ Elisha stayed deaf to the pleas and continued on. This happened numerous times but Elisha chose his own path. He made his own decisions, and in the end there was incredible blessing and reward. Whatever we hear we have to chose our own path in life. Yes we listen to advice, but no one has the power or authority to dictate our pathway to us. We are free to chose right or left. God told Elijah up the mountain to do A, B, C. Elijah only did C, and even that was almost half hearted. What was God’s reaction to such disobedience? He gave Him a whirlwind ride to heaven. The prophet Agabus says to Paul, ‘you carry on and you will be bound like this in chains.’ The other leaders and the crowd urge him not to go. This cannot be God’s will, God has told you not to go. Paul went anyway. He ended up in prison. Punishment for not listening to the prophet. God didn’t seem to think so, and neither did Paul. Interesting that although Agabus shared what he thought he never tried to stop Paul. There was still choice in his eyes. There must always be choice, and 98% of the time there is not a wrong choice.
Let the Chains come off
If I listened and followed everything that God had supposedly said to me I would be in many countries, in many churches, doing different ministries, married to different people, be rich, be speaking to parliament, walking in the mantle of every saint that ever lived. No one ever saw me struggling to pay my bills. No one ever saw me working nights in Asda. No one ever saw me being a good father to my kids. But I am free as a bird. Free to soar. Free to live. Free to love. Am I teachable? Yes. Do I believe in the prophetic? Of course. But it is a new day. No longer is the voice of God the monopoly of the few, it is for all to hear. No longer can it be a tool of manipulation and spiritual abuse. It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Are you feeling bound by something that has been spoken over you? It is time to let it go. God’s name has been taken in vain too much by us all. It is the day of holy chat. And if you just listen you may just sense the heart of God. And if you don’t the chat was great anyway.