Spiritual Gifts and Prophetic Maturity
The Body of Christ needs to be activated and begin desiring the spiritual gifts just as the Bible talks about. We should desire spiritual gifts. When we desire spiritual gifts, that’s when they will begin to manifest. Desiring them is an act of faith, and it is vital for us as believers to present God with our faith and not our needs. Religion teaches us that God is motivated by our need, but need does not motivate God. If it did, all of the nations with the greatest need due to starvation, disease and poverty, would flourish based on the need those tragic circumstances would place on God. What God recognizes is faith – faith in His Word is what allows Him to act on our behalf in this natural world. It is faith in what He says that engages His supernatural abilities and Holy Spirit empowerment in our lives. This is also true of spiritual gifts and prophecy.
1 Corinthians 14:1 says, "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” This passage says to desire spiritual gifts, but especially that we might prophesy. Most often, religion teaches us that prophecy is giving a teaching from the pulpit. Although that is true, it is an incomplete understanding. Prophesying is a divine unction of the Holy Spirit that declares the Word of God in the form of preaching and teaching. However, it has a more complete definition when the ability to speak of future events is also recognized. One example of this type of prophesying is found in Acts 11:28 and Acts 21:10 where the New Testament prophet Agabus predicted a famine and later told Paul he would be bound if he carried on with his journey. God wants us to prophesy! Prophesying doesn’t make someone a prophet, but the Word is clear that we should desire to prophesy. Many people don’t believe that they can prophesy, but if God can use a donkey and a rooster as He did in the Bible, then He can use anyone of us. God wants us to hear His voice!
Once we begin to see the spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, manifesting in our life it’s important that we always stay securely on the foundation of the Bible in order to properly function in any of the gifts. 1 Corinthians 4:6 says, “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.” We need to train ourselves not to think beyond what is written in the Word of God. If we have a vision, dream or prophecy and it doesn’t line up with God’s Word, it must be disregarded. If we don’t disregard it, we can step into an area of self-exhortation rather than glorifying Jesus or the Word of God. We need to keep the Word of God primary, and then combine that with love and character.
God wants to have fellowship with us through love. When we are angry or have unforgiveness in our lives, it can stop the Word of God from flowing clear because our soul is cluttered with distractions. It’s important to be motivated by love because it is through that love that the voice of God flows freely. In order for love and the Word of God to function properly, it must also be combined with character. Character is who we are when no one is looking. God cares about our character far above our gifts and our abilities. Many times in the Body of Christ people hide their character behind their gifting. We cannot be people that hide our character behind our gift. We need to develop our character to properly carry the gifts that God is manifesting in our lives. If we do not have character mixed with love and the Word, flowing in any spiritual gifting will become dysfunctional. The combination of all three of these parts is vital to maintaining a functional and fruitful gifting. Training ourselves to combine the Word of God with love and character is God’s desire for all of us in the Body of Christ.
When we come to a place where we have trained ourselves to combine these three, we can begin to discipline ourselves to hear God’s voice with more accuracy. When doing this, it is vital to understand that it all works by grace and is available all the time regardless of performance; however, when you stand on grace but apply the elements of love and character, you will offer the world something truly precious… maturity.
John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Through Jesus dying on the cross and then receiving Him, we become God’s sheep and we do hear His voice. Some people feel as if God isn’t speaking to them or that they find it difficult to hear His voice. God works from different vantage points to speak, but if we are His sheep we can be confident that we can hear His voice for ourselves.
Have you ever felt as if you heard the voice of God, but then later nothing ever becomes of it? Many times we receive a revelation and forget that there is more to it than just hearing something. If we hear something, it isn’t going to just magically unfold for us. Magic doesn’t work in the Kingdom of God.
There is a very important three-step process to hearing the voice of God. These three steps are: revelation, interpretation and application. A revelation is revealed knowledge to your spirit, which ultimately comes through your spirit man into the realm of your soul. It goes from a supernatural unction and into the realm of your natural understanding. Revelations can happen anywhere, but more often in times of worship, prayer, or reading the Word. What tends to happen after hearing God’s voice and receiving that revelation is that we move on with our lives and nothing becomes of it. Some get a revelation and act suddenly and the end of their process is not fruitful and it can be discouraging. Again, this is why it is important to go through these three steps. When we get a revelation, the next step is to interpret what we heard. We need to interpret the revelation properly and then apply the revelation correctly to our lives. This is done by waiting on it for a moment and letting peace come up around it. Spend faith-filled time in the Word and then just rest internally about it. Peace over time and often other confirmation can come as you are resting through people the Lord may speak to and can begin to verify if we have the correct interpretation. When you understand the right interpretation, the final point that must be put forward is proper application of the revelation and solid interpretation. Without proper application it may seem as if we missed God. Typically, application has to do with the how, the when, and the where. Timing can be the most challenging part for anyone walking out these three steps, but if you stay at peace, keeping your mind focused on the Word and remain teachable, you will come to the right application. Application, or the action point, of your revelation is imperative and doing this properly can save a lot of pain and unnecessary challenges.
By doing all of these things – desiring spiritual gifts, mixing the Word of God with character and love, and following the three-step process, we can stand confident that we are operating in maturity as it relates to spiritual gifts and especially prophecy. These simple points, when utilized, can greatly benefit the outcome the next time the Holy Spirit prompts you. God Bless you as you flow in the gifts of the Spirit and continually follow Jesus!
For the Glory of Jesus,