Dear Prophetic People, as I hope you’ve picked up by now, if you’ve read the Introduction and Part 1, I’m passionate about the growth and development of the gift of prophecy and its place in the Church. In this post I’d like to encourage you to pursue something that I believe will be a huge catalyst in both the Church and in your life as an individual. I believe it’s a big part of the biblical role of New Testament prophetic ministry.
Looking back to Part 1, although lots of the examples given were exaggerated caricatures, a common theme you might have missed that links them up is isolation. Whether it’s through individual choice or by social exclusion each persona would often end up somehow isolated from other people. Glassy-Eyed Gal weirds people out, Captain Ominous makes people feel inferior, the list goes on. None of this tends to promote positive relationships or positive responses to the prophetic gift or prophetic people in general. Whether it’s physical isolation e.g. being asked to leave a church, emotional isolation e.g. feeling held at arm’s length in a church community or ministerial isolation e.g. being asked not to minister prophetically in a community, feelings of isolation can often get their hooks into you.
One mistake that often forms off the back of this is that people go and read about the prophets of the Old Testament and start to find comfort by identifying with their isolation. It’s really common for people who believe they’re prophets or that they have a prophetic ministry to over-identify with the sense of loneliness that plagued many of the OT prophets and this sometimes even becomes the “mark of true ministry” for a lot of people as they begin to believe that if they are rejected they must be a real prophet, after all a prophet is not without honour except in his hometown right?
Constant wounds from leaders and churches can lead anyone to feel rejected and we’ve probably all been there at some point. However, under the influence of the spirit or mindset of Rejection, prophetic people can begin to drift towards or over-emphasise Bible verses that promote individuality and a wrong kind of autonomy. The temptation to use Scripture to supposedly free ourselves from the wounds we’ve experienced or protect ourselves from future harm by pursuing physical, emotional or ministerial isolation is massive and something we ALL need to be aware of!
It’s really common for people who believe they’re prophets or that they have a prophetic ministry to over-identify with the sense of loneliness that plagued many of the OT prophets and this sometimes even becomes the “mark of true ministry” for a lot of people
This seems to be a particularly vulnerable area for prophetic people and as I said, I really believe this is a big mistake that hugely hinders both the Church and the prophetic ministry because the solution lies in almost the exact opposite direction. Isn’t that just like the devil to give a false solution that satisfies quicker when the real solution requires a taxing journey in the opposite direction? The devils knows which we’d rather choose.
Dear Prophetic People, my encouragement to you in this post is to seek out and live in open-hearted community. Don’t just tolerate church for a Sunday morning and a maybe a mid-week meeting but plant your roots deep into diverse authentic relationships and community and fight for it with all your heart!
A lack of Christ-centred community and genuine accountability will crush and warp your ministry because although it may not always feel good, your heart really needs it. Community is a actually a real gift that God has provided for all of us to grow in. Open-hearted community and interconnected relationships keep us in touch with several ways to receive grace from God that empowers in life and ministry. It provides the opportunities for us to come together and bring the best out of each other and see the worst healed.
If you’re tired of reading, here’s a funny video!
In open-hearted community we’re given permission to be able to fully be ourselves together, as we are now, while calling one another into becoming who God has called us to be. This can be incredibly messy and is tough to get right but it produces something unique in us that is both beautiful and powerful. It’s humility. Humility is basically having a correct and proportional view of ourselves. The Bible says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34; 1Peter 5:5) and I think this is because He knows we require humility to carry whatever He puts in our hands.
Living in community keeps us humble because we will always be faced with our own weakness and inadequacies. When we truly live open-hearted with each other we allow space for mistakes but we also invite loving correction because we actually want to grow. Proverbs says that makes us wise (Proverbs 15:12; 9:8; 13:1) Often we talk about wanting to be ourselves but what we actually mean is we don’t want to change, even if we’re a horrible person. But when we live in open-hearted community we’ll receive feedback on how ripe the fruit of the Spirit is in us. The fruit of the Spirit benefits no one in isolation. How can you be kind or faithful on your own? The fruit of the Spirit is meant to be shared with others. It was never made to be eaten alone!
Sometimes the “various trials” that produce endurance aren’t demonic, they’re literally sat next to you on Sunday morning
I believe it’s really important that we spend time in diverse community. Prophetic people can often slip into spending all their time in prophetic groups because honestly, it’s just easier. We can all agree that spending time with like-minded people is a lot more relaxing because we see things the same way. Unity is the joining of more than one thing so this might seem like community but it lacks the diversity of true community that produces growth in us as we “bear with one another in love”. James says that there are trials that come to us that actually grow our endurance and make us stronger (James 1:2-4) Sometimes the “various trials” that produce endurance aren’t demonic, they’re literally sat next to you on Sunday morning or they live in your house or share your DNA.
Satan will try and pull you away into isolation through various lies e.g. “you don’t fit in”, “you’re better than them”, “they don’t want/need you”, “you only need you and your relationship with God”. In isolation we can’t expose these lies as lies and receive the love we need from each other to overcome them. The enemy’s goal is to get you alone where you can only hear his voice so he can team up with sin, the flesh and the world to twist your thinking away from God and cripple the power your gift is supposed to bring. When we believe his lies, we wander off and become strangers to our churches and leaders either spiritually, emotionally or physically and then wonder why no one wants to receive our prophetic ministry. Ephesians 4 tells us that prophets, among others, are a gift from Jesus to His Bride the Church to help her to grow in unity and in her understanding of Him. It’s hard to be a Gift when you’re not Present.
It’s hard to be a Gift when you’re not Present
Community is huge for prophetic people. When you allow your roots to go down DEEP into the soil of authentic friendships and discipleship where we invest in one another, we grow. Guaranteed. It’s where we learn to be loved despite our shortcomings and to love despite the flaws we see in others. This teaches us about the love of God.
Pursuing open-hearted community teaches us that “There is a difference between speaking the truth in love and loving to speak the truth.” (Kris Vallotton) Prophetic people, by the nature of their gift can often see what’s out of place and can be tempted to focus on that rather than bringing and submitting what the solution is that we believe God is saying to individuals, groups, leaders and churches. We might think this is “discerning” but it can actually become judgemental instead. Criticism is not a gift of the Spirit.
When we’re hurting physically, we go into a self-protective mode and automatically identify potential signs of further or future hurt. I believe the same principle applies here and it’s really important that we get healed. If you’re a prophetic person who has been hurt in the past, make it a priority in your life to get healed, not just to move on. Moving on might feel like the mature thing to do but if you don’t deal with wounds they fester or bleed out.
Healing isn’t always instantaneous but it’s always worth the time it takes. If you’re a prophetic person with a broken heart, you’re actually quite dangerous to your yourself and your community because your hurt can filter through your gift and so pursuing wholeness through Jesus needs to be at the top of your To-Do List. I encourage you to check out some of the Resource Section below that is dedicated to dealing with heart issues.
Dear Prophetic People, get rooted in loving, open-hearted, diverse church communities and watch how God uses you! We need you!
Thank you for reading.