I want you to know that whenever I discuss these things, I’m only sharing my opinion, and I realize that at any point in life, I may be missing an important piece of the puzzle.
Here’s the question that motivated today’s post: If prophecy is so important, why are none of the people I know walking in the reality of what was prophesied over them 10-15 years ago?
Today’s post is part one of my response. I think there’s more than one answer, so I’ll start with the first.
Prophecy is Conditional
I believe most prophecies are conditional. Now, that doesn’t mean that the person sharing the prophetic word is aware of that or shares a conditional statement with the recipient. But prophetic words point to God’s plan, purpose, warning, etc.
Prophecies about wealth and favor for business success can be accurate for John Doe, but they are conditional. His success depends upon how submitted he is to authority, how humble he chooses to be, and how he chooses to treat other people. I think most ponzi-scheme types have a wealth / business building gift, but it has been misapplied. Just like a prophetically gifted person could position end up as a psychic, detective, or private investigator and be relatively successful by listening to evil spirits instead of God.
A Good Soldier Knows His Sword
I look at the prophecies made over certain churches and the fault I see lies in handling the prophetic word after it has been given. Prophetic words need to be judged. Then legitimate words need to be held closely and revisited often.
The sword of the Spirit is the rhema word of God, not the logos. People will debate this, but I strongly believe that rhema differs from logos. Rhema is the spoken word of God to you. Whether directly or through another, these are your sword. We may not be trained in this, but we are absolutely responsible to wage a good warfare with these weapons. When trials come and things go exactly the opposite of prophecy, we have the word to declare and to pray back to God, reminding Him of His promise. The children of Israel were instructed to meditate on God’s direct instructions day and night. To bind them to their hands. They brainwashed themselves (i.e. Renewed their minds) with God’s spoken word.
When Israel fell away into idol worship, it always came after the people “forgot” about God’s promises and His laws. They wandered about without direction, and wound up worshipping things that made them feel good or appeared to promise protection and prosperity.
Stewards as well as Sons
As believers, we are stewards of revelation just like we are stewards of possessions and wealth and relationships and children. Everything God gives us He gives as a master gives a steward to invest and bring increase.
In other words, a prophetic word can fail because a person is a poor steward with God’s word. A prophetic word can fail because a person is not listening to God on a daily / weekly / monthly basis, and therefore hasn’t positioned himself/herself to walk into the promise.
I don’t say that every prophetic word can be screwed up by our choices, but I think most can. It’s part of the reality of having free will and choosing when and where and how we listen and obey. Most people don’t want to believe that because it’s an awesome and terrifying thought to consider that God’s amazing promises require our cooperation to come true. But I believe they do.
As a body, we’ve failed to train each generation in stewardship and responsibility, and by our inaction we’ve perpetuated the belief that God will fulfill prophetic words regardless of what we do. We try to make it an issue of grace, which says that God foreknew we’d be stubborn, ignorant, or fearful, and He had a plan in place to get us from point A to the promised point B.
Striving For the Prize
But there’s a slew of Scriptures in the New Testament in which Paul talks about striving toward the prize. We understand that salvation and acceptance are free gifts, but approval and heavenly rewards are based on how we live. Therefore we have the very real power to affect things based on our choices. We’re not just floating along fulfilling God’s perfect will whether we mean to or not. And therefore I think we can miss out on a lot of His promises by not showing up to receive them.
If you received a letter in the mail saying that you’d inherited a million dollars from a long lost relative, but you never showed up for the reading of the will where the checks were handed out, you are technically the owner of a million dollars, but they aren’t yet in your possession. You haven’t received them. They’re out there, waiting for you. But the ball is in your court.
That’s how I see it, anyway. Tell me what you think.