I’ve been procrastinating for months on writing this article because quite frankly I wasn’t sure I should write it. When is it right to speak? And more importantly what motivates us to speak up? These questions have been at the forefront of my mind. I’ve wrestled with the moments (there have been many) where I’ve wanted to rant ‘No—-what–are–you–doing!’ But thankfully I refrained from sharing until now. The reason I’m writing this now is because I sense God wants to encourage all of us who love prophecy to hang in there, learn and lead by example.
Just to be clear this article is not about Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton. Phew.
It’s a response to what I believe has been an abandonment of prophetic integrity during this political season. Just as the political world has gone ‘off the edge crazy’, so too have parts of the prophetic world.
So below I’ve written about three areas that can help us retain prophetic credibility. It’s not an exhaustive list but ones I believe are crucial. They’re reminders of the foundational stakes that keep the integrity of prophecy in tact. These span all the aspects of life that we prophesy into but are particularly relevant to the heated political sphere we currently find ourselves in today.
1. Remember that we prophesy in part.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be restrained; where there is knowledge, it will be dismissed. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 1 Corinthians 13: 8-10 NIV
It’s important to remember when we get a prophetic word around anything political that we prophesy in part. We don’t get to see everything – we see a piece. And even when we get this piece it’s subject to our predispositions. Treasuring this understanding is vital because ultimately it keeps us open instead of closed. Open to interpretation, accountability and most importantly open to others. When we forget this and present prophesies as unchallengeable conclusions, it brings division and confusion, polarizing people who discern differently.
Divided contradictory prophetic messages devalue and ridicule the gift of prophecy to the secular world. This is a sorry state of affairs as prophecy can be used powerfully to show people that Jesus is real.
The measuring stick of whether we’ve lost our integrity in prophecy or not is how it’s building up the church. Prophecy is the Holy Spirits gift to the church intent on edifying the whole body of believers. If our prophesies are causing division then something is wrong! It takes maturity for us to stop at that point and let go of prophecy in favor of love.
2. Avoid prophetic manipulation.
We need to be careful when we’re prophesying ‘what we believe God is saying‘ when it involves other peoples choices. Choice is sacred to God. Our choices as followers of Christ involve spiritually exercising our wisdom, knowledge and understanding of Christ in us. This is the journey to maturity. When we prophesy in a way that supersedes choice we are simply falling into prophetic manipulation.
In our Western World, politics along with relationships are founded upon the choices of individuals. God isn’t directive in these areas because there’s choice involved of multiple people. He does speak to us about these things, often giving us His advice but this honors the process that choice takes.
Wisdom says that a prophetic inclination on politics or relationships should be petitioned in the secret place rather than the public arena. This avoids unintentionally manipulating people’s choices through prophecy or the influence/platform that prophecy has given you.
3. Living and learning through accountability.
If you share a prophetic word, according to scripture it then enters a place where it’s publicly discerned. If you wish to keep the discernment part to yourself, according to the apostle Paul you need to keep the prophecy to yourself also. (1 Corinthians 14:29)
This is because by very nature the prophetic gift belongs to the body of Christian’s not just to one particular individual. And with that joint ownership comes accountability. One person doesn’t get to decide what it means.
Prophecy is a team sport so to speak. If we want to harness prophetic integrity it’s wise to understand this reality. There’s nothing worse in a team sport where one individual is not playing with others or doesn’t pass the ball! It disrupts the synergy of the team and usually makes the team lose.
But learning the prophetic gift underpinned with the humility and grounding that accountable community brings is one of the greatest adventures one can go on. It guards love, protects us from our own blind spots and presents the world with the valuable testifying Word of God.
If you’ve been confused or disillusioned by what’s been happening in the prophetic movement during this election I hope you can join with me and use it as a way of strengthening our resolve to have prophetic integrity. Let’s learn from it and apply those lessons to our own life’s ministry. We cannot change how others use the prophetic gift, only lead by example. As we lead in this way – the way of love, I’m convinced that the goodness of God will shine through.