In many nations and churches in many places I’ve gone to minister prophetically, people have said that the prophetic or work of God’s Spirit has been used to cajole, control, manipulate or for personal gain causing confusion, heartache and even church splits. So, people then have been hungry for honest teaching in the prophetic along with loving prophetic ministry.
May these thoughts specifically on the prophetic bring clarity with clear tests to determine whether the prophetic is more than likely from the Lord, from the person or even from the enemy to distract our spirits and souls and confuse our emotions.
In fact stories I’ve heard even very recently of where prophecy is used manipulatively or in a controlling manner, or even when it’s just plain wrong has given me the conviction that reflecting upon how to test the Prophetic is very important.
Scripture in I John 4:1 & I Thessalonians 5:20, 21 clearly says for us to test the prophetic words we receive. Likewise in Matthew 7:15-20 we are told that “By their fruits you’ll know them” referring to being able to identify true and false prophets. This is also extensively shown in the Old Testament when measuring prophetic ministry.
So, if Scripture says for us to “Test the Prophetic” how do we do this in a healthy balanced manner.
I’m going to use an example of a situation shared with me as a case to reflect upon after each test also.
The first test is to naturally see whether it is consistent with Scripture, opposes Scripture or is neutral.
In this case it was neutral, neither against nor confirmed by Scripture.
The second test is to check for an inner witness…does this sit well with you? Prophesy will most times be confirmatory rather than absolutely revelatory from no previous sense within the person/ people/ church/ ministry receiving the word.
In this case, there was no inner witness. In fact, it contradicted much of what the person knew about themselves and what others had shared into their lives pastorally and prophetically.
The third test: is the word shared as a gift for the person to weigh and measure (as Scripture says) or as a controlling, directive (almost) manipulative word?
In this case, it was sadly the latter.
Then the fourth test is to seek wise counsel around the word you receive. What do others who know you or who have ministry maturity and experience say about the word shared with you?
In this case, it was very clear the ministry was controlling, overly directive and manipulative. Not healthy.
The fifth test is the word shared with grace and love?
Sadly, in this case, it was not.
Finally, for our purposes here, the sixth test: does the word inspire faith, bring clarity, focus and encouragement, growth or comfort?
Sadly, in this case, it brought none of these rather it caused confusion and doubt.
These six tests can be used to test prophetic words shared with you and even when you share prophetically with others.
Treat each other with grace and love. Then the prophetic can minister to people wonderfully bringing healthy personal spiritual growth and emotionally healthy discipleship.