Today is a word of caution. Those who are called to be prophets should exercise caution in four different areas. This is not an exhaustive list. There may well be others.
God is always concerned about character. Don’t let your character get ahead of your gift. God may give you a wonderful prophetic gift at an early age. Don’t let that give run you. You manage you and you manage your gift. It comes with an awesome responsibility. This does not mean that God does not take into account that you need to mature and grow in some areas even though He has gifted you in an amazing way. Don’t get so focused on honing your gift and growing in it that you think this is all that matters. However, don’t let the fact that you are still young in age deter you from using your gift.
Sometimes our enthusiasm gets ahead of us. This can be true for any of us, but I think it is a particular problem for prophetic people. We get used to prophesying things into being and being used by God to see into the future. We are by nature future-oriented people. When God reveals something to us, we think it should be happening right now. Maybe it is for a future time and God wants us to speak into it, but in our enthusiasms we can push for it to happen right now because God showed it to us and in the spirit it makes perfect sense to us. We forget the fact that it may take a process to get us there.
Don’t underestimate the importance of credibility. Obviously, we want to be faithful in the things that God shows us. On the other hand, we don’t want to shoot for the moon when we’re barely getting started. What am I saying? Sometimes we have not been long enough in a place for people to get to know us, trust us and build a relationship with us. We have no credibility, yet we expect people to know that we are prophetic and that they should hang onto every word we utter. God cares about credibility. Yes, he uses the foolish to shame the wise, but he also cares about credibility.
Gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit are not the same thing. Often we are more excited about demonstrating the gifts of the Spirit, especially in terms of the prophetic, than the fruit of the Spirit. Don’t underestimate the importance of the fruit of the Spirit in your life. It is something we are all expected to demonstrate regardless of the gifts we may operate in. Don’t neglect the fruit of the Spirit in your life. If your life becomes one of sowing discord wherever you go in the name of your prophetic gift, you might be missing a key ingredient along the way: the fruit of the Spirit. Be excited about growing in both.
By Ralph Veenstra