In last week’s blog, we looked at the first five traps that are set before prophets and prophetic people on their journey to grow in purity, humility and accountability. As previously mentioned, these pitfalls can certainly be applied to other areas of ministry. We will now look closely at the last five traps that must be avoided in the days ahead as God pours out His Spirit in these last days. For much more insight, I highly encourage you to read my book, “Cleansing and Igniting the Prophetic” which can be purchased here.
- The Pitfall of Pride
Prophets must remember that they only see in part. (1 Cor 13:9). Pride is a swollen estimation of one’s own importance. Prophets must be careful that they don’t become prideful when people praise them for giving an accurate prophetic word or thinking they have more authority than they actually do. The truth is that prophets need the other 4 ministries of apostles, teachers, pastors, and evangelists (Eph 4:11) to help mature and grow their own gifting and calling.
PROPHETS NEED APOSTLES
Prophets have the tendency to wander around in circles because their eyes are so focused on the future. They desperately need apostles to help them to build and live for the present. Prophets constantly get caught chasing never ending revelation and pursuing new spiritual experiences. They need apostles to hold their feet to the fire to study and actually know the Word of God. Prophets are prone to wander around and become lone rangers. They need apostles to father them, work alongside them, instruct them, and correct them.
Apostles help the prophets find their orientation and direction. Apostles will establish kingdom government in the lives of prophets and bring great emotional balance and stability to them. In many ways, apostles act as the anchor to the prophet’s ministry. (Eph 2:20)
Apostles and prophets must learn how to function together as a team in this hour. Every apostle needs a prophet and every prophet needs an apostle. (1 Cor 12:28). The prophets bring great confirmation and revelation to God’s apostles and the apostles bring great emotional stability and balance to the prophets of God. Healthy prophets are always connected to fathering apostles and healthy apostles are always connected to revelatory prophets. We must learn how to work together and not compete against one another in the days we are living in.
PROPHETS NEED TEACHERS
There is a reason why in 1 Cor 12:28 prophets are specifically placed in between apostles and teachers when it comes to establishing the kingdom of God and the New Testament Church. When prophets do not have apostles AND teachers as their boundaries lines, they go off into dangerous doctrine and immature behavior.
Prophets have the tendency to form their own doctrine based off of their spiritual experiences. Teachers will call the prophets into line and ask them, “Where is that found in the Scriptures?” Rebellious prophets who answer to no one constantly mislabel God’s teachers as religious and constricting when really they are operating in their divine purpose and function. Teachers help many prophets to realize that their good sounding “revelation” actually can’t be backed up in the Word of God and needs to be thrown out. Just because it sounds good to preach, does not at all mean it’s biblical. Healthy and mature prophets constantly submit their dreams, visions, and revelations to teachers before they ever release what they believe God has spoken or shown to them. Teachers are the checks and balance that prophets so desperately need.
Teachers function in a line upon line, precept upon precept reality when it comes to the kingdom of God, whereas prophets tend to function in a dream after dream, vision after vision, spiritual experience after spiritual experience reality. While the prophets and teachers each have their own function, they desperately need one another to bring balance to one another’s ministries.
Teachers help prophets to unpack and thoroughly investigate the dreams, visions, and revelations they are receiving. They challenge prophets to seek God for more insight and clarity regarding what they are seeing and hearing. Without teachers, prophets are potential candidates for heretical doctrine based off of bizarre experience alone, they risk the opportunity of not being rooted and grounded in the Word of God by teachers, and most importantly, prophets will not grow in character and integrity without teachers taking them to task over whether their lifestyle lines up with who God is and what He has revealed in His word.
Prophets: you must surround yourself with apostles and teachers. You are not an island of revelation unto yourself! You are not the only one who “hears” and “sees” God. Let’s grow in maturity and confess our great need of one another.
PROPHETS NEED PASTORS
Without the influence of pastors, prophets have the tendency to be harsh, arrogant, and disconnected from the saints. These two 5 fold ministries are the hardest to get to work together, but are also the most effective when they get along.
Pastors impart compassion, tenderness, and personal care for the prophets. Without strong pastoral care, prophets remain wounded in their souls due to the amount of rejection that they face because of their calling. Pastors are focused on the present issues at hand while prophets are caught up in the future. Pastors typically slow things down while prophets want to speed things up.
Pastors desire to counsel people while prophets would prefer to just cast the demons out. Pastors will sit with hurting and broken people for hours while the prophets want a quick solution now. Prophets just want to prophesy and leave, but pastors are willing to walk through the pain and trials of those who receive the prophetic ministry. Pastors love hospital visitation and more, prophets just want to walk in and raise the dead real quick.
Every prophet needs a pastor and every pastor needs a prophet.
Prophets like to focus on maturing saints at an accelerated pace, pastors take time for the hurting, broken, and wounded. Pastors stroke, but prophets provoke. Pastors coddle, but prophets cut. Pastors comfort, but prophets correct. Pastors stimulate, but prophets impregnate. Pastors listen, but prophets challenge.
When prophets choose to join themselves with a pastor, they are greatly balanced and matured!
Both of these ministries are so important and though they have separate functions, they must learn how to work together. Prophets are never given permission to be a lone ranger and pastors have the difficult function of teaching the prophets the joy of living in community and learning how to grow in love toward God’s people. The most unstable and immature prophets that I have worked with around the globe are always those who refuse pastoral care for their own lives and don’t think they need community with one family of believers.
PROPHETS NEED EVANGELISTS
Evangelists stir up a vision for the harvest in the lives of prophets. They challenge them to prophesy beyond the four walls of a church and into the harvest fields. Without the influence of evangelists, prophets will be near sighted in their approach to the kingdom of God and constantly focus on prophesying to those who already know God and forget the lost who must be prophesied into the kingdom of God.
Evangelists thrust prophets into the harvest fields. At times prophets can tend to be harsh and intense toward what God is saying. Evangelists help to impart a revelation of the mercy and grace of God toward sinners to prophets. Evangelists teach prophets how to grow beyond using “churchy” terminology when they prophesy to the lost and get to the heart of the matter. Evangelists teach prophets that the word of the Lord can run swiftly at the gas station, grocery store, or homeless shelter.
- The Pitfall of Adrenaline and Emotionalism
As prophets of God, we are called to minister from the place of peace, not pressure. We will constantly be placed in environments full of hype, loud music, and carnal desires of people. Jeremiah the prophet commented on the prophetic movement and leaders in his day and said, “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priest rule on their own authority, and MY PEOPLE LOVE IT SO!” (Jer 5:30-31) Jeremiah lived in a day where people actually loved false prophecy. They loved being told what they wanted to hear and not what they needed to hear.
If people are addicted to adrenaline, they will be drawn to what gets their blood pumping and their heart pounding. They will only listen to what gets them stirred up and gravitate toward prophetic voices who will do that for them. In this process, they will blind themselves to whether these prophetic voices even have a history of accuracy. They will forget to examine if their prophetic words passed the test of Scriptures and truly advanced the kingdom of God.
Our polluted prophetic stream too often delivers what we are prepared to hear or what we think about ourselves. If you have problems with covenant relationships and commitment, you will hear God telling you to move from church to church.
If you carry a root of insecurity and have contracted an infection of ambition or arrogance to cover it, you will hear “from God” all kinds of exalted things about yourself. You will gravitate toward prophetic voices that will flatter that delusory image. You will hear these things and draw them out of people you regard as prophetic voices.
- The Pitfall of Giving Horoscope Prophecy
There is a modern day phenomena taking place within the prophetic movement that I believe must be confronted and specifically addressed with love and truth. The sensation that I speak of is regarding the increase and explosion of very general and vague prophetic words being posted on social media and released on popular Christian websites that have little to no SUBSTANCE or SPECIFICS. And because of the lack of content and specifics within the prophetic words, there is no place for ACCOUNTABILITY or even judging the ACCURACY of what is supposedly being said by God.
Let me give you some examples of vague and general prophecy that lacks substance, specifics, and even accountability:
For starters, the prophecies are directed at ANY ONE AND EVERYONE. There is no target audience, person, or groups of people that the prophetic word is specifically directed to. In other words, it’s a horoscope prophecy. How it works is that people simply scan the facebook’s of popular prophetic voices trying to find a status or prophetic video that they can apply to their life or they scan popular Christian websites looking for the latest prophetic word released that again is typically not addressed to a target audience, person, or groups of people and has absolutely no substance or specifics. It’s a bunch of fluff that has someone’s carnal desires and greed at its core. This is horoscope prophecy.
Secondly, the prophecies do not ask for participation, sacrifice, or requirements for those who the word is supposedly for. It’s pretty much a name and claim it one stop showboat. All someone has to do is read the word on social media, claim their prize, and bada bing bada boom, your destiny and desires WILL BE fulfilled.
The explosion and increase of general and vague prophecy across the internet world can be likened to going to a Chinese restaurant and getting a free fortune cookie. Pick one, open it up, and there you have your horoscope prophecy.
The heartbreaking part about all of this is that when we turn to the Scriptures to try and find where all this vague and general prophecy is coming from, YOU CAN’T FIND ANY. You cannot find a single prophet or prophetic word in Scripture that was not prophesying to a specific person, people group or nation and what they prophesied was not only SPECIFIC and full of SUBSTANCE, but it also had REQUIREMENTS from those who received it.
There is so much more for the prophetic movement than promising anyone and everyone upgrades, breakthrough, financial blessing, more glory, angel feathers, gold dusts, property, and more. People can keep scrolling Facebook and popular Christian websites for their monthly prophetic horoscope, but I believe that God is calling many of His people to hit delete and unsubscribe from all this shenanigans and tomfoolery.
God is raising up a company of prophetic messengers, intercessors, and saints in America that are hungry for the word of the Lord that has weight, substance, and specifics. They are hungry for revelatory prophecy, not spontaneous prophecy. They must not be ashamed of their appetite for the deeper and weightier matters that are upon God’s heart.
May we heed the warning that Jeremiah gave in his day when God said, “There are people prophesying that I have not spoken to and there are people traveling and ministering that I have not sent.” (Jeremiah 23:21)
- The Pitfall of Becoming a Vending Machine
Prophetic maturity is not measured by whether we have prophetic word for every world event or situation, but rather whether we know when to remain silent when we do not have a word from the Lord.
I want to encourage prophets not to succumb to the pressure of feeling like you have to put out a “new prophetic word” every day, week, or month.
You are not a vending machine. You should not be expected or even feel the need to pop out prophetic words every time someone sows a “seed” into you or stops to look at the “goods” you have inside. I’m convinced that much of what fuels the pressure to put out a prophetic word every day, week, or month is the need to keep fans and followers happy, to get people to keep giving financially, and worst of all to feed a deep inner need inside the prophet for validation through popularity and fortune.
I fear that many prophets on social media have built a following of people who are always itching to hear something new, something sensational, something entertaining, and something pleasing to their flesh. These deceived Christians are like the Athenians in Acts 17:24 who spent their time on nothing else but either telling or listening for some new thing.
Prophets! Do not fall for this trap! Stop popping out “new prophetic words” just so you can get more “likes” and “followers” on social media. Stop popping out “new prophetic words” that have no substance or specifics and literally could be applied to anything and everything. Has God really spoken to you or has He not? You must recognize that there are prophets prophesying that God has not spoken to and prophets traveling and ministering that God has not sent. (Jer 23)
I’m praying that God would deliver a generation of prophets from the need to pop out new prophetic words so they can be validated by men and raise up a generation of prophets who will only speak when God speaks, even if it’s just once a year and unpopular.
Prophets! Fight the pressure. Do not give into carnality and popularity contests. Do not allow the people of God to treat you like a vending machine and do not act like one regardless. Have the courage to remain silent when God has not spoken to you and commit to never compromising the word of the Lord no matter what open doors come your way.
- The Pitfall of Carrying Rejection
To be called as a prophet of the Lord is to share and partake in the sufferings of Christ and one of those sufferings and cups to drink that cannot be passed on is certainly the cup of rejection. (Isaiah 53:3) Rejection is extremely painful, especially when it comes from family members, friends, and people in ministry that you thought you could trust. I imagine the pain of what Jesus must have experienced in the Garden of Gethsamene or perhaps even at Calvary, being rejected and despised by those even closest to Him.
It only takes a cursory reading of all the Old Testament prophets to understand that they too were men who were deeply rejected. What about the New Testament? John the Baptist was rejected, Jesus Christ was rejected, and many of the prophets that came after Him continued to be rejected. In fact, Scripture is clear that one of the signs of a false prophet is that everyone loves everything they prophesy. (Jeremiah 5:31) In the words of Jesus, He said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.” (Luke 6:26) According to the testimony of both the prophets themselves and Jesus Christ, there is no way around rejection if you are truly called as a prophet of the Lord.
You must receive rejection as part of your prophetic training, but choose not to operate in a spirit of rejection. This is where the path of a prophet and the need for healthy and mature development can become very difficult. As a prophet of the Lord, you will be trained by the rejection of men, but it is not healthy nor is it the will of God that you walk in a spirit of rejection. When prophets operate out of a spirit of rejection, they are convinced that they are constantly “alone” in their calling and everyone is either against them now or will be in the future.
The spirit of rejection operating in a wounded prophet’s life has convinced them that it’s them versus the world and they are out to prove everyone wrong. The motive of the heart behind prophets who operate out of the spirit of rejection is to show the world and religion how bad they missed it with them. These prophets with wounds of rejection have what I call a “told you so” approach to life and ministry. Every open door and potential favor that God gives them, in their eyes, is twisted into proving to their critics how anointed they really were in the first place. These types of attitudes and heart postures are not only signs that a prophet is operating in a spirit of rejection, but they are extremely grieving to God the Father and not a sign of a mature prophetic anointing.
May we all check our hearts today and invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth!
Marked for Eternity,