Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. (I Corinthians 14:1)
Principle #1: Love is the context and motivation of all prophecy. Love is to be our pursuit. And in it, we are to desire all of the gifts of Jesus, especially prophecy. This means love is the true context of all the gifts Jesus’ Spirit offers us. Especially prophecy. If you are not in love with the one you have a word for, please hold on to your word. Open the eyes of your heart and fall in love. Then prophesy.
Principle #2: All people can prophesy and all people should receive prophecy. This gift of Jesus in us gives us the ability to see that which is hidden and ahead for our brothers and sisters. It is meant for ALL, through ALL. Not a special gift through an especially spiritual few, but a living reality for every one of us. Not a gift given only to the faithful, but to the faithless too.
But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. (v. 3)
Principle #3: Edify, exhort and console. These words actually mean build a strong and safe dwelling and family (edify), call near, invite, implore (exhort), to draw close to reveal things hidden (console). These are all words of intimate affection and connection. Prophecy is not sterile and void of relationship. We must redefine prophetic accuracy as the degree in which we open our hearts in love to whom we share our words.
Principle #4: Prophecy is for people, about people. This is one of the most overlooked pieces of the prophetic ministry. Prophecy is meant to reveal and empower who we really are; our true identity; Christ in us – the hope of glory. This is maturity. Prophecy is not about what will happen to us, but THROUGH us. Any spiritual gift convincing us the kingdom is coming any other way than through our maturing sonship is invalid.
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you. (vs. 24-25)
Principle #5: Prophecy reveals the hearts of people. When we think of hidden things that need to be revealed, we often assume they are about God and what He is doing or will do. Or worse, the hidden sin of others. Neither is most accurate. New Testament prophecy is about the hearts of men – who they really are being built up, called near and embraced. All so their true identity can be seen and known – first by them, then by the rest of us. Prophecy is the Father’s perspective, embrace and empowerment of His children. And He always see our hearts.
This may seem really strange to say, but prophecy is not as much about God as it is about people. Multiple times in 1 Corinthians 14 Paul emphasizes that we prophesy to men. A major mindset shift must take place: Prophecy is FROM the Person of Jesus in us speaking TO and ABOUT the hearts of men. If we don’t make this important shift, we will assume prophecy is about what God wants to do more than what we have been empowered by Him to do. Maturity hangs in the balance.
Jesus said “It is finished!”. What He’s done is already in us. If we prophesy from a finished Jesus it will be to awaken hearts of men to what He’s done for them and who He is in them. Prophecy energizes our true identity, calling all we are to attention. Awakened sons usher in new seasons, effect change in the earth and do greater things than Jesus ever did.
A prophetic people aren’t declaring God’s words to the world. They ARE God’s word to the world.