|Increasing Your Awareness Matters|
God says, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Then, the Apostle Paul went on to say, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware” (1 Corinthians 12:1). The word “gifts” is not in the original Greek text. It actually should read; “Now concerning the spiritual, brethren, I don’t want you to be unaware.” Paul is using the gifts of the Spirit as an example of how the spirit realm functions. If we want to apprehend our call to bring the kingdom of light to the earth, it is imperative that we are aware of and have knowledge of HOW the kingdom of God functions.
We broke down the gift of prophecy yesterday; a key tool for expanding God’s kingdom on the earth. Now let’s jump into unpacking the office of the prophet.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. The goal of this devotional is not for me to tell you whether or not you’re a prophet. Only God can do that! Rather, I want you to gain a greater understanding of this important role for the Body of Christ. Let’s move forward towards an abundance of knowledge, understanding and awareness! And I pray that the Lord reveals what HE wants you to gain from today. Let’s go!
What Even Is a “Prophet”?
When a person ministers in the gift of prophecy, the gift is the ability to prophesy; in other words, the prophetic words themselves are the gift. On the other hand, when a person is called to the office of a prophet or prophetess, they themselves are the gift.
That may sound confusing so let’s check out what Scripture has to say about this….
The apostle Paul put it this way when writing to the Church at Ephesus, “To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. … He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,” (Ephesians 4:7,11).
Again, notice that Paul said, “Christ gave gifts to men,” and the gifts that Christ gave to men are other people. A prophet or prophetess is Christ’s gift to the Church; therefore their primary emphasis is not what they do as much as it is about who they are.
I think it would help to understand the difference between the office of the prophet and the gift of prophecy if I clarified a few points for us.
Point to Ponder: Do you focus so much on the gifting of the prophets in your life that you sometimes miss that the person themselves is the true gift? How can you shift this heart posture to receive the FULLNESS of the prophets around you?
First of all, there are basically three components to any mature ministry. These three components are our calling, our gifting, and our anointing.
Let us examine these three important elements of fruitful ministry:
- Our calling gives us our identity.
- Our gifting gives us our ability.
- Our anointing gives us our purpose.
Point to Ponder: Have you identified your personal calling, gifting, and anointing? If so, what are they? If not, be on the lookout for keys to identifying these in your own life as we continue today.
So now let’s describe each one of these components individually as they relate to the office of the prophet and prophetess and the gift of prophecy.
1. You Are Gifted
The gift of prophecy is a “gift” (which we can ALL operate in as children of God); it’s something we do and not something we are. What I am saying is that we have the gift of prophecy but we are not the gift of prophecy. Here is what the Apostle Peter had to say about gifts, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God,” (1 Peter 4:10).
Serving one another with the gifts Jesus has given us creates a beautiful community and a healthy culture. The challenge is if we receive our identity from our gift then we are reduced to a performance-based identity.Consequently, our self-esteem will be directly tied to something we do rather than who we actually are.
Point to Ponder: Unsure if you get your identity from your gift? Do you feel like your love and acceptance from those around you is based on how well you perform? Do you panic when you fail? Do you often feel rejected when people don’t see or acknowledge what’s on your life? If so, I encourage you to dive deeper into this and allow God to speak His pleasure, delight, acceptance and love over you!
This is one of the greatest challenges we have in leading prophetic people, and it is also one of the greatest temptations that especially highly gifted people must navigate. The fact is that when the motivation of our prophetic ministry moves from compassion and love to rather helping us feel valuable and worthwhile; the entire ministry gets polluted and the impact of our prophetic words are dramatically weakened.
I have watched this unhealthy dynamic take place in dozens of prophetic people’s lives over the years. When a person is getting their identity from the gift of prophecy, it’s often hard to have a conversation with them without having them prophesy over you or tell you about something God shared with them.
Frankly, people who insist on being spiritually hyper-vigilant aren’t fun to be around. Yikes! In their case, their anointing is often undermined by their insecurity.
It often helps to share this insight with them but the truth is, I’ve never actually seen anybody overcome this unhealthy dynamic in their life without them first finding their true identity in Jesus. As prophets and prophetesses, it is incumbent upon us to help prophetic people find their God-given call so that they can operate in their gift in a way that builds a healthy culture in and around them.
2. Prophets are Called by God
The second part of this tri-dimensional reality is our calling. The office of a prophet or prophetess is a calling, as is the rest of the five-fold ministry. With reference to his apostolic ministry Paul wrote, “Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,” (1 Corinthians 1:1).
Paul was a very gifted theologian, preacher, and writer, etc. but he was called as an apostle. It wasn’t something he did, it wasn’t his career; being an apostle was a part of his personhood — his identity — and therefore it affected the way he thought, felt, and operated internally and externally.
Much like the apostle, the office of prophet and prophetess is also a calling. Unlike the gift of prophecy, the calling of a prophet or prophetess on a person’s life affects the way they think, the way they approach life, their inner world, and often even the way they feel.
This “call” can be on a person’s life from birth, or later on when they are born-again. But the fact is, they may not actually receive this call until many years after they receive Christ, as was the case in my life.
It is important for prophets and prophetesses to understand this powerful dynamic in our own lives; not just for the benefit of our theology or our ministry, but, more importantly, for the way, it affects us personally.
The impact of being called as a prophet or prophetess and not understanding these truths can often lead to all kinds of dysfunction in us.
When somebody grows up with a prophetic call on their life it is not uncommon for them to feel like they are strange, weird, or out of touch with reality. Just the simple fact that prophets and prophetesses see, hear, and “feel” multi-dimensionally can make them feel crazy. This is especially true when the important people around them don’t understand this dynamic and/or have no value for their perspectives.
Point to Ponder: Whether you’re a prophet (called by God to the office) or a prophetic person (profoundly gifted in prophecy), you may have experienced feeling like the odd one out. How can you help the people in your life understand this part of your personhood? Ask God to highlight someone to share this with today.
The last thing I want to discuss with you in reference to this tri-dimensional dynamic is the anointing.
Anointing can sound like a big, ambiguous word. Here’s a simple way to look at it: the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon us is what gives us purpose in life and ministry.
The great prophet Isaiah gave us a perfect example of how the anointing affects us when he wrote, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners,” (Isaiah 61:1).
Did you notice that the anointing was for a purpose? The anointing will always be associated with something to do, a purpose, a divine commissioning, and/or a supernatural mission.
It is also important to point out here that the anointing is directly related to the Holy Spirit being “upon me.” The Holy Spirit is in every Believer but not “upon” every Believer.
Paul went on to say, “The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable,” (Romans 11:29). This means that never retracts or takes back the gifts He has given to us, or the calling He has put on our lives. The anointing, however, ebbs and flows with our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
We all know people who have a great call on their life and are extremely gifted, and yet they have no motivation for life; this is often the symptom of somebody who has relationally lost touch with the Holy Spirit. The apostle John directly relates the anointing to abiding in Him.
Check it out for yourself:
“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming,” (1 John 2:27-28).
We really need to read the entire book of 1 John to get the full impact of John’s revelation. But I think the point is clear: the anointing is directly related to abiding in a relationship with God.
Gift Versus Office Recap
Below is a simple chart that summarizes the difference between the gift of prophecy and the office of the prophet and prophetess: