The Gifts Part 61
As we are wrapping up our discussion on the gift of prophecy, there are a few loose ends I would like to tie up, and touch upon certain practices that I’ve seen within the household of faith throughout the years that do more harm than good, and make the hearts of the righteous sad.
One of the more dangerous practices that I’ve seen when it comes to words of prophecy is taking a word that was intended for an individual, and attempting to apply it to an entire body of believers. Know whom God is addressing, whether an individual, a group of individuals, or an entire body, and do not attempt to broaden the scope of the prophecy!
If God tells one individual that He has healed them, and therefore they no longer need to take their heart medication, that word of prophecy was for that individual, and not a mandate that everyone in the congregation taking heart medication should stop taking it. What happens when we attempt to pluralize a prophetic word intended for one individual is that the word will be true and come to pass for the individual for whom it was intended, yet fail for the rest of the group that were talked into receiving it.
‘The Lord has told me that I must do such and such a thing, so we must all do it.’
No, the Lord has told you, that you must do it, therefore it is incumbent upon you to follow through and obey, but it is not incumbent upon the household of faith to do what you as an individual was asked to do.
I have counseled enough distraught individuals who felt as though God had failed them, and were bitter because the words of prophecy they presumed they had received didn’t come to pass, to know that this is a real issue within the congregation of God. Upon further investigation however, when we got to discussing the context of the prophecy, and if they received it personally, the truth of the situation would come out, and inevitably they would confess that it was a word that was given to another, but they thought it could readily apply to their own lives as well.
We cannot grow bitter toward God for not fulfilling a word of prophecy that was never intended for us. We cannot fault God for not following through with a promise He made to someone else, and not to us.
God is not the postal service; He never delivers a message to the wrong address or the wrong recipient, nor does He label prophecies ‘to current tenant’. When words are given, they are clear, direct, and there is no ambiguity concerning whom they were for.
The beauty of the God we serve is that He does not see us as a collective. We are not just faceless names or nameless faces to God, for He knows every one of His children personally, intimately, completely, aware of a single strand of hair falling from our heads. When He gives a word, He is certain of the recipient, as well as all the intricacies of their personal situation, and as such we cannot presume to appropriate for ourselves a word intended for another.
By the same token there are those who receive a word for their family, or a certain individual and attempt to make it law throughout the household of faith, imposing certain practices on believers of which the Bible never spoke, and which the Bible never imposed.
For instance, if an individual feels as though the Lord has told him he should abstain from eating meat, it does not make everyone within the household of faith that still eats meat rebellious or disobedient toward God, because the word was for that individual, and not a new commandment for the entire Body of Christ. When we attempt to impose personal convictions, or personal words of prophecy upon the entire household of faith, and look down upon those that do not fall in line, or that do not have the same convictions, we are no better than the Pharisees of old who took it upon themselves to add to the law and make up their own laws.
It is of the utmost importance that we delineate between personal convictions, and scriptural standards, making the distinction between the two. When it comes to scriptural standards, the word of God is the word of God, and there is no debating it. What the Bible calls sin is sin, no matter how many fools with titles attempt to find loopholes or justifications. Concerning those topics on which the Bible is clear, I am not allowed an opinion, I must simply submit to the word of God, for if my opinion is different than that of the word, then I am in rebellion and my opinion shouldn’t count for much anyway.
When it comes to personal convictions however, just because my personal conviction on wearing a wedding band for example might be different than yours is, it does not make you a sinner for having a different opinion than mine, nor does it make me more righteous for having a different opinion than yours.
When something falls under the personal conviction category, if it is something that God has asked of you that you refuse to submit to it is counted as disobedience toward you, but because He has not asked me to do likewise, it does not count as disobedience toward me.
In the end it’s all about obedience, for obedience is better than sacrifice, so if God asks you to abstain from meat, or sweets, or driving your car, then do as He asks of you, for in your obedience you will have your just reward. Because God has asked it of you however, it does not automatically mean He has asked it of the entire church, and so it is not right to attempt and impose that personal sacrifice that He has commanded of you upon the rest of the congregation.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.