In my last two posts I have provided some examples of ‘prophetic possibilities.’ Here I want to dig a little deeper into the scriptural foundation. As part of that I think a quote from Mike Bickle helps us maintain our focus. He said, “The Holy Spirit gives us prophetic impressions not so we can be known as a prophet, but in order to help other people.” (Mike Bickle, Growing in the Prophetic page 54, 2008 version). This fits with 1 Corinthians 13 where Paul lays out that love should be the motivating force in our exercise of spiritual gifts.
So, what of the scriptural foundation? The bedrock is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Scripture tells us that one outcome of the birthing of the church in the First Century is all believers, men and women, would be able to prophesy (Acts 2:18). If we still doubt, Paul was very explicit.
31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 1 Corinthians 14:31 (NKJV)
More importantly, Jesus told us we should be able to hear His voice and follow it.
4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. John 10:4 (NKJV)
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27 (NKJV)
Jesus here is describing how natural shepherds functioned in Israel and applying it to Himself. The sheep grew up around the shepherd and became familiar with the shepherd’s voice. When the shepherd wanted to lead them somewhere the sheep were called and followed the shepherd because they knew the shepherd’s voice. His expectation was, and is, that through spending time with Him we will learn to hear His voice and when He calls we will respond and follow.
What else do we have for scriptural support? How about a passage that says nothing about spiritual gifts but rather about knowing the mind of Christ? After all, if we are to speak on Jesus behalf we want to share His heart not ours.
9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:9-13 (NKJV)
In this passage Paul references the OT teaching of not knowing the things Yahweh knows. He then says the way we know the mind of God is by paying attention to the Spirit of God within us because He wants to reveal the things of God to willing hearts. Let me be very practical here. I had written this post and was going to send it out but I had no peace in my heart (Col. 3:15 says His peace is to be our guide and decision maker). After I went to bed and reflected on it the Holy Spirit gave me some insight on what to write and I rewrote it.
This is an example of hearing the voice of my Shepherd. Over the years I have learned that one way to know His voice is peace, or lack thereof. In fact I think this is one of the most common ways He speaks to His children. Many times there has been some ‘good’ thing I wanted to do but there was a small nagging sense of unease within. The times I paid attention His peace came and I changed direction. More than once I ignored this and pressed ahead only to not have things work out.
So yes, I am still learning to pay attention to the voice of my Shepherd and have had enough experience being obedient to know that He never has, and never will, lead me astray. So, let’s be sheep who want to just be around our Shepherd so we can hear His heart and speak life into the hearts of others.
A fellow sheep:-)