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The Gift of Prophecy


By Dr. Charles Stanley

 

Have you ever wondered why Christians behave as they do? What factors motivate our actions? One important answer is the nature of a believer’s spiritual gift. Whatever you do in life, you will do your best and find the greatest sense of fulfillment by using your gift in the power of the Holy Spirit. The gift of prophecy is one of seven motivational gifts identified by God’s Word in Romans 12:6-8.

Prophecy means much more than to foretell the future. It also means “to speak the truth” or “to proclaim.” Very seldom does the Lord God reveal a future event to us. The motivational gift of prophecy is primarily concerned with speaking forth the truth. The Word of God helps us to understand characteristics and avoid misunderstandings associated with the gift of prophecy, and it shows us how we use that gift when we walk in the Spirit.

1. Those with the gift of prophecy have a strong need for verbal expression. Believers with this gift are likely to be the very first to speak in any situation. They rise and state their feelings, particularly when they observe some act of injustice. Peter is an excellent example of someone with the gift of prophecy, because he was always the first disciple to speak out. Those with this gift don’t necessarily speak publicly, but they often give counsel. They tell us exactly what we should do, then they check with us to see if we did it.

2. Those with the gift of prophecy have a strong ability to discern the character and motives of other people. Christians with this gift may walk into a room and immediately sense any harmony or discord among those present. They are very sensitive to the hidden motives of people, because the Spirit of God has given them the power of discernment. They are also committed to God, and therefore prone to correcting behavior that isn’t true to His Word. Christians with the gift of prophecy are often misunderstood because of their quick judgments.

3. Those with the gift of prophecy become wholeheartedly involved. Believers with this gift devote all their effort to every activity in which they become involved. Their nature is to pay whatever price is necessary to get a job done. Therefore, they have little patience with those who continue to spend valuable time laboring too much over a decision. They make their choice quickly, get to work, and expect others to do the same. Peter exemplified this tendency when he jumped into the water at Jesus’ invitation to step from his boat and walk on the sea (Matthew 14:25-29). These believers work with all their heart and conviction. 

4. Those with the gift of prophecy are open to correction. Because they are committed to obeying God’s Word, these believers are willing to be shown their spiritual shortcomings. They enjoy seeing righteousness in the lives of others, but they want to see it in their own lives as well. Therefore, they are dedicated to doing the right thing. Peter doubted Jesus when He told him to go out to sea and put down the fishing nets, but when the bounty of Jesus came through, Peter saw his mistake, and fell at the feet of Jesus saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8).

5. Those with the gift of prophecy are extremely loyal. In marriage, among their children or parents, or in any other setting, believers with the gift of prophecy always show loyalty. The gift will not allow them to be fickle, and they will stand beside even those friends or leaders who have done wrong, not to justify their sin but to help them. Jesus once asked His disciples if they, too, were going to desert Him when so many others did. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

6. Those with the gift of prophecy are willing to suffer for what is right. Believers with this spiritual gift are greatly opposed to wrong and injustice. They will take a stand for what is right, even if it requires sacrifice. Peter wrote, “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed” (1 Peter 3:14). How many Christians today are willing to stand by the church during hard times?

7. Those with the gift of prophecy are persuasive in defining truth. You will never be in doubt about the beliefs of someone with the gift of prophecy. They speak their convictions with great clarity. They also validate their beliefs through the Word of God. Believers with this gift will always make certain that their words are understood, because they want their listeners to do the right thing. Therefore, they will take care to speak at the level of understanding that is appropriate for that audience.

8. What are some common misunderstandings about the gift of prophecy? Those with the gift of prophecy are often seen as being intolerant because of their strong sense of right and wrong. They are thought to be poor listeners because they are eager to proclaim the truth. Their frankness may be viewed as harshness, and their interest in the whole group may be misinterpreted as lack of interest in a particular individual. Because they find new methods of accomplishment, they are accused of using gimmicks. These believers focus on their personal decision, and others accuse them of neglecting spiritual growth. Finally, their public boldness and strict standards can hinder them from experiencing intimate personal relationships.

9. What if someone with this gift fails to walk in the Spirit? Those with the gift of prophecy are always truthful in the Spirit, but walking in the flesh will make them deceptive. Their sincerity in proclaiming the truth will quickly become hypocrisy when they are not allowing the Spirit to direct their lives, and their strong commitment to living morally will give way to impurity. Although this gift encourages boldness, when we live in the flesh we become fearful and ineffective. When walking in the flesh, this believer will be less forgiving and more prone to cruelly reject others.

Walking in the Spirit makes all the difference in your life. We are joyful and fulfilled when we let God guide and direct how we use the gifts He gives us. Yet we are ineffective and frustrated when we try to live under our own power. My friend, it is essential that you and I walk in the Spirit every day, whatever we do. When we walk in His power, we keep in step with God’s plan for our lives. Then, when we need to be corrected, God will send someone with the gift of prophecy to correct us in a loving and constructive way. Do you have a humble, correctable attitude? If so, you will grow stronger and more obedient, and then you can begin to operate effectively through your spiritual gift.

Characteristics of someone with the gift of prophecy: 

  • A strong need to express himself verbally.
  • A strong ability to discern the character and motives of other people.
  • Wholehearted involvement in whatever he is doing.
  • Very open to correction.
  • Extremely loyal.
  • Willingness to suffer for what is right.
  • Persuasive in defining truth.

 

Excerpt from Ministering Through Spiritual Gifts, by Dr. Charles Stanley.

Related Resources

Related Audio

The Gift of Prophecy

Learn why the gift of prophecy is more about speaking the truth than about predicting the future, and how it is essential to the proper functioning of the Body of Christ. (Listen to The Gift of Prophecy.)

 

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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  • July 22, 2013 10:50 PM

    by

    I am in agreement with everything from the article to the comments that precede mine! There is not one point or comment that I can disagree with and that is amazing because my personality is such that (hmmm...is it my personality or is it a trait of the gift...I'm not sure now but...) usually, if Iet's say I am having a group conversation with nine other people. For some reason, I'm always of one opinion on the subject and the other nine are all on another opinion. I guess what I'm doing is just reiterating how I find this article and the comments to be so amazing because for ONCE in my life, I'm in agreement with the majority. Hahaha. Back to the gift of prophecy, however, I read in one of the comments "why me". I never asked that question but I will say this....my parents were idol worshippers (to put it loosely). I don't ever remember going to a Christ based church with my parents, but yet, for some reason I knew that God had his hand on me and called me to walk in this gift. Me, the daughter of idol worshippers.
  • July 06, 2013 06:56 PM

    by

    I have recently encountered a woman that wanted to be paid for her "services". She was also a pastor of a church. What are your thoughts?
  • June 28, 2013 09:25 AM

    by

    The Lord has been speaking to me a lot through dreams since I was a little girl, even about things that were going to happen, I've even dreamed of hell and heaven, laying hands on the sick and Seeing them healed. Am just wondering time to time what my calling is. There is one of the gifts I have been struggling with, A lot of of times I can know if there is unclean spirit, I can even know when my children are going to be unwell, or sometime if something happens I see it in my dream that the cause of it was the unclean spirit. But Sometimes i don't feel like I have the power of the spiritual war.
  • June 20, 2013 02:24 PM

    by

    Hello May 29, th, I have the same diffculty with the gift of Prophecy as you do. Many Pastors don't teach about this gift because it isn't easily understood and they don't want to be corrected by someone who has this gift. Prophets/phophetess set order to any situation. When God shows things that are bad or good go to him in prayer and ask him how to handle it. Whatever God gives you to say feed your audience not only what he gives you, but back it up with scriptue. Many people who are prophets are concidered to be crazy and judgemental. But if you speak what God have given you to say, no matter what people say about you your God's mouth piece for that moment. Something else that may help is that in the middle of the night when God wakes you up read chapters of your Bible and pray, he may need to speak of see something the following day on the job, in the community, and in your church. Be advised that the more you speak out what God has given you the stronger you gift of prophecy will get. God will speak to you more frequenctly. I have had to help pastors in various churches and they didn't always like what God gave me to say. I also had to speak to family members who abandoned me because of the gift God has given me. Also be prayerful about who you talk with and who you befriend, cause satin would like you to use you give for his purposes like many psychics and Tario card readers, and other forms of witch craft that are present in our world. But the Bible says pray without ceaseing and since you have the gift of prophecy do just that pray! the devil will try to speak against what God has told you to make you doubt God and what he has said, but if God said to say it say it!
  • May 29, 2013 05:50 PM

    by

    Since I was a child I have been able to see things happen before they actually do. Yes I am a believer but I don't understand why me. It's not always happy things I see. In fact some are quite disturbing. Any one whom can shed a bit of light on this please respond.
  • May 06, 2013 12:16 PM

    by

    I am jusmping with excitement. For a long time having had lived with all the above characterics I have been ridiculed even to a point where I doubted myself or my NORMALITY/RELEVANCE to society. But in my spirits brews truth, justice, I yearn for it 'THE NAKED TRUTH IS BETTER THAN A WELL DRESSED LIE'. This quote lit in my spirit when I read it. Even at a tender age I could always discern truth/right from the opposite even in difficult situations like the church. So I'm releaved and am totally dedicated to bring this calling to fruitition. Bless you
  • February 25, 2013 11:46 AM

    by

    Thank you, thank you,thank you! This makes so much sense to me. I've been running from this for while and wondering why I feel as if I am so misunderstood and judged. This has lifted a huge burden off of me. It's so much better to know what you know what you know and this is so plain and easy to understand and accept. Thank you!
  • July 31, 2012 08:41 PM

    by

    Hi, this is Lizzie. I so enjoyed reading this because it's something I've always known, but was told in church that it was associated with bad things. Wow. Thanks for your guidance! Big hug!
  • July 20, 2012 03:08 PM

    by

    HI, KELLY I KNOW, I HAVE THE SAME THING. BUT I NOW CAN PUT A NAME TO IT. THIS IS GREAT!!
  • February 07, 2012 01:43 PM

    by

    My name is Kelly ,i have the gift of prophercy .I was so confused expecially when people did not understand me including my husband when i say things and the come to passed,they get scared of me.but with this information i feel better. thanks

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