Being Led by the Spirit in Prophecy...Through Church Leadership

Thursday, October 10, 2013

1 Corinthians 14 teaches that when it comes to prophecy in corporate worship, we are to bring our word and let others weigh what is said.  But that can cause a few problems for some, particularly those who are more independent in spirit.  All humans are born with a tendency toward rebellion, which we cloak in a more acceptable word called independence.  But part of prophesying in corporate worship is learning to be interdependent, and that comes by following the leadership of the Spirit through the leadership of others.

God has placed wise and gifted men and women in places of leadership in the church for one reason:  to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. These people are there to help us grow into maturity in Jesus.  Learning is a huge part of that.  We learn by being taught.  And teaching often comes in the form of "no," "not yet," and "not right now."

If and when you bring a word during corporate worship, bring it to those who are weighing words, and leave it there.  That takes a HUGE amount of trust in God.  After all, you truly believe you've heard from God about something, right? And you deeply believe He wants it shared, right?  But do you also believe that those who are weighing words are being used by God to lead the body and to equip you?  If so, then you must also believe that God may want to teach you something else.  Perhaps He wants to teach you about patience, or trust in God, or how to perceive the voice of the Spirit better, or how to better craft the prophetic word so it will be more profitable for everyone.  Or maybe it is something else altogether!

Inherent in this situation is the truth that leaders are people, which means they're fallen.  Therefore, not they're not perfect, which means their leadership isn't perfect.  Problem is, that can cause some people a lot of angst.  Maybe you're one of those.  Maybe you take it personally when you're turned away, or when you're told your word is not for that moment, not for the entire group, or not very clear at that moment.  How do you respond in such cases?  Do you walk away feeling dejected or rejected?  Do you walk back to your seat questioning altogether whether or not you ever heard from God in the first place?  Please read this next statement carefully: these responses are the wrong direction to go.  Your prophetic word and its reception is not an indicator of your security or identity in Jesus Christ.  This means that no matter whether you give a word or not, you are a son of the Father, a brother to King Jesus, and a temple where the Holy Spirit dwells.  Let no human, demon, or emotional thought tell you otherwise!

Instead, realizing that leaders are human, there's another direction to go.  Find them afterwards, and ask to speak to them off to the side, or in private somewhere.  Explain your desire to learn more about prophecy so that you can be used of God to encourage, strengthen or comfort others.  Affirm your desire to be obedient to 1 Corinthians 14, and that you earnestly desire to prophesy.  Then ask for help in how you can grow in this gift.  Feel free to ask them why they decided to not use your word.  Because in that answer you'll learn more about prophecy and you'll understand how God leads them to lead the corporate worship.

I've found personally that when God does not lead the leaders to use my word in corporate worship, usually there is another place and time and person for which He wants to use it.  Sometimes the fact of the matter is that I did in fact receive a word from God, but I simply needed the Spirit's leadership on when He wanted me to share it.  By not allowing me to share it in corporate worship, He directed it to the person He did want me to share it with.  Other times, while I think my word may be clear in my own head, it is not so clear to others, which means that often prophetic words are a matter of perception.  This means that if those weighing words can't or don't perceive it the way I do, then mostly likely other people will not perceive it either, which in turn means it probably won't be so helpful to everyone.

From these incidents in the past I've learned a valuable lesson about bringing words in corporate worship:  GOD is running things, and if I get all bent out of shape that I'm not able to share my word, and go home with my feelings hurt, I suddenly make the corporate worship about me.  This means I personally miss out on what God wants to show me about prophecy.  I am cutting myself off from learning more.  If I say I want to learn more and desire to prophesy more, and then I choose a pathway of rejection and insecurity, how will I ever actually learn?  Prophecy begins with a firm, secure, concrete, tangible sense of blessing in your life.  It flows out of an undeniable sense of God's affirmation of your sonship in His family.  If this is not firmly in place in your life, then start with that above all else.  Then watch with amazement as prophecy begins to flow so naturally and readily through your soul and mouth!

About the Author: Rob is a follower of Jesus at Jubilee Church.  From there he pursues Jesus' mission at Revive Consignment as the Business & Operations Development Director, as well as at Jubilee Church of Atlanta, in Woodstock, GA. From there he envisions and pursues missional-shaped business for the kingdom. He and his wife Sherri have been married for 20 years and together have three sons and a daughter. Rob believes the mission of the gospel is summed up in four simple phrases: know God, obey Jesus, make disciples, and plant churches. This is the pursuit of his life, as well as the point of his blog.

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