As Christians, we’ve heard of the ministry gifts the Holy Spirit gives God’s people to build up the community of faith. Hopefully, we even know what our particular gifts are. If not, we can always ask God to reveal this as we reflect on the various gifts listed in Romans 12 and First Corinthians 12.
For instance, some of us have a gift of wisdom, discernment, exhortation, or healing, while others have a God-given ability to teach, preach, evangelize, or do administrative work. Usually, we can recognize those gifts in the Christian community, but what about the gift of prophecy? Do we recognize that gift in other people of faith – or in ourselves?
According to a search on Bible Gateway, the word “prophet” comes up at least 450 to 500 times. However, we might have heard more about false prophets, which, ironically, the Bible only mentions a couple dozen times. Apparently, that’s enough to frighten us! But, that's enough of that!
Dare we ask God to reveal the prophets in our midst? Or – to be really daring – dare we ask, “Lord, am I a prophet?” God might stun you with a “yes!”
Anxieties over false prophets can make us wary of that gift in others – and unaware of that gift in ourselves. But, if we dare to pray about it and consider this possibility, we can tell if these descriptions fit us or someone we know.
- Are you drawn to read God’s word, again and again?
- Do your values often differ from those of other people?
- Do you see where things are headed long before they’re there?
- Do you recognize the Lord (or His absence) in the people or situations around you?
- Is truth truly important to you?
- Are you apt to look beneath the surface and beyond the way things seem?
- Can you see into the heart?
- Would you rather please God than people?
- Can you identify problems but also see solutions?
- Do you long to see wrongs corrected?
- Are you sensitive to God’s movement?
- Do you often feel an urgency to pray?
- Do you encourage God’s people to seek and obey Him?
- Do you speak up when no one else will?
Many people think of a prophet as judgmental or some kind of psychic able to tell the future, but that’s not it at all. A gift of prophecy does come with power to discern what’s going on and to see where it’s likely to end up, but, more often, a prophetic gift helps God’s people to wake up to spiritual realities and gain courage to use whatever gifts they have been given to serve the Lord.
Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2020