One time I received a prophecy that didn’t resonate with me. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” While I believe in God’s word and true prophets speaking to God’s people at the same time, I also believe that prophecies should be tested and you should test whether there is truth in it. If it has qualities that “are true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable, then think on these things” (My paraphrase, Philippians 4:8. NLT).
Prophecy is to build up the church. While I believe prophets that give you words that aren’t from God they don’t always do it maliciously. As a person myself who tries to hear prophetically, everything I hear isn’t always from the Lord. It can be your own wisdom or sometimes, I believe, from the evil one himself. That is why you should test the spirits (1 John 4:1. ESV).
I have been hurt by the spirit of prophecy by the church as well as comforted. I have received concrete direction that was hard to hear but spoke to situations in my life. One time when I was told to spend more time with Papa God. I was shocked because I thought I was spending a lot of time with Him. But at the same, honored that He wanted to spend more time with me. I mattered that much to Him. And I must have been distracted at that time, looking back that I didn’t spend more time with God. This prophetic word allowed me to really shape a more real and deeper relationship with God.
But one time I received a prophetic word that struck my heart like an arrow. It felt like they twisted Scripture for their own advantage and it felt like it came from a judgmental place. It came from 1 Samuel 15:22 and it reads, “Obedience is better than sacrifice” (NLT). The pastors who gave me this word said it applies to obeying God prophetically. For instance, if God told me to go talk to this person and I didn’t, I wouldn’t be obeying God. Prophecy is a muscle that you develop. You live and learn if you are hearing from God or not. I don’t believe I am being disobedient if I think I am not hearing from God and decide not to talk to that person. Life is complex. I can’t be squeezed into a prophetic exercise.
Also prophecy is such a personal thing. It’s not an order or ritual. I should participate in it with a joyful heart unto God. I have always done that and now if I do what this prophecy words and “obey” all the time; it wouldn’t be smart and I would be like a Pharisee, under the law and not under grace.
I believe God works hand in hand with my growing ability to discern if I hear from Him or not. And He showed off His patience like He never had before. This experience with these misguided pastors taught me God has an elastic tolerance and unconditional love for me. And He is proud of me and appreciative of me faithfully serving Him for almost 25 years! 🙂
I hear the Lord whisper to me (and this can apply to you as well), “It’s not like 3 strikes and you are out. I am more patient than people give more credit for. I am love. While there are things I do not tolerant, I respect people’s free will. Sweet Carly, I am with you and I am not judging you for thinking for yourself.”
This confirmation brings a lot of warmth to me as I continue to write. Also I remind myself that “Obedience is better than sacrifice” is from the Old Testament. We still follow many things from the Old Testament like the Ten Commandments. But do we still do animal sacrifices (which was the Bible verse background my prophetic word) and have to be circumcised? We aren’t being disobedient if we don’t do animal sacrifices and have to be circumcised in order to follow God’s law now. This was pre-Jesus. We still shouldn’t have any gods before us and not covet another’s possessions but seriously, would we have put the blood of animals on our doors? They will not be consequences if we don’t do these things. So in a nutshell, when you hear things from the Old Testament, we should use discernment and the context clues to see how it applies to you today. Not everything will be applicable in the Old Testament for you today. So, “Obedience doesn’t replace sacrifice,” seems to be Old-Testament-not-under-grace-thinking, in my honest opinion. While there may be nuggets of wisdom one can receive from this Scripture the way it was presented to me by the pastors in reference to prophecy didn’t resonate with me. I my school of philosophy is if it doesn’t stick, let it go. 🙂
~ Carly (My Ink Smears) ~
© Carly Wiggins 2018