There is a concern these days pertaining to the number of people who have received prophetic words which do not come to pass. It has been responsible for the disappointment and discouragement of many – even some who leave the faith because they decide if God cannot keep these promises, why should they believe in Him any longer? Often these words bring division, as they do not bring agreement or blessing from those in true spiritual covering over the person.
A prophetic word can activate a spiritual process, almost like a vehicle set into ‘drive’.
First of all, let’s look at the words we receive. They are often words of love, of hope, and a bright future. Does this line up with the nature of God? Absolutely.
See Ephesians 1: 3-5; John 3:16; Romans 8:28
What about the prophetic words that speak of a big ministry, wealth or fame? Or the the words which speak of a coming move, a coming mate, a new vehicle, or a dated event?
I’d like to quickly address why some of these words either result in divisive fruit, or in no fruit, i.e. they do not come true.
First of all, a prophetic word can activate a spiritual process, almost like vehicle set into ‘drive’. The engine is started, and the car begins to roll. Now, what will happen if this vehicle has no driver? Hopefully, at best, no damage.
It may slowly move forward and stop gently at the first obstacle it encounters – a tree perhaps, or a hill. If we’re not so blessed, it may damage a person, a structure, or something else of value.
What is necessary for a vehicle to be operated safely?
- someone with the knowledge to operate this vehicle, and with the desire to operate it responsibly
- someone who knows how to get to the destination they need to arrive at
- someone who knows the laws of the land in order to drive the vehicle legally
- someone who can pay the costs in order to keep the vehicle in healthy and lawful running order
#1 – Many people receive words that they are not currently “qualified to operate”.
For instance, ‘Joe’ received a word about being given a huge healing ministry with thousands of people under him. This excited him tremendously, as it confirmed in his heart what he felt God told him to do. He then told all his close friends, who also confirmed they felt he would move quickly into this ministry. He told his parents and his pastor, who, much to his disappointment said they felt he was not ready for such a ministry at this time.
Joe took a step back, trying to be submissive to leadership, and prayed about it. As he pondered in his heart, he felt that his parents and pastor just didn’t have the faith or the understanding of the modern times, and new things that God was doing. So he chose to move ahead, feeling God was his covering, and he was moving in obedience to the Lord’s leading. He felt that stepping away from his parental and pastoral covering was a difficult thing to do in one way, but he had to “obey what I feel God is saying. I only live once. Time is ticking, God has spoken, and if that means sacrificing my relationships, then I have to choose which one is more important, and I choose God.”
He grieves, and feels a bit like the martyr who has laid his life down for the sake of the gospel.
Who is right, Joe, or his parents and pastor?
Let’s look for a moment at their respective lives:
Joe’s parents have lived decades longer than Joe, and are ‘battle seasoned’, having gone through many mistakes and wars, and learned well from them. They love the Lord, serve practically, and are not willing to see anyone suffer needlessly.
Joe’s pastor follows the leading of the Holy Spirit with all his heart, but freely acknowledges he is not perfect, just willing to be obedient and led by the Lord.
Joe is 21. He has not finished school or a trade, because he felt God would provide for his needs. So, against his parents wishes, he left and spent the next six months at ministry schools and conferences, “getting equipped,” as he said, and making the right contacts with other leaders in order to become known in the church community. Most everyone he met initially liked him, and there was no doubt he carried an anointing. Many people were healed as Joe prayed for them, and this gave him additional favour. Pastors began seeing him as a great drawing card to bring people in to the church, healings were abundant, and he was frequently called to minister at meetings. He felt this confirmed God’s blessings on his ministry, and completely justified his decision to move outside of parental and pastoral opinion. Two small problems seemed to crop up continually. He never had enough money to support himself, and frequently borrowed from others. He boarded with friends, but did not offer to pay or help with expenses, feeling this freed God to bless them.
Secondly, pastors and leaders began taking him aside, and saying he needed to control his words, which often came out as harsh and judgmental.
Two years went by, and little comments began circulating about his negative words and irresponsible lifestyle. Invitations came less and less, until Joe realized he needed to move further away, because “although I was once blinded, I see now that the people here don’t recognize God’s anointing,” and he borrowed money and a friend’s truck to move to another location, further away.
Here, the process repeated, and within 2-3 years, he moved again. When it happened a third time, he began to get very bitter against the “people who are too deceived to recognize when God’s is talking to them.”
Although this story is fictional, I have built it from a composite of actual people, observed for over forty years, whose lives did not proceed into long term blessings or good results. It is not age, gender or situation specific. In the best cases, these people ground into a poverty stricken ‘hamster-wheel’ type of existence – sometimes up, sometimes down, both spiritually, emotionally and materially.
In the worst cases, lives were badly damaged or lost, reputations ruined, pride became the biggest barrier, and heartbreak ensued.
In order to answer this, I’ll refer to a startling principle the Lord taught me. He said this is responsible for many of the deceptive prophetic words being delivered today. (N.B, I am not saying the majority of prophetic words are deceptive, I am attempting to explain why there are many deceptive words being spoken, and what often makes them that way!)
#2 – If we have put an idol in our lives, be it intense desire, pride, rebellion, unbelief, self-pity, etc. and then ask the Lord to speak to us, He will often send us a word that agrees with the idol in our hearts.
Let’s look at the Lord’s own words in Ezekiel 14:3-6
Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. [Or, put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their face – KJV]
Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak to them and say to them, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes according to the multitude of his idols, that I may seize the house of Israel by their hearts because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.’”
Therefore say to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.’”
In other words, if we have put an idol in our lives, be it intense desire, pride, rebellion, unbelief, self-pity, etc. and then ask the Lord to speak to us, He will often send us a word that agrees with the idol in our hearts,because the word of truth can’t get past the blockage. We won’t let it, because we want our own way in some area. Of course, many times we don’t realize we have set up a blockage, or idol, which is why God gives us those in spiritual authority.
If we have those who love us, and who also hear from God, they may have opinions differing from ours, because God has given them a perspective in order to help us, or free us from some sin we’re unaware is affecting us, or a trap the enemy is setting for us.
One of the greatest blockages and often the most difficult to acknowledge is pride.
A statement I hear repeatedly from the “Joe-type” of people regarding their opposers is this, “They’re in deception.”
An interesting way to test this theory is to go to those same opposers, and humbly ask them to please tell us what they see in us that may be contrary to God’s nature and will, then truly listen.
It is fascinating to me to see the amount of resistance I see in the “Joes” to perform this simple exercise. Generally the reasons have a common foundation, “I’m accountable to God, not to man. They’re obviously not hearing from God.”
With this statement, we dismiss those God has placed in our lives as our greatest allies and protectors.
It is often very difficult to see a root of pride at work to stumble us. It is one of the greatest blockages, and often the most difficult to see and acknowledge. However, if we will humble ourselves, and choose to listen to those in authority, we will save ourselves from much suffering and opposition. Why?
Because God has set authority and relationship in our lives to bless and guard us from injury. Have you noticed how often we are willing to accept the blessings from them, but not their words of caution? Have you noticed how our thinking they are in deception coincides with when their opinion differs from ours?
I have great concerns just now because I see this scenario at work quite plentifully these days. God is trying to birth us into a new level of power and unity, and the enemy is hard at work to prevent it. Of course, if we see him at work, we could resist, but when it feels like it’s our own opinion, we tend to embrace it much more readily, and fight against those whom God actually wants us to partner with.
This is just an observation, but I felt the Lord wanted us to give words to this situation, in order that we can be praying.
Who is the real enemy here?
We must learn to recognize what is really going on with the opposition we face – who the real enemy is here. Although it is not each other, quite often it is ourselves!
This may be a large reason why our prophetic destiny is not yet released. When we acknowledge our current inexperience and need for Godly qualification– and listen to those God has chosen to speak into our lives, we will set into motion the qualities He has ordained for our success – truth, hard work, grace, and humility, for God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. When He sees us taking these steps He comes alongside and enables our efforts, in order to achieve the longings He has put in our hearts.