Thu 10 Sep 2009
Has someone given you a personal prophecy, or interpreted a dream that you have had? Here are some tests that you can put a prophetic word through, to check whether or not it is from God.
In 1 Thess 5:20-21, the Bible says, ‘Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.’
A personal prophetic word, or prophetic dream, has the potential to be a great blessing to you. It can help encourage, strengthen and grow you (1 Cor 14:3), reveal to you that God has you personally on His heart, and remind you that He has a great purpose for your life. When someone shares information about you and your hopes and dreams that only God would know, it is a miracle. You encounter Jesus!
We need to remember, however, that a prophecy should be weighed up carefully (1 Cor 14:29).
Here are some tests that you can apply to a prophecy, or part of a prophecy, to check whether or not it is from God. Note, these principles also apply to dream interpretation when it is given to you by another person:
1. The Character Test
Does the prophetic word or interpretation reflect the character of Jesus? Does it sound like something God would say to you?
He is loving and redemptive (that means He has a good outcome for your life, He has a purpose, He wants to bring you closer to Him). This is true even when a prophecy contains a warning.
2. The Bible Test
Does the prophetic word line up with principles God has laid out in the Bible? A prophecy should never go against what the Bible says—for example a prophecy that you should leave your spouse, cause disunity in the church or commit sin would not agree with scripture!
3. The Heart Check Test
1 John 2:20 says, ‘But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.’
Does the prophecy or message sit well with your spirit, or does it make you feel uncomfortable and give you a warning ‘check’ in response? You don’t have to receive a prophecy if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
4. The Confirmation Test
A personal prophecy should confirm what God has already spoken to you, or be consistent with the way He has wired you. If the prophecy does not immediately bring confirmation, it may over time, so feel free to shelve it.
Do not make a sudden change of direction in response to a personal prophecy. If you feel led to make a change in response to a prophetic message brought through another person, remember that God never pressures you. The following test will be helpful:
5. The Leadership Test
Ask, would my church leadership be comfortable with this word? Submitting a prophecy, along with your response to it, to a leader in the church is a wise way to check prophetic guidance. Having another opinion from someone who is mature in their Christian walk and who also knows you can be helpful.
6. The Time Test
Hab 2:3 says, ‘For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.’
You won’t know whether some prophecies are from God until you have given them time to be fulfilled. If you are unsure about a prophetic word, it is OK to shelve a prophecy, put it aside and review it at a later date.
7. The Prophet Test
Do you know the person prophesying, and are they known to the leaders of your church or recognised in the wider church for their gift? Don’t accept a personal prophecy from just anyone. Jesus said that some people would prophesy in His name but not actually know Him (Matt 7:22-23). He also said to watch out for false prophets (Matt 7:15-16) and that you could tell by their fruit, i.e. their character and what their lives are producing.
If the person who is giving you the prophecy is unknown to you or your church leaders, is not submitted to leadership, or whose life does not reflect the character of Christ, do not receive the prophetic word outright.
A word given by someone who has a prophetic gift but is living an ungodly lifestyle may be partly right, which can be very confusing. If this is the case, the prophecy may contain something that is ‘off.’ It is a bit like emails that come with attachments that contain a virus. The message in the email may be right and good, but when you open it, something that is bad for your computer is also downloaded with the message. So we need to take care WHO we are receiving prophetic input from.
A prophecy that is contaminated by an issue that is out of order in the person prophesying can pull you off the track God has for you unless you put it through the above checks. This is a reminder not to be impressed with an external show of natural charisma or even giftedness, but also to watch for character and integrity.
One time I was listening as a prophetic team brought a prophecy to a young woman at a training session. One of the young guys in the team seemed to have a powerful prophetic gift. However at one part of the ‘prophecy’ he came out with a message that had a suggestive innuendo about the girl’s physical appearance. Although the rest of the prophecy sounded good, I felt that it was probable he had a sin issue that was coming through in his prophecy.
Another thing to be wary of, is prophecy that is flattering or that attracts you to the person prophesying rather than drawing you closer to Jesus. When it comes to personal prophecy, it is OK to ‘eat the meat and spit out the bones.’
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church