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Growing in God’s prophetic purpose for your life is an incredible journey. He desires to bring you and me into so many depths of revelation concerning His heart and purpose, that I believe we have only just scratched the surface. In John 5:35, Jesus spoke concerning the ministry of John the Baptist and its impact. He said that John was a burning and shining lamp—one who fulfilled his call with spiritual fervency, allowing nothing to get in the way. He bore witness to the Light (John 1:6-8), released revival in the wilderness (Mark 1:4-5), and was feared by kings (Mark 6:20). John embodied the message that he was sent to deliver to such a degree, that those who heard it thought he was the ‘Sender’ himself (Luke 3:15). Following His remarks concerning John, Jesus goes on to make an interesting statement concerning those who preside in the Kingdom. In Matthew 11:11-12, He says that even the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he (he being John). Friends, this is not just a compliment given to every believer who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, neither is it just an automatic designa- tion as some may think. Rather, it is a measuring rod that should be used to evaluate our spiritual fervency and devotion. It not only paints for us a picture of God’s expectation for everyone born in the Kingdom, but it indicates that there is grace given to meet and surpass that fervent standard set by John. Let’s look at that scripture in Matthew a bit closer.
Matthew 11:11-12 says:
11 Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist, but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
The context of Christ’s words here do not indicate that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence namely from its enemies, but that the kingdom of heaven is entered into by force. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament interprets this text as meaning that a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought for with the most ardent zeal and intense exertion. He who possesses a share possesses the profits provided by that very same kingdom. These are benefits that overtake the initial and continuing investments made within that kingdom by a person. What does this mean for us? It means that to receive the full benefits of the Kingdom of God we have to be spiritually fervent and press in for our share. God has done His part and given us access as joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), but we have to do ours in the grace provided in order to experience the fullness of the glorious riches that reside in Christ, and all He purchased for us to be partakers of (Ephesians 1:18). He wants His glory to effervesce mightily from our lives, but we can’t take His enabling grace in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1). May desire rise in our hearts for more! Clearly, John was a fervent vessel. He provided a good example of that spiritual violence, as Jesus could refer to John as one who had indeed pressed in and the greatest amongst those that had come before Him.
But now Jesus looks to us and says, “This is what a believer in my kingdom looks like, and furthermore, I want you to understand that John’s example is minimum wage! Believers coming afterwards will be far more fiery than him.”
As you reorder and rightly align your heart to prioritize Him, you will quickly realize much will be added to your arsenal in respect to purpose. Many read the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33 and think of only receiving natural provision for putting the things of the Kingdom first, but I believe spiritual equipping comes with the package. This is that which comes from the Holy Spirit in order to best serve the purpose to which you are called. These include both impartation of the charismatic gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7- 10) and the cultivation of the character fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Some argue that they are for character and not the charismatic gifts, and this has often been due to trauma that came from the misuse of the gifts by certain individuals. However, like the growth of a tree you can have roots growing down deep and simultaneously have a trunk that grows up high with branches that stretch out wide. Both dynamics can be real- ized at the same time and we must go after the fullness of what God has purchased for us through all Jesus has done. This is Holy Spirit’s portion for you. He who has come to lead you into all truth ( John 16:13), will take the deep things of God and reveal them to your spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-12), empowering you with greater understanding of your ambassadorial role in the Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Interestingly, of all these great gifts you will receive there is one that you are encouraged to covet, and that is the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:39). Why you may ask? This is because it enables you to release God’s mind and heart for the encouragement, edification and comfort of others (1 Corinthians 14:3). It is an amazing building tool that releases light into darkness, and brings clarity where there is confusion! It also causes the unbeliever who encounters an accurate demonstration of the gift to know that the God you serve is real and not fictitious, releasing deep conviction that can often result in conversion (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). No wonder Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice ( John 10:27), as it is so necessary for our own personal walk of intimacy with God in navigating life, as well as releasing His impact to a lost world. Now if you want to go further into the foundational dynamics of the gift of prophecy, having a thorough biblical understanding of its function in the Body of Christ today, I recommend our eCourse called Competent To Prophesy. However, I want to challenge those who have already embraced the gift to go a step further.
As I stated earlier, sometimes we get comfortable with a basic level of proficiency and a jack of all trades attitude, and we don’t go onward to the next level in our growth process. When it comes to the prophetic gift, I call this becoming a prophetic postman. So are you functioning as a prophetic postman in your prophetic proficiency? You may be scratching your head and wondering what in the world I am talking about, so let me quickly explain. A postman is one who receives the message from the sender and quickly goes his way to deliver it. From the look of the envelope, the postman can determine the company that sent it as well as the nature of its contents, but he or she has no idea concerning the details of the message.
The postman is satisfied to just deliver the message and do his job. There may be a few hellos shared and for some, gifts of appreciation from the receiver at special occasions around the year. However, the postman tends to have little to no attachment to the person receiving the message or the person sending it. Usually someone who has basic proficiency in the pro- phetic operates at this level. They receive a word, possess a general idea concerning the nature of the word, can give a few details surrounding the circumstance but that is about it. They can communicate the word from a general perspective which can surely bring a measure of encouragement, consolation and comfort, but not always transformation. Let me give an example below: