QUALIFICATIONS OF A PROPHET
By Chad Taylor
A PROPHETIC ERA
It is a common understanding that we are in a prophetic era according to the book of Joel and then later confirmed in the 2nd chapter of Acts. It is a prophetic people that have the capacity to carry His word into a hostile and violent world and cause it to cry out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" What could possibly qualify us for such a monumental task? What could possibly give us the impact that we so desperately need to change the course of cities and nations? Must I shout if from the roof tops! Nothing less than the heart of the Father!
Look at David for a moment, a king, a psalmist, a slayer of giants, but even more importantly, a man after God's own heart! This was the qualification of heaven that made this ruddy shepherd boy king of Israel and prophet of the Most High God. Yet in this present hour, if you read a popular prophetic book, attend a prophetic conference, say a token prayer, and then suddenly you are Moses overlooking rebellious Israel! Yet never taking the heart breaking, soul crushing, mind transforming, reputation destroying time with the Chief Apostle of our faith, Jesus Christ! We just suddenly take upon ourselves the mantle of Elijah, but never having paid the price of obedience that Elisha paid!
Prophets in these days are mass produced instead of tested and tried. Like an assembly line we process prophets, never comprehending that they are not man made but God made. They are not created in conferences and prophetic seminars, but rather in the womb and ordained by God Himself. "Before you were born I sanctified you..." The only fingerprints that should be on the prophet's heart are God's. (Jer. 1:5)
First you must make the awesome sacrifice of time and dream, aspirations, even life itself, and sit at the Master's feet and take on His nature and heart, then and only then can you take on the responsibility of prophet and teacher of Israel. Let His face be the face that you first see before mans. Let it be heavens opinion that rules your heart and not human persuasion or self promotion. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus..." That is the office of the prophet. (Phil. 2:5)
ONLY ONE KNEW HIS HEART
At the table with the twelve eating their last meal together, we find an interesting scenario. In John 13 verse 24 we see Peter beckoning to John to inquire who it is that will betray the Master. "He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto Him, Lord, who is it?" (v.25) In a room full of Jesus closest followers, His apostles, only one knew His heart! Astounding! Yet this is no new thing! How many in this present hour are leaning on His chest and hearing the rhythm of His heart beat? Feeling His breath on their face, His arm on their shoulder? It's one thing to be in the same room as the Lord, even in His presence, but who is close enough to whisper in His ear? Close enough to hear what He replies? God is seeking those who do not just love His presence, but love His heart and His desire in the this present age. Ones who have taken the time to do nothing else but hear Him.
Today we can leave the wrought up meetings, clothes dishevled by falling down in the prayer line, and yet walk out into the world and make no impact, no difference. We drive the safest route home, like the priest and Levite in Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan, we pass by so many that are desperately in need of the oil and wine we have so carelessly recieved. The true prophet in this hour will not hoard the annoining from one meetings to the next, but rather he or she will become a conduit of Holy love to a dying world.
Are you a person after God's own heart? You can be. John was not preferred above the rest of the disciples, he only took the time to be close to the Master. The same invitation is to all of us, right now, even where you sit. Come now! Lean on His breast and hear His deepest thoughts! Hear the rhythm of His heart! His longing and cry is still, "What, could you not watch with Me one hour?" In all of our business in life and ministry, let us not be Martha, but rather Mary, sitting at His feet, listening to the Master's voice. Let us be the lovers of the Lord, not just His followers.
THE POWER TO CREATE TRUE UNITY
In a world riddled with contempt for life, a hatred for what is right, reckless in its pursuit of pleasure and strife, there is another aspect of the prophetic that plays a critical if not defining role in this hour. The power to create unity and true love in the members of the Body of Christ. Let us look at the discourse in 1st Samuel 18:1, "And it came to pass, when he (David) had made an end of speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, AND JONATHAN LOVED HIM AS HIS OWN SOUL..."
When the prophet speaks it causes a knitting in the Spirit to take place. It causes a spontaneous increase in love and compassion in the hearts of God's people for one another. It is this kind of love that will be the overcoming factor in the days ahead. It was this kind of love that saved David's life from the wrath of Saul. It is this kind of love that will be the survival of the church in the perils to come. This is the foremost task of the prophet, or a prophetic people, "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." (Ephesians 4:15) It is a call of love, a project of passion. Nothing less will get the job done. "...maketh INCREASE of the body to the edifying if itself in love..." (v.14)
DAVID AND JONATHAN
In 1st Samuel 18 verse 4 we find another act of prophetic love unfolding, "And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garment, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle." There was covenant love and covenant commitment in the hearts of these two young men. They LOVED each other like men of God should, there was not a competitive bone in their bodies, their love was unto death. This kind of love will be the proof of the prophetic and apostolic order that the Lord is establishing in the earth. Love that knows no limits in its giving and sacrifice for one another in the light of God's presence. It is this kind of love that will change nations and dethrone principalities and powers. David's need Jonathan's, and Jonathan's need David's, we can not do it alone.
Now we see another drama of love playing itself out in John 13. "Jesus rose from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself..." This was not the last time the Master would be stripped and left naked because of His love for mankind. Not to long from this place of washing, He would find Himself stripped of His garments again and hung on a cross, but this time the washing would be by His blood. "If I then your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet..." (v.14) This is the life of the servant of Jesus Christ. It is one of unselfish giving and pouring out. So we see a picture of the prophet, and a clear portrait of the apostle, it is characterized by selfless love and sacrifice, "...nothing done in strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves... Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus..." (Philippians 2:1-7)
This is the holy standard of love that has been passed down to us through the centuries. No less can effect a world covered in gross darkness, no less can pierce this darkness and translate the perishing into the Kingdom of His dear Son. Nothing less than Christ breathed love for one another. It must be our highest mark that we strive for, "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:14)
Chruch! It is time to lay down our crowns and our reputations and with Paul cry to the Lord, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ." Let us strip off the armor of our own success and lay it at our brother's feet and enter a prophetic covenant relationship with one another in Christ Jesus. Stripping off the garments of self, and adorning the towel of humility and sacrifice, washing away the sin we see in others with the water of pure love. And by this act all the world shall know that we are who we say we are, Christians. (Phil. 4:7)
ARE YOU A PROPHET?
Are you a prophet? Then you will lay down your life down for the brethren. You will have no hidden agenda for self. Only Christ. You will never seek your own glory only His. Your heart will be broken for the lost and dying. Why? Because His is. And as He was in the world, so are you. You will prefer the success of others before your own. You will leap for joy when others cast out your name as evil and separate you from their company for the Lord's sake. You will not complain, only praise. You will not be a heralder of doom only, but hope, hope in a God that loves the world more than life itself and paid for it with His own. Can you do any less? "...Because He laid down His life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." These are the undeniable marks of a servant of the Most High God, without them you are not what you say you are, a prophet. (1 John 3:16)
Once a man said to me, "Chad, I cannot go down to the streets like you do, I am a prophet not an evangelist, I've only led one person to the Lord all my life..." What a lack of understanding we have of the five-fold ministry! Jesus the Chief Apostle made it His passion to save that which is lost, and said to those He had called into ministry, "As the Father has sent Me, so send I you!" It is not the evangelist alone that is commissioned to preach the gospel, it is every soul that has the substance of Jesus abiding in it. We are all called to be His witnesses.
In Acts 1:8 we see a power point of the Christian life, "When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, YOU SHALL RECEIVE POWER TO BE MY WITNESSES..." Power to testify of the resurrection and life of Jesus Christ. This was the consummation of all the apostles taught, "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures , and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures..." (1 Corinthians 15:3&4) It was for this very same message all were martyred but one. The sure sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not speaking in other tongues, it is the power to save a soul.
THE FATHER'S HEART
The cry of the Father's heart is the cry for a lost and desperate world. It is the statement of Peter that best defines the heart of God in this hour, "The Lord is not slack according to His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 4:9)
Now we know what the will of the Lord is for our lives! First, we know what it isn't! "Not willing that any should perish..." Then we know what it is! "But that all should come to repentance..." How does that happen? "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19&20)
It happens when each of us comprehend with all the saints, what is the width and length and depth and height, to KNOW the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God..." (Ephesians 3:16-20) When we KNOW the love of the Father for His world, we will finally grasp the magnitude of our calling while on this earth, and work with all abandonment to see it fulfilled.
"Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest..." (Matthew)
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