As I have grown up in church, there has been an ongoing debate about whether Christianity has shades of gray in it or is it really black and white. Are there absolutes? Now I believe there are absolutes with Christianity, but I believe we created an serious issue when we decided that it meant that God was black and/or white. We started painting a wrong picture of God, a picture that when an issue was “white”, God was sedated and at peace with us. If a issue was “black”, that meant He was going to respond full of fire and judgment.
This is the mentality that many prophets still use this day. Either God is cool with us or He’s really ticked off and there’s no redemption. He is painted as a very high-contrast God. Think of all the prophetic words you hear and how you feel after you hear them. Many prophecies depress people and offer them no hope.
But 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 says:
But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
The whole purpose of prophecy is to build people up in God, not tear them down.
I believe (and I do state this as my opinion) that although God does have absolutes, He is not black and white. The scriptures define God as “full of light” and brilliantly clothed with colors and rainbows. People who have had visions of God in the Bible (like Isaiah and Ezekiel) did not have a 60’s black and white vision of Jesus. They had a fully fledged color portrayal of the Son of God, color that was linked to emotion!
You can take a dark rich blue and convert it to grayscale/b&w and it will come out black. So what is the difference? The difference is the emotion that the color puts off. Blue is a very soothing color. Red is a very forceful color. Yellow is very happy. Certain colors portray certain emotions and feelings.
So why does all of this matter? My mom used to tell me:
It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.
Well for prophets, it’s both. It’s up to God to supply what to say, but it is up to the prophet to ask God for the right way to say it (the right heart/emotion to speak the word in). There are many who say “this is how God gave it to me” but if it is not strengthening, encouraging and comforting someone, then scripturally you are delivering it wrong.
I have heard many prophecies that are sober that were given in love, mercy and redemption. Look at the book of Hosea. If you glance at it, it seems very judgmental. Yet when you realize that it is the first time that God mentioned His “marriage” to His people, the way He would draw them back to Him and how He would “come like the rain”, you start to realize it’s not a doom and gloom book written in heavy black emotion. It is a book of fervent love, a jealous love that will destroy whatever gets in the way of Him and His people. What an awesome portrait painted in red!
I wanted to say one other thing to any people gifted in the prophetic. When God gives you a word, do not assume the emotion you felt when He gave you “the word” is the same emotion you should have when you declare the word corporately or to anybody. No matter what the word is from God, it must strengthen, encourage and comfort people, no matter how harsh the word might be. Remember this verse:
For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:31-33)
Yes, God requires you to control your emotions.
So, I want to call people and prophets who hear “words” from God to share to others, to pray and ask God in what emotions of His heart you should come in. I promise you that it will be a heart of mercy and humility. If it is not, then you are speaking from yourself and not from heart of Jesus who is the servant of all. Recently, I have given a few people some words that God told me, and it has encouraged not just them, but me as well because I saw them built up and encouraged. Prophecy should build up and sharpen all parties included. Remember, prophets are not the end-all, for:
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1-2)