Pointers For the Mature Handling of Internal Prophetic Fire
If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well....So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire... Jms. 3:2, 5-6And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each of them. Acts 2:3The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets…If anyone thinks himself to be [prophetic], and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's [prophecy] is worthless. I Cor. 14:32; Jms 2:26
When James first wrote to us about the dire importance of taming the tongue, he had in view the evil nature in us to which the tongue gives vent. Indeed, the untamed natural tongue kindles fires of evil wherever it speaks.
But for those gifted to bear the prophetic fire of God in their hearts, the words of James hold a special and unique application. For while the natural tongue gives vent to certain evil fire, the tongue of the prophet also gives vent to fire. This is the fire of God. However, the prophetic tongue—if it too is undisciplined and untamed—will create religious forest fires in the midst of the body of Christ that in the end produce as much evil as if they came purely of the carnal nature.
The last period has—above all else—witnessed to me of the drastic need for a course in "prophetic tongue taming" among those who steward the fire of God's zeal in their souls. In fact, if I could distil what I'm really picking up from the Lord out of all I have been hearing, it is that God is far more concerned about our learning to rightly steward and maturely dispense our fire than He is about the issues over which our fires are being provoked to holy jealousy.
I have witnessed this truth repeatedly over the last season through my correspondence and personal visits with prophetic people, as well as through my awareness of at-large prophetic postings and controversies. Over and over what I am hearing is that, as prophetic people, we are spinning our wheels for naught and shooting ourselves in the feet because we do not know how to control the prophetic fire that burns within us.
In the last while I have entertained some interesting correspondence. Occasionally I receive responses to teachings by those who have a bone to pick with one thing or another. I don't mind that people sometimes have bones to pick. I welcome earnest inquiry and dialog into the things of the Lord. But some, writing to contest different issues, can hardly hold off a self-opinionated and contentious spirit in trying to correct me over that for which they are so zealously fired. They are looking for a stag fight.
Over time, I have also received uninvited correspondence from some who read an article, and seek an outlet for their own untempered fires of revelation. Such folk do not write necessarily to correct. But in writing, they just have no control over their revelation, spinning endless descriptions and teachings of what they see. Their verbosity reaches such limits that I just have to hit the delete key whenever I receive something from them.
Then there are some with prophetic fire I have personally ministered to or with. They are so "filled with the Spirit" that they can hardly contain themselves in discussion. They are lost in their own spirits. In the case of one prophetically fired-up couple, the prophetic husband can barely speak without his prophetic wife interjecting at every turn to add her revelation (or to correct his.) [In some cases, I have had to lose good prophetic friends simply because their tongues brought more harm to the friendship than good.]
Of late, there has been a fair amount of saber rattling among those recognized as prophetic leaders at-large, particularly among those in the out-of-church wilderness camp. Such rattling and even clashing of sabers with those of the "bridal prophetic" is being promoted as evidence of the true fire of God. The reasoning seems to be, "We have the fire of God, so let's turn it loose on everything we can set our sites on that is contrary to it."
The fire itself is held to be enough to justify its release and serves as a badge of identification. It's to the point now that conferences are being formed featuring a slash-and-burn mentality toward everything alleged to be in opposition to true "New Testament Christianity." (Is this really what we are finally all about?)
The Common Deadly Assumption
Underneath all the examples I have cited lies an assumption. It is that the tongue moved by the prophetic fire of God needs no taming! If it is God's fire, than let it "Burn, baby burn!"
But as A. W. Tozer would have said, "Scarcely a worse delusion could be entertained." The fact that we are filled with the fire of God does not mean we are at liberty to turn it loose without control. God does not do that Himself. Neither may His prophets. He expects us to bring our revelatory tongues under His command, even as Christ Himself listened and then spoke only exactly what He heard the Father saying in every situation.
This means we must gain the wisdom of God in how to steward and release in appropriate measure and venue the fire He gives us. When it comes to tongues of fire, "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." The possession of fire is not itself the permission to release that fire.
Even with prophetic utterance, we must be given to listening, listening, listening. It is only by listening that our fire can be profitably applied to minister life to the hearers, rather than the destructive force of unbridled criticism. And if we do not heed this instruction of James, then our prophetic fire will indeed be corrupted, reinfused with a religious spirit, to become the source of every evil work, even to the inciting of the dreaded "prophetic civil war."
The Crying Need for Prophetic Statesmen
Speaking of Samuel, the scripture says he let "none of his words fall to the ground." Samuel was no mealy-mouthed prophet. When it came time to release the fiery prophetic word, he was quite capable of doing so. He stood up to Saul and he personally cut down Agag with a sword.
But such displays were not Samuel's badge of honor. They were the exception for Him, not the rule. Samuel was matured to that place of prophet statesmanship where he was positioned to bring forth righteous judgment to an entire nation.
Some wonder why after so many years of prophetic ministry and knowledge the prophetic remains a despised loose-canon ministry disenfranchised from the rest of the body of Christ with little true effectiveness anywhere it appears. May I suggest it is because—whether unto criticism or unto revelations in general—those who most bear the prophetic fire have never learned how to steward it through disciplined speech and a heart that shares God's complete vision for all His people.
Some are presently looking to John the Baptist as our role model, championing the fiery message of repentance as our banner. But we have not been called to conformity to the image of John the Baptist, but to Christ. Even John was centered on the Lord, not on Himself and his own message. John's message was "He must increase," not "Repentance must increase" or "Baptism by immersion must increase." Moreover, though He ministered from the wilderness, John's vision was for all of Israel, preparing the entire Bride for the Bridegroom.
The idea that the prophetic is to forever remain disenfranchised from the rest of the body of Christ as its badge of honor is a totally misplaced deception of a proud religious spirit. No matter how wrongly despised the prophetic may be, the true prophetic never forgets it is part of a body far larger than itself or loses the hope it will find its proper accepted role relative to that body. Christ Himself expected at some point to be received—not forever rejected!
Samuel was a prophetic statesman whose fire proceeded from him in mature measurement and whose heart was for the entire people of God. Today, the body of Christ is still crying out for prophetic statesmen—prophets whose words do not drop to the ground because they have learned to listen to the Father and receive His Whole counsel—prophets who know how to proclaim the comfort of the Lord as well as apply the sword of the Lord in their proper and measured seasons and unique situations.
Perhaps you are one who is filled with the fire of God. Perhaps you have a well of fire that is brimming to overflowing and yearning to see the righteousness of the Lord invade His House again. Perhaps you are among those who have been consumed by zeal for the Lord's house.
Welcome to the club! If then you too are zealously moved for prophetic purity and the Lord's standard to be established in the House, let me encourage you like never before to yield your burning zeal to the Lord's tempering. Let Him teach you how to turn the flow off! Let Him teach you how to govern your own prophetic spirit until it ministers more light than heat. Instead of a blast furnace, let Him make you a laser whose words will accomplish all He wants to do in these last days with pinpoint accuracy.
I invite you to the holy call to become a prophetic statesman / stateswoman, rising with healing in your wings to bring both truth and wholeness to the body of Christ in these final hours of our maturing. I call you to the holy call to listen to the Father before you ever speak again.
Selah, good friends.
Riverside, RI, USA
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created December 11, 2005