Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
(1 Corinthians 14:1-5 ESV)
Sometimes what we call balanced Christian living isn’t always balanced in God’s eyes.To be sure we as followers of Jesus should be seeking the truth about living the Christian life, in the context of the teaching of the New Testament. God sometimes offends our natural way of thinking – He doesn’t always appeal to our logic. But yet, He is a God of reason and order. The gift of prophecy is often abused or misused. Some who have received a genuine impression from the Holy Spirit, will begin to think that every thought or word that comes to mind is from God – not true!
Those who meditate on Scripture and study sound biblical doctrine in context should be able to discern the voice of God better than those who are not well acquainted with the Bible. The fact is that God’s primary way of speaking to us is through the Scripture, and through the circumstances of life. But He sometimes speaks to us through dreams and visions, for most of us the visions that I’m talking about are mental pictures. The Holy Spirit may bring a person or a nation to your mind. The purpose for this supernatural leading is often so that you will pray for them. Sometimes this type of revelation is given to us so that we might contact a person and encourage them.
If God does something that seems to be strange to us, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not from him. If we are hungry to hear the voice of God and live a counter-cultural life, we must bathe our minds with the Scripture. Read it – meditate on it, and pray it back to the Father. A good study-Bible can be helpful for us to understand the Scripture in its proper context, and keep us from spiritual deception. So,when you pray for the gift of prophecy, make sure it is for the edification of others, not for self-promotion. – Bobby