we had our church community's seed group night last night and we spent a chunk of time talking about spiritual gifts, their relation to one another and the potential "dark side" that might be viewed in utilizing them. we spent some time with individuals taking the lead in answering those types of questions about themselves and my turn came along last night.
my spiritual gifts are in mercy, encouragement, teaching, prophecy and some others that i didn't really address last night. i spent a good deal of time talking about the potential dark side of utilizing my gifts. i was "encouraged" that encouragement was/is high up the list because i've been trying to hone that gift with some extra use over the last few years. i also have been trying to hone the gift of prophecy in me and i'm finding that it is within these 2 gifts that i see the danger of the dark side.
let me begin with a definition of what i think the gift of prophecy is because ... it's got a really bad rap. prophecy isn't being a fortune teller like is the reaction of many when they think about this gift. prophecy is less about being Karnak, and more about the gift of a teacher. prophecy is more about bringing to light revealed truth than it is about trying to predict future truth. i'm not at all comfortable at all with the idea of predicting what could happen and on the one or two occasions where i've thought that God was trying to bless the hearers of whatever prophetic utterance i've had i've been scared sh**less that what i had to say was just Ian talking and had nothing to do with God whatsoever. that is not my general experience with prophecy though, most of the time my prophetic voice speaks in conjunction with my encouraging voice as i try to bring to light a truth that helps a person to a better place.
a follower of Christ should be a "dispenser of HOPE" and that is where i see encouragement and prophecy working hand in hand. often my first contact with people is as a dispenser of hope. i'm a welfare worker so i use my mercy gift regularly but as i try to give hope to the individual i'm finding i'm seasoning my mercy with a good deal of encouragement and the revealed truth of prophecy. there are realities that the individual has to deal with as they try to choose their path. i'm only trying to help the individual to a better place and i'm finding that i can be misinterpreted in motive.
i can be a bit random and i wonder what value my randomness has in revealing truth. innocuous conversations are viewed as arrogant (i'm sure), flirty (possibly), or just plain inane. just try and encourage someone of the opposite sex and see if you can avoid looking "flirty". just try and speak confidently to a situation and avoid looking "arrogant". just try and speak to a situation with a slant that is outside the acceptable worldly norm and see if you can avoid looking the fool and inane.
for all the times people look at me like i'm talking the part of the fool then i wonder if maybe God is trying to say something to me or through me. perhaps the community's reaction more often should be "why do we have to do it that way? because that's how we've always done it? should we be choosing another path?". i wonder what place random prophet types have in that moment or if even i might be a random fool sounding off on a stage (signifying nothing).
i'm sure i get in the way. i'm sure i look the arrogant, flirty fool but i'm trying to stretch this stuff in me. my faith requires growth so maybe we should choose to sound the fool more often, at least that way we'll confound the wise.
bless you fellow traveller.