[Course 42 Index] [Prophetic-School Index] [Mini-Series Index] [Prev Week] [Next Week]

-- © GodSpeak International 2007 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net

FireSide Chat

Informal Prophetic MentoringWith Teresa Seputis

Week 3
Owning Our Words

I have met people who like to give anonymous words, which means that they try to keep it a secret that they are the person who gave the word. Most of the time they do that by sending a word out via email to a list of people, and not attaching their name to the word. The word gets circulated on the list, but no one knows that they are the "prophet" who gave it. Other's give anonymous words by going into a chatroom using a different nick each time and keeping their real identity secret, so that no one knows who they are.

Personally I believe that is a very bad practice and also an unbiblical one. I will develop why I think it is unbiblical in just a second, but let me say something about what motivates them to do this first.

Some people like to give anonymous words because they don't have any confidence in their prophetic ability, and they don't want anyone to know who they are in case they mess up. But most people who give anonymous words have a "good" motivation for doing so. Some want to give God all of the glory for the word and others are trying to remain humble. Both of those motivations are good motivations--we want to be humble servants of God and we always want to give Him the glory for all He does.

But good motivations should not translate into "anonymous words." First off, everyone knows that when we speak a prophetic word, we speak for God. So (by default) God gets the credit and glory for the word. Second, we see in the Bible that God usually identifies His spokesperson by name when He asks them to speak for Him. Of course, we want to remain humble--but we must shun the false humility that denies the call and anointing of God on our lives, or that refuses assignments that He chooses for us. When God selects us for a task, we are to obey Him in the task, recognizing that He is He one who supplies the anointing and gifting required to do that task. We become an instrument in His hand as we cooperate with Him to accomplish His purposes. We should serve and obey Him, but we should not try to hide the fact that we are doing what He instructs us to do.

If you take the time to search the Bible, you will discover that it refers to specific prophets over 400 times--and almost every one of them is identified by name. When God spoke through one of His prophets, the Bible almost always identifies who that prophet was. Occasionally the prophet's name was not mentioned in the passage, the person receiving the word knew the messenger personally. (See 1 Kings 20 for details.)

There are only four cases where the Bible refers a prophet's message or ministry but doesn't identify that prophet by name. Four out of over 400 is less than one percent--which makes anonymous words the exception instead of the general rule. In other words, God's normal mode of operation is NOT to have His spokespeople deliver His words anonymously. Let's look at those four exceptions just to be thorough.

Two of those four cases were prophets who God sent to speak a judgment or warning/rebuke to someone in active rebellion against God. The first is in Judges 6:8-10, where the people are oppressed by the Medianites and God sends an unnamed prophet. That prophet let them know that their oppression was because of their disobedience, and encourages them to worship God instead of idols. The other is found in 2 Chronicles 25:14-16, when God sent an anonymous prophet to rebuke King Amiziah and predict his destruction.

The remaining two cases are discussed together in the same story in 1 Kings 13. One is a "man of God from Judah" who God sent to prophesy against an altar in Bethel and to predict king Josiah's reign. The prophet was instructed to fast both food and water, and not to backtrack until he retuned home. Another man, who was apparently retired prophet, is referred to as an "older prophet." The older prophet lied to the younger one and caused him to disobey God's instructions, and God struck him dead for that disobedience. The Bible refers to this anonymous "man of God from Judah" later on in 2 Kings 23, during king Josiah's reign. The king ordered that all high places be leveled. While they were doing that, they uncovered the man of God from Judah's bones. So instead of desecrating his burial site, they left his grave alone.

I think it is the mercy of God that He did not mention either of these two prophets by name, because they were both "failures" as prophets. The Bible shared their stories as examples of how we should not behave.

God mentions people's failures in the Bible so we can learn from them. He talked about King David's moral failure with Bathsheba, which involved adultery and murder. But in David's case, there was redemption; he repented and was forgiven and restored, and went on to greatness in God. So it was ok to mention his name when telling his story--David will be remembered as a success and hero of the faith, and not as a failure.

But that is not the case for either of these two prophets from 1 Kings 13. One was a liar and a manipulator, and the other was a disobedient prophet who God struck dead. How would you like to be know throughout history as someone who disobeyed God and was struck dead for it? I personally believe that God spared sharing this prophet's name to honor him for the good things that he did before he messed up. I think it was God's grace an mercy that He withheld these two men's name from the passage.

The reason we looked at how the Bible refers to prophets is so I can make this important point: since God prefers to identify all of these people who He used to prophesy for Him, doesn't it make sense that He will prefer to identify you when He uses you to speak on His behalf?

Taking Accountability For Your Words

Increased anointing also means increased responsibility and accountability. That is true in pretty much every area of the Christian walk, and it is also true for the prophetic.

I believe that we are to be responsible and accountable for every prophetic utterance that comes out of our mouth. In short, we are to "own" the words that we give. If there is an error in them, then we need to gracefully accept correction and responsibility for what we have claimed to speak for the Lord. If the word is a valid God-word, ownership will allow the people who have questions or need clarification to go back to the spokesperson for additional input.

If we give anonymous words, then we are shirking our responsibility for those words, and giving up our ownership of them. We cannot be held accountable for our words if no one knows that we are the person who gave that word.

Personally I don't trust anonymous words, particularly words that correct or rebuke someone who has a heart for the Lord and is trying to honor Him. If the person delivering the word truly believes that they are speaking for God, then they should be willing to stand behind their word, to take responsibility if the word turns out to be wrong, or to provide any clarification or assistance for those who make inquiries about it.

We see this in the life if Jeremiah the prophet. In his case, he spoke valid God-words, but they were not readily accepted by his target audience. Part of the problem was that Jeremiah was speaking a future-word that did not appear to fit the present-day circumstances. And part of the problem was that he carried a message that people did now want to hear.

Life would have been much easier for Jeremiah if he did not take responsibility for his words. He was harassed, threatened, imprisoned, and abused because of his prophecies. He could have avoided most of this if he just "took back" his words and then didn't give any more of them. But Jeremiah could not do that--he knew that God had commissioned him to speak on His behalf. Jeremiah took ownership of the message that God gave Him. Part of that ownership was carrying a prayer and intercession burden for the people who were about to fall under God's hand of judgment. Part of that ownership was taking "heat" for the words he delivered.

In the end, the fact that Jeremiah took ownership of his words put him in a much better place than all of the rest of his countrymen. Everyone else went into captivity, but not Jeremiah. The conquering king set him free because Jeremiah had prophesied his victory over the Jews.

Establishing A Track Record

One of the reasons we don't give anonymous words is because the people who are judging/evaluating a word may need to look at the character of the person who gave that word. None of us are expected to be perfect. But people need to know who gave the word so they can look at what kind of person the giver is like. The are better able to trust our words when they see a godly character and lifestyle. They want to see that we walk in intimacy with God and that we are deeply committed to serving Him.

I am very far from perfect--I still have my weaknesses and faults and I am still maturing in the Lord. But over time I have established a track record that permits people to trust my words. Some people tell me that they feel they can trust my words because they see God's anointing on them over and over again, and because I tend to give very accurate words. Others tell me that they trust my character and that makes them more willing to receive my words. Others perceive me to be God's faithful servant, and they know I respect God too much to misrepresent what He says.

Of course, my words need to be judged just like anyone else's words do. But in general people tend to be more wiling to receive my words now that I have established a track record in the prophetic than they did before they knew me.

If you don't already have one, then God wants you to establish a good track record as well. He wants people to know that you have a history of accurately representing what He says. You cannot establish any sort of prophetic track record if you give anonymous words.

God wants each of us to own the words that we speak on His behalf.

-- © GodSpeak International 2007 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

[Course 42 Index] [Prophetic-School Index] [Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Week] [Next Week]