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-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
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Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net
Editor: Bob Hawley

Finding Your Place In God's Kingdom Order

Lesson 7
The Cost Of Being A Prophet

By Teresa Seputis

Just as with any other five-fold office, there is a cost associated with being a prophet. There are actually many costs, but I will touch on just four of them:

  1. God's character refinement program can be painful.
  2. Some prophets not recognized/accepted/listened to because they are bringing God's message to those who don't want to hear it.
  3. Prophets are not usually appreciated/recognized in their own circles.
  4. Many prophets persecuted (some are even killed) for delivering their message.

Let me develop each of these briefly.

God's Character Refinement Program

God is actively working in the lives of all of His children to refine their character and make them think and behave more like Jesus (which they call "being conformed to the image of Christ"). Hebrews 12:6 puts it this way, "For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." But prophets, and also the other five-fold offices, seem to get a little bit more of God's attention in this area. They can't seem to "get away" with the same things that other believers can get away with. It is almost as if God holds them to a higher standard because He has given them a bit more authority.

God will "mess with" His kids. He will stir up issues, He will cause character flaws to rise to the surface so He can heal them. If you are in the office of prophet, He seems to be more thorough in doing this. Those whom God releases into this office have usually gone through several (over 10) years of character refinement, most of which is not very much fun. He has been actively transforming their nature and desires to line up more closely with Him. Also, God will usually take a prophetic person through a period of isolation (lack of friends or being misunderstood) where he is forced to learn God's voice because he has no one else to talk to about things that are important to him. (I am not saying that prophets are socially dysfunctional. I am just saying that for a season (maybe a year or two) God will isolate them and cause them to go to Him so they can learn to better hear His voice.) This development process can feel rather uncomfortable when you are going through it, but when you "look back from the other side" you can see how God was working in it.

Some Prophets Not Recognized/Accepted/Listened To

I don't need to say a lot about this. You can look in the Bible and see that the message of many prophets was ignored because the people did not want to hear what God had to say. Jeremiah spent many years in prison because he delivered God's word to a carnal Israel. Elijah had to run for his life on multiple occasions after delivering the word of the Lord to the authorities of his day. God sent Moses to someone (Pharaoh) who He had purposely hardened his heart so he would not listen. Moses was "set up" to fail in delivering his prophetic message to Pharaoh because God had already decided He wanted to manifest His power through the ten plagues.

Modern-day prophets can experience the same sort of thing. One of God's messages to the church today is, "Get your house in order. It's time to clean up your act and make God your number one priority. God wants to heal you of the issues in your life that hinder you in your walk with Him, but that may involve some painful inner healing. But now is the time to deal with this stuff because God is getting ready to do something BIG. And God wants the church to be committed to His priorities and to His agenda and to obeying Him so He can fill and anoint them and show His glory through them."

Many believers grasp this and receive it eagerly. God has been doing a powerful healing and clean-up work in a lot of lives/hearts as His children yield to Him. But there are some believers who do not want to hear that. They do not want to be told that they have to make God's priorities more important than their priorities. They prefer to cover up their issues instead of letting God expose and heal them. They want "church as usual" instead of having God show up and take control. (Personally, I don't understand their mindset, because things get "so good" when God "shows up." But a lot of people feel that way.) They want God to bless their plans instead of abandoning their plans for God's agenda. They are more worried about their jobs, homes, children, income, comfort, possessions, etc than they are interested in advancing God's Kingdom. Their focus is on their own needs and comfort instead of on what God is doing. They want to control how they spend their money instead of giving God Lordship in their finances.

A lot of time, these people do not receive what God has to say through the prophets. They may be polite, they may give lip service to the words, but they don't implement them. They don't make the changes God asks them to make. They go on with "life as usual." Some will become hostile or rude to God's messenger because they don't like the message God is sending.

Prophets May Not Be Appreciated/Recognized in Their Own Circles

Jesus had this problem. He was revered and honored many places where He went, but when He tried to minister in His hometown, it did not go well at all. Matthew 13:57 describes it this way: "And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, 'Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.' "

There is a saying that "familiarity breeds contempt." Prophets face this to some degree. Let me give you an example from people I know personally. Jim Paul is an internationally proclaimed prophet (he is also a member of the prophetic school leadership core). People all over the world value Jim's ministry so much that they fly him in at great expense to minister to them - Germany, England, and all over the world. Jim is also the pastor of a local church in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada). His congregation loves him as any congregation loves its pastor. But they do not show him the same respect he is shown when he travels. They don't hang on his words at his home church like they hang on his words when he does a conference in Cleveland or London. You see, the people in his church see him all of the time (except, of course, for when he is away ministering internationally). Jim tries to limit his travels and put his main focus on his own church, so they see him a lot. They know where he lives. They know his wife, they know his kids. They see Jim more as a friend and pastor than they do as a prophet. So when Jim prophesies to them, some of them don't take it as seriously as when another internationally acclaimed prophet (who they don't know personally) comes to minister to them.

In general, prophets are not taken quite as seriously in their local area or church as when God sends them somewhere else with a prophetic message. There are some exceptions to this; it is a general rule, not an absolute thing.

Many Prophets Were Persecuted or Killed for Delivering Their Message

Acts 7:52 says, "Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him." James 5:10 says, "Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord." And Rev 16:6 says, "Or they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve."

There is biblical precedent that some prophets will be persecuted (maybe even to the laying down of their lives) to deliver the message that God gives to them. I believe we will see an increase of this persecution in the future.

Wrap-Up on Prophets

Prophets are a good thing. They are a wonderful gift to the Body of Christ. God uses them in marvelous ways and He gives them spiritual authority and power. But He also expects and requires a great deal from His prophet servants. One person put it this way, "The price tag for being a prophet is really high." That is because God will do a great deal of character refinement while developing and training His prophets. He will throw them in the refiner's fire more often and leave them in there longer. He will usually hold them accountable at a higher level and it is an absolute MUST for a prophet to obey God in every area. And there are a lot of drawbacks to being a prophet - rejection, not being taken seriously, and sometimes even persecution because of the message God gives you to bring.

If God has called you as a prophet, He will give you the grace to go through all of those things and He will empower you to be effective for His Kingdom. But if He has not called you in this manner, then you want to stay away from this area because the "costs" of being a prophet can be very "expensive."

-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

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