General Parameters of Prophecy: Edification, Exhortation & Comfort
The following is an excerpt from my brand new book, Judging the Prophetic. In the Prologue, I lay the groundwork for what the prophetic is and what it is not. First things first: edification, exhortation, and comfort.
But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. (I Corinthians 14:3)
The above verse is, generally speaking, the parameters of personal prophecy. Also, in my experience, when prophetic activations are taking place or a group of those who are young(er in the prophetic) or being trained are released to prophesy, they are usually pointed in this direction. No words about calls to ministry, relationships, or doom and gloom. Just as in the movie Hitch, Will Smith’s character (Hitch) told his client, Albert, when he discovered he could not dance AT ALL, “This is where you live. Right here. You live right here, okay? This is home.” Hitch goes on to simply shift from one side to the other, back and forth. No fancy, expressive stuff. So it is for general personal prophecy. Stay right here!
Don’t try anything fancy until you are released by your covering to do so. This is your safe space. Stay in it!
I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification. (I Corinthians 14:5)
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ… (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Everything that is done in the church should be to build people. And when I say "build people," I do not mean multiplying in numbers, although that is well and good and, in fact, a spiritual principle. What I mean is building people’s spirit-man, making them strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:4 that he who speaks in tongues edifies himself, yet he who receives prophetic words is edified by another. Churches should always be about healing and building people. The prophetic word plays a major role in this.
And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.” (Acts 13:15)
Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (I Timothy 4:13)
For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. (I Thessalonians 2:3)
One of the definitions of the word exhortation in Merriam-Webster is “language intended to incite and encourage.” So basically, exhortation is encouragement. Now the word "encouragement" can be in the sense we all like: receiving positive words that align with the Word of God such as “The Lord is going to open up the windows of heaven over your life and pour out a blessing you will not have room enough to receive.” Yet encouragement can also be in the form of an admonishment to do right such as the Apostle Paul states in Hebrews 12:5: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him.” We all need positive words to lift our spirits as well as encouragement to do right from time to time, so whether it feels good or not at the moment, it is good for us in the long run.
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. (I Thessalonians 5:11)
This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. (Psalm 119:50)
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:1)
In this life there will be much trial and tribulation (not to be confused with the Tribulation!). And when these tough times come, the Lord has already built in the remedy: comfort. Comfort doesn’t make the problems go away; however, it provides us with peace, and encourages us that “it won’t always be like this, the Lord will perfect that concerning [you].” After all, if the Spirit of God is the Comforter, then it would only make sense that He would extend that comfort to us when we need it most.
If you’ve already read Judging the Prophetic, I’d love it if you’d hop on over to the Amazon product page and leave your review! Thanks & God Bless!