We Are a Body
The body of Christ represents the Church, and is likened to a natural body in the Word of God. Each one of us serves a vital function within the body as a whole. God has established each member or part of the body according to His will, to function in the gifts He has given us. God also instructs us, to “eagerly desire the greater gifts”.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and Each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? but eagerly desire the greater gifts”.(1 Corinthians 12:27–31)
- The body of Christ has many members or parts.
- Each member has a different role or function.
- Each one belongs to all the others.
- Each one is gifted differently, according to God’s grace.
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given us….”.(Romans 12:4–6)
God has arranged every part of the body just as He wanted it to be.
“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be”.(1 Corinthians 12:18)
- Each part or member of the body is important.
- Each part or member of the body is needed in order for the body to function as effectively as it should.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”.(1 Corinthians 12:21 & 22)
The Prophetic Voice
The prophetic voice through the gift of prophecy is as greatly needed today as it ever was. It is such an important part of the functioning of the body of Christ that we are told to eagerly desire the gift of prophecy, especially. This is because it “builds up” or edifies the Church.
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy”.(1 Corinthians 14:1)
“But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church”.(1 Corinthians 14:3 & 4)
- We are to especially desire the gift of prophecy.
- Prophecy edifies or “builds up” the Church.
Because of the importance of, and need for prophecy, for today; the apostle Paul describes the quenching of it, as putting out the Spirit’s fire. It is the Holy Spirit that guides us and gives us power to function in the gifts of God. When we quench the flow of the Holy Spirit through the gift of prophecy, we are treating the word or insight that God himself is speaking to us with contempt or of little importance. Paul admonishes us instead, to test it, and hold on to what is good.
“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold onto the good”.(1 Thessalonians 5:19–21)
- We are not to quench the Spirit.
- We are not to treat prophecies with contempt.
- We test everything and hold onto the good.
Responding to the call
In the same way that rugby players are signed up for a sports team, and are placed in positions according to their abilities; God has placed each individual member in the body of Christ. But there must be a choice made by each individual person at some point, to consider the call; count the cost; and follow Him.
Every person must make the individual choice to respond to the call of God on their lives, submitting to God in his choice of what, and where, He wants us to be.
Submitting to God always brings life.
“Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!”.(Hebrews 12:9)
Paul the Apostle likens his choice to follow and obey the call of God on his life, to that of someone competing in a race.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize”.(1 Corinthians 9:24–27)
- Take the call seriously.
- Be purposeful.
- Be self–controlled.
- Run to win.
Be Positioned Well
In a rugby sport’s team, each player needs to know where they are positioned. They must know those who hold the key positions in their team, and know the skill of their team–mates well. It is the same within a church body. Each person needs to know where God has appointed them, and how they relate to each other, in order to function well. And just as each member of a rugby sport’s team plays a different role and has a different placing on the field; the prophetic voice must find his or her place in the Body of Christ, in order to function as he or she should. The prophetic person must learn to function both within their own role, But also as a member of the body of Christ. When each member learns to work together, much like a rugby team, they function much better as a whole.
- When each member of the Body of Christ knows one another’s function and strengths, it helps the Body to have confidence in their ability as a whole.
- Know that you are needed.
- Know where God has placed you.
- Know that God has placed you there.
- Get to know how others function in the body as well.
Be Practiced at Working as a Team
The players of a rugby sport’s team don’t just turn up for the game, but train together in between. They discuss their game plan and have strategic talks. The strength of a good rugby team is in their tactics and in opening up opportunities for their team mates to succeed. Even those on reserve (or with injuries) are expected to train if they can. The Body of Christ, too, must be practiced at working as a team.
- Stay connected with the rest of the Body of Christ on a regular basis; not just at a superficial level.
- Including everyone when you get together means everyone stays informed.
- Be aware of the strengths of those around you and where others need support.
- Open up opportunity for others to succeed.
Be Moving in the Right Direction
It is important for everyone ministering to stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit and with what He is doing at any given time. We don’t know all that God is doing, but we choose to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and when He asks us to, we respond.
- Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
- Make sure you go where the Holy Spirit leads.
- And remember that leadership carries the accountability before both God and man.
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you”.(Hebrews 13:17)
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith”.(Hebrews 13:7)
Be Ready at All Times
In the game of rugby, keeping the ball out of the opposition’s hands requires the skill of all the players combined. There is a learnt skill, in knowing when to pass, and when to run with the ball. Every player who knows where they’re going keeps their eye on the ball, and when the ball is passed they are already moving. They catch the ball running!
- The “eye” of the prophet “sees” what the heart of God reveals.
- It is a compassionate awareness of what God is doing.
- Be aware of what the Holy Spirit is doing.
- Be already moving, and ready to respond.
The Apostle Paul’s charge to Timothy was to preach the Word and be ready at all times.
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction”.(2 Timothy 4:2)
In the book of Ecclesiastes we are told that there is a time for everything. It is important to be aware of WHAT God is doing at any given time.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”:(Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Don’t Look to the Vessel
Prophetic ministry presents itself through all personalities, works through other spiritual gifts and achieves more than one purpose. But we need to always remember, that in1 Corinthians 14:1 (mentioned earlier) before the use of the gift, Paul instructs us to follow the way of love. We need to be sure therefore, that whatever our personality or gift; we are always acting in love.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”.(1 Corinthians 12:2)
Some prophetical people function like the “forwards in the scrum” of a rugby game. They may appear confrontational, and are prepared to get up close to others if they have to. They cope well when faced with resistance, and will hold their ground and not be moved. Their purpose is to keep moving forward and maintain possession (of the prophetic). Then at the right time they release the (prophetic) “ball.”
Others function like the position of the “backs” in a rugby game. As soon as the (prophetic) “ball” is passed, they are ready to “run.” They can both run a long distance, and run at speed! They gain large amounts of ground (in the prophetic) in short periods of time. They may see the response in others (by “placing the winning try”), but must also be ready to pass on the (prophetic) “ball.”
Some function like the “goal kicker converting a try” in the game of rugby. They add value to the (prophetic) “team” through their accuracy and skill. They may give an application to the worship or about the teaching. When functioning well, they keeps calm under pressure, can shut out distraction, and their focus is intense. They see the “goal” clearly, before accurately releasing the (prophetic) “ball.”
- Don’t look to the personality of the vessel.
- Keep your eye on what God is doing.
- Be ready to step forward.
- Step back when God asks you to.
In the game of rugby the opposition’s eye is on the one with the ball. His goal is to bring the player down, and gain possession of the ball. There are two major things that undermine someone’s ability to function in the prophetic. they are comparison and compromise.
Comparing your gift or current ability with another will undermine God’s ability to use you. Satan will try to convince you that you can’t be prophetic, or that you are not needed, because someone else does it differently, or seems better than you. The reality is, they may have had more experience or opportunity to learn, or the functioning of the gift may present differently in you.
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise”.(2 Corinthians 10:12)
Comparing can cause you to settle for compromise; to shut down the gift, or try to fit into a role to please someone else. This is disheartening for you, and it frustrates the purposes of God.
- Don’t compare.
- Don’t compromise.
- Keep looking to Jesus.
- Remember the power of prayer.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”(Ephesians 6:18}
Have Faith That God Will Use You
Our operation in the gift of prophecy will be according to our faith.
“… If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith”.(Romans 12:6)
Have faith that God has both called you and placed you where you are. When you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, trust Him, and choose to respond.
In the words of Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way, you are right!”