“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years,” Malachi 3:1-4.
There is so much talk these days about spiritual gifts. We read and hear about countless words of prophecy.
We hear of impending earthquakes, and invasions. We are edified, exhorted, and comforted, as well as directed, illuminated, admonished, and corrected.
There is so much revelation that one could think that giftedness is what is of prime importance. And yet, I am all for this, but oftentimes, we seem to have such a preoccupation with these things, that perhaps some of us haven’t found a place of balance spiritually.
And we are quite aware, I’m certain, that some churches and ministries focus only on spiritual gifts, and others go so far as to even ignore them, or say that they were only for the time of the early church and apostles.
But I would say that both of these ways of thinking are wrong and are in error.
We are told to earnestly seek or pursue, spiritual gifts, especially to prophesy. We also are told of the importance of the fruits of the Spirit —
“pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation,” 1 Corinthians 14:1-3.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law,” Galatians 5:22-23.
“For even if we have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries, if we don’t have love, then we are nothing. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing,” 1 Corinthians 13:2-3.
One can utter prophecy after prophecy, and they can be a great scholar of the Word, but if they treat others with contempt and are always easily provoked, then their spiritual giftedness is nullified.
However, in the same way, if one is merciful to others, always offers a kind word, is gentle in spirit, and is continually patient, but doesn’t have the demonstration of the spirit or power, then their Godly character is weakened.
If they don’t believe in spiritual gifts, or somehow reduce them to intellectual gifts, then how can the Holy Spirit be loosed?
How can there be healings?
How can miracles occur?
How can one see the resurrection power of Christ as He was raised from the dead?
Then those gifts, whatever they may be, become natural gifts, and they are greatly reduced in their effectiveness.
“and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” 1 Corinthians 2:4.
And still, some misrepresent some of the gifts and call them: wisdom, knowledge, preaching, discernment, etc.
Those who would do this don’t perhaps even realize that they are following a worldly standard and not a biblical one.
A “word of wisdom” is much different than “having wisdom.” Likewise, knowledge is much different than a “word of knowledge.”
In the past I’ve even spoken with some preachers who had the mistaken idea that preaching is a word of prophecy.
That’s not to say that some who preach, aren’t anointed and may well speak portions of their sermon or teaching prophetically, but that’s not the same as prophesying.
“My people suffer for lack of knowledge….” And yet many, who do suffer for lack of knowledge, aren’t willing to admit that they are lacking.
Jesus exhibited both great character and spiritual gifts in His ministry. He was balanced in His life. He spoke with wisdom from the spirit; He spoke in ways that confounded the Sadducees and the Pharisees.
He prophesied of what was to come. He discerned the thoughts and the intentions of the human heart. And yet, He had the little children come to Him.
He offered forgiveness to the woman caught in adultery. He knew what to say at any given moment and offered it in mercy when it was needed and judgment when it was called for.
Dear friends, we need both of these things if we are to be successful and productive spiritually. We need to live this life in balance between the gifts of the spirit and the fruits thereof.
Do you think that God cares that you have slain thousands in the Spirit?
Are you a man or woman who has performed great miracles and prophesied unto thousands?
Have hundreds of people been healed and set free by you?
Perhaps you are someone who has many gifts and abilities, and yet much of this is rubbish, because you have put these things before your very character and fruitfulness.
You see, God is looking for people who exhibit his character unto others. He is looking for those who have endured through many trials and tribulations and now are willing to be refined by the Master’s hand.
Truly, our gifts and anointing are important to Him and He longs to give these gifts to His children. But He desires more than anything else those who are willing to let His Spirit mold and make His children into the vessels that He desires.
He wants them to be identified with Him, not only through His resurrection life but also in the sufferings that they go through, which identifies them through His sufferings.
There is an intimacy that we can have with Him, as we give ourselves unto Him. We then can know Him in ways:
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:10-12.
(A portion of a prophetic word from January 26, 2019)
“I have said that in this world you will face many tribulations, and yet I have also said that I will be with you through them.
For I have overcome this world. I can overcome all of the troubles that you will face in this world, and yet My Children, you must face a series of great trials in order to perfect your faith in Me.
For you must be perfected for what lies ahead. The troubles and the trials that you have now faced will be nothing compared to that which very soon is to come into your lives.
But they are never sent to harm you, for as a Father I do them for your good.”
(Another portion from March 29, 2018)
“I have asked you to suffer with Me.
For in this world you would face many trials and tribulations, but if you know Me then you will triumph over them
Be ready, for as the days grow darker you will need my blood to cover you.
Wear My Blood as a cloak about you, and then the evil one cannot harm you.”
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?