Prophecy is forward-looking but its main aim is to encourage, uplift and comfort the Church (1 Corinthians 14:3). When someone begins to prophesy they begin to tell you about a future state of your life. There is a lot of talk in the Body of Christ about the differences between words of knowledge, words of wisdom and prophecy. I have written on these things before but want to share a little more today about what I think. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit flow from one source and they are meant to build up the Body into the image of Christ.
Wisdom and knowledge originate from the Lord. When you encounter them, you will feel the truth of their divine source in your bones. God often uses godly vessels to guide us. Guidance can be forward-looking but it’s not necessarily prophecy.
Words of Knowledge
The Holy Spirit will often point to things He knows about our lives that nobody else would know, or only those closest to us would know. When a prophetic voice releases this knowledge over us, we know that God is speaking because the person before us shouldn’t know these details.
I have often thought of words of knowledge as supernatural portraits of our past and/or present that God puts in front of us to say, “I know who you are!” This can shake people when they don’t know it. I remember one of the first prophets who came into my life told me that I tried to commit suicide twice. He was completely right. When he said that I was undone. I started to cry knowing that God knew me.
It is this knowledge which God has of us that brings His fear and awe into our lives. To know that there is someone who knows us completely is the most amazing thing. It made me feel safe in His arms. I knew He loved me. But just because someone operates in a word of knowledge does not make it prophecy. Prophecy is different. I will share more below, but first let’s look at the gift of wisdom.
Words of Wisdom
Many words of wisdom come to me. As I have developed my ministry I have had senior ministers come to me who have walked a similar path to what I have walked. One such minister said, “Darren, you have a great online ministry, but you are missing something. You need to have an emailing list. Do a weekly teaching of some sort and you will grow your ministry.”
When I first heard this, I didn’t really feel the need to have an emailing list. But this word of wisdom burned in my heart and I finally knew I had to do something about it. When I started the mailing list it became fruitful quickly. To date it has never taken steps back, only forward.
Recently, as I was stumped on what I should do in ministry, another word of wisdom came to me. I heard the Lord say, “Remember the vision from the beginning.” A part of me was tired of traveling; I wanted to start on a new vision of becoming a church planter within my region. The Lord said, “There is a timing to things.” When He said, “Remember the vision from the beginning,” I knew He was saying, “Carry on, My wayward son. There will be peace when you are done.” He was saying, “You will accomplish much if you stay within My vision.”
Wisdom comes, and it is up to us to live within it or not. It will help us to get from A to B in God’s fruitfulness.
Prophecy is different. Many times I have received a prophetic vision of the future. The Lord will often show me a future state that looks nothing like the place I am currently living in, and He shows me what I will become. I remember many years ago, I saw that I would become a minister with some renown. I saw that I would go into communities and organize revival in those places. Quickly, many would be touched by the power of God and they would begin to do the work of ministry. I saw hundreds of people involved.
When I got this vision, I was a brand-new Believer. I remember seeing myself in that dream and feeling the confidence that I would have when I would be doing this work. I was nothing like that at the time; I believe I am only now becoming this person. I had that dream 13 years ago.
Prophecy gives us hope for something that we will obtain or become. Prophecy helps us to create a path toward destiny, and if we listen to the Lord we will get to the place that He has in store. When Abraham stepped out and left his father’s land to live in tents in Canaan, it was based on a word of prophecy that he received from the Lord. He was told that his descendants would outnumber the sands on the seashore and the stars in the sky. He had to step into obedience to walk into the place of fulfillment of destiny.
He received prophetic vision but then needed supernatural wisdom to daily step toward God’s plan. This took much time. As we move toward our prophecies, we inherit the strength and the character to flow into what God has in store. By the time we get there we are the person that God described in the beginning. He knows the beginning from the end. He knows what He is doing in your life, and it shall come to pass. Do not stop walking daily in His steps.
I pray for you today: I ask God to download a vision into your heart of what you are about to become. I ask Him to birth a new day in your life. And may you receive the wisdom and knowledge He has for you to become the greatest you.