While comparing tongues and prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul shows us that while tongues need interpretation to be beneficial to the body of Christ, prophecy is naturally beneficial to the body because it builds up the church (1 Cor 14:3-4, 17), encourages (1 Cor 14:3, 31) and consoles (1 Cor 14:3). This is all important to note, because we don’t always feel built up, encouraged or comforted after reading some the prophetic words in the Bible.
In fact, some seem excited to take on a prophetic role in the church because they want everything to burn, but that’s not the glimpse that Paul gave us of the prophetic gifting. Sure, prophecy requires us to speak out against social injustice and look to bring Heaven to Earth, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to come across as angry with everyone all the time. While it’s true that we still have to give hard prophetic words to people because there is still evil and sin at play in this world, Paul certainly used a lot of positive words to describe its purpose in the church. And therefore, we would be wise to orient our minds accordingly.
In fact, I have rarely ever been offered a sharp prophetic word, and there are plenty of such words I know God could give me if He wanted to. Almost every word I have ever received has built me up, encouraged me, and consoled me.
I think of the first time I met the late Don Nori. He was an author who founded the publishing company Destiny Image along with his wife Cathy. I had been helping with the worship music for an event he was speaking at when he asked to pray for the band. I had never met the man before that moment and that’s part of the reason his prophetic word was so powerful.
“Right now your instrument is your weapon,” he said. Then touching my chin, he continued. “But in the future, your mouth will be your weapon.”
You wouldn’t believe how touched I was. At that time I had been wondering if I could be a good teacher or pastor and if God even wanted me to do such a thing. I never felt like anyone acknowledged me for teaching, which was what was burning in my heart to do. Furthermore, it seemed like everyone always acknowledged me for music and in a strange way I felt like this was holding people back from people seeing me in any other light.
Don’s words touched my very soul that night. In fact, it continues to touch me right now as I share it; for now I get to stand in the light of a fulfilled prophecy. My mouth is now my weapon and I get to preach every week. This is the power of the prophetic word.”