Tuesday, October 27, 2009


". . . If a man's gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith."  (Romans 12:6b, NIV)

Prophecy (or, Prophet) is the only gift that shows up in each of the gifts lists (Romans 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12).  This gift has a different purpose, however, in each of the three areas.  We are discussing here the Motivational Gift of Prophecy in Romans 12.  Scoring high in this gift does not mean that you are gifted in the other two uses of the Prophecy gift.  Using it "in proportion to his faith" simply means that you are to exercise your gift in the power of God but with a reliance on Him.

The Motivational Gift of Prophecy does not mean that you can foretell the future.  It does not mean that you will speak words given directly by God.  It means that you hold the Word of God in the highest regard.  The Word of God alone is the only gauge by which you measure a person's actions, thoughts and motivations.  It means that you will hold the rest of our feet to the fire and aide in keeping the Body on track and lined up with God's Word.

Let's look at an example from Scripture: the Prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah is a great example because he had the gift of prophecy operating in his life as a motivational gift, a ministry gift and as a manifestation gift.  He was the quintessential prophet.  Everything he did and said was motivated by his love for God and his strong desire for right and wrong.  He said whatever God told him to say to the people and to the king at the cost of his reputation and later his life.  He was considered by most to be harsh and uncaring.  The leaders of the day, both Jewish and Gentile, wanted him to stay quiet.  He could not, though.  He was a highly motivated prophet.  Isaiah, chapter 1 gives you a good taste of how this prophet operated and how he saw life and people.

If you scored high in Prophecy in your Spiritual Gifts Assessment, here are some interesting things you may want to know about yourself.  For you, everything is black and white.  You don't operate in the gray areas of life.  The gray areas in life are nothing; they are non-places.  You feel that people need to get right with God, seek His will and walk in it; or, get out of the way.  Things are either right or wrong.  If you see someone doing something sinful, it's hard for you to hold back the truth that can set them right.  I've known some who would give you a severe beating with the Word.  At the very least, you call sin what it is: sin.  Only through the development of humility in your own life do you become more tempered in your views.  The development of humility in anyone's life is God's job.

You are probably highly conscious of the political atmosphere, suspicious of quick church growth, somewhat critical of contemporary culture, very aware of the public unrighteousness that surrounds you and ever ready to shout at the injustice of the world.  You understand God's grace and mercy best when it follows a heart that has turned back to the Lord.  Isaiah 1:16-20 says this:
Wash and make yourselves clean.  Take your evil deeds out of my sight!  Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!  Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.  "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord.  "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword."  For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
 I hope you can see through the eyes of this prophet the black and white and the wrong and right that he sees.  I hope you can see through his eyes how mercy is given when hearts turn back to the Lord.

You can be a little scary for others in the Body.  Like Isaiah, you are often misunderstood and mistook for cold and uncaring, harsh, lacking grace and mercy (though that is not necessarily how you feel).  You are often uncomfortably direct and you never lie.  Your words can come out sounding judgmental, but all you really want is for others to wake up and understand the importance and urgency of knowing God and living right.  Because of this, others think you need to relax a bit.  They probably would prefer that you stay quiet because more times than not you will offend someone by calling sin, sin.  Enter your complete reliance on God.

This gift is most often found operating alongside the Motivational Gift of Teaching, but typically, if you scored high in this gift, you probably only scored average at best in something else.  I knew a person with this motivational gift who also had the gift of Serving.  What you won't find working alongside this gift is the Motivational Gift of Mercy.  It just doesn't happen.  The person with the Motivational Gift of Mercy deals in ALL of the gray areas of life.  In fact, many times you butt heads with the mercy people and they with you.  You have a hard time understanding the other one.  Although there are some pastors with the Motivational Gift of Prophecy, they typically come with the gift of Mercy; therefore, they can have a difficult time with you.

When the Holy Spirit is in control of your gift you are highly regarded and others will seek you out for spiritual direction.  When YOU are in control you become a pain in the rear.  (I say that in the most loving way!)  Know this: I already regard you!  My husband and my oldest daughter have this motivational gift.  I know you well.

Here's what you need to do if you have this gift.  First, do not be quiet, but do become selective in your moments to point out sin.  To be quiet would be to neglect your gift.  To be selective is being sensitive to the Holy Spirit's direction regarding when and when not to speak up.  Second, allow the Holy Spirit to work in you the fruit of gentleness so that others may hear you without feeling fear and condemnation.  Ephesians 4:15 says to "speak the truth in love."  Third, cultivate mercy.  It may not be your gift, but it is your calling as a child of God and a member of the Body of Christ.  Strive to find harmony with some, not all, but some gray areas because this is where most people live.  God is merciful and so should you be.  Fourth, work with your pastor, not against him.  Heed his words as a member of his fold.  It is not your job to convict others of sin, it is the Holy Spirit's job.

You are precious!  God gave this gift to the Body for the good of the Body.  Hopefully, I have clarified this.  The Body cannot thrive without you.  Because of your willingness to speak out on behalf of righteousness, it makes it a little easier for the rest of us to find the line in the sand.


NOTE:  The description of each gift is based on the highest score possible for an individual.  You may find that only certain things are true for you and the rest is only true to a certain measure.  We are individuals created by an infinitely creative God.  We do not fit any certain mold.  These descriptions help you to understand why you see things a certain way, why you act a certain way and why some things are more important to you than other things.  Most of us will score fairly high in 2 or 3 gifts and how these gifts rank and what God has you involved in at the time will determine how well these gift descriptions speak to your individual personality.


Annie Schrader said...

I most definitely do not have this gift! But it's interesting to learn about it anyway!

Kathy Buck said...

This gift describes me to almost all of what you said. As I was reading this, I was shocked!!, this is me! I am like this in so many ways. I was telling my daughter, I cannot lie. Every time I open my mouth, the truth always comes out. This is incredible, how much I found out, this gift is like me. Thank you so much for writing this. This is just so awesome!

Unknown said...

I appreciate the clarity of what you shared. I will be quoting you on one beautiful sentence..."The development of humility in any one's life is God's job." I do however disagree with the your perspective about the incompatibility of the Mercy and Prophecy gifts as I have both...yes, I am often conflicted but as I mature in faith and leadership, it is becoming a beautiful gift set that I am honored God has provided me with. Just throwing that out there to think on.

Unknown said...

It was Suzanne Kirsch that wrote that last comment...my beautiful wife.

Kerry said...

Yes, Henry (Suzanne), I probably should have stated that differently. Maybe like this: "Although not impossible for someone to have the Gift of Prophecy as well as the Gift of Mercy, it's not very likely you will fine someone with both gifts operating fully at the same time." Thank you for sharing with me and helping me to balance and round out my perspective.

Sam said...

Very helpful blog post. :)

It appears that the main gift God has given me is prophecy, with teaching a close second. (That agrees with your point that the two gifts often go together.) Interestingly enough, mercy and exhortation often show up as secondary gifts for me.

Frankly, I get a little bit tired of reading that prophets always see things in black and white. In fact, the book on spiritual gifts by Don and Katie Fortune says that it's impossible for someone with the gift of prophecy to see life any other way. ;)

That's definitely not true with me. Maybe it was more true when I was a lot younger. But these days, I deal in a *whole* lot of gray areas. In fact, black-and-white thinking is a simplistic way of looking at the world, and not really in touch with reality, which is incredibly complex. Children tend to exhibit black-and-white thinking, so as a believer grows, he or she should be able to become a more sophisticated thinker than that. Of course, certain areas are definitely black and white. For instance, if you don't believe that Jesus is the Son of God, I really don't see how you could call yourself a Christian. But on an issue such as going to see secular films at the movie theater, well, that's certainly a gray area.

Even though one of my secondary gifts appears to be mercy, I agree that prophecy and mercy don't typically operate at the same time. For instance, one part of the day the prophecy gift might be operating through me, and then only later in the day will mercy perhaps kick in. LOL.

Anyway, thanks for writing your blog post—great read.

Unknown said...

I dont agree with you that prophecy and mercy cant work together. I tested top 3 in this order Giving, Prophecy, Mercy. I will encourage you to read Hosea 4:1, Micah 7:20, Psalms 108:4, Psalms 100:5 and countless other versus where truth (prophecy) and mercy work hand in hand.