Boundaries in the prophetic – What does that mean?
Let’s start with the Holy Spirit. He is the very reason we are able to see the miraculous happen here on earth. Using our human hands, brains, and hearts, the Holy Spirit expresses Himself through us.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 – “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as He wills.”
All of these things are gifts to us and are meant to be used for the common good of the world around us.
And though the Lord is infallible, we are not.
Now, taking risks in these areas of our spiritual life is necessary in order for growth. When we are born again we are born into a new spiritual reality where we have access to the things of God – something we have never experienced before!
It is powerful, exciting and mysterious. In order for us to grow and learn we have to take risks.
However, for the safety of yourself and others, there are some boundaries to the prophetic gifting that we have to have in place.
When we speak what we feel God is saying about a person or what He is showing you about their life, it is a sacred thing that is happening. When people’s hearts are open to what you have to say, it’s because they believe that you may be hearing from the One True God about their life. Because of the weight of this reality, you have to be careful not to overstep your bounds.
Three easy guidelines to stewarding the prophetic well can be summed up in three specific boundaries.
Dates, mates and babies.
“Dates” – Giving someone specific dates on which you believe something specific is going to happen, is risky business.
For example, we want to avoid proclamations like “On January 5th of 2020 you are going to have a significant raise in your salary”. Or “On November 21st, 2019 you’re long-lost son will return to you and everything will go back to normal.”
We may feel like we are giving the person on the receiving end hope, but you need to keep in mind that we are not always perfect and on point with our gifting. We have to make sure that we are protecting the hearts of our friends and family. You want to avoid the possibility of setting them up for extreme disappointment.
So instead of giving a specific date and making a strong declaration in that way, you can instead explain what your seeing/feeling in a way that resembles, “I feel like the Lord is working in the life of your son and may give you an open door to connect with him in the coming months.”
Instead of placing a weighty expectation on a time or date in the future, we are placing hope and expectation in the Lord and what He is saying about that person’s circumstance.
The same goes for “mates” and “babies”.
We do not want to overpromise something like a long-awaited romantic relationship and/or marriage, or even a baby that a couple as been contending for. These are the topics of life that go deep into someone’s heart, and if we aren’t careful, our fallibility and their willingness to hope can become a devastating concoction.
Boundaries to the prophetic
Someone that works with the prophetic in a very healthy and profound way is Shawn Bolz.
Shawn is known for his gift of words of knowledge, that is, knowing specific details about a person’s life that he would otherwise never know but through the voice of God. Though Shawn is able to tap into this part of the prophetic gift, he is able to navigate it in a way that puts people’s hope in Jesus. Not just in what he is claiming to happen in the future.
Below is a clip of Shawn talking about the prophetic gifting and hearing from the heart of God.
If the prophetic is something you wish to continue to learn about and grow in, Shawn Bolz is a great example of how to do this well.
Remember, taking risks is essential to the journey of growing in God and the things of the Spirit. But also remember that there are hearts at risk, too.
Have fun, take risks, but remember the boundaries that keep both you and your loved one’s safe.
Also consider taking one of our prophetic e-courses.