We are moving into unprecedented times where it's hard to know how to make a positive difference to the world around us. There are so many different perspectives and opinions and complex issues to wade through, let alone figuring out how to move forward once you've identified a genuine problem that needs to be solved. Many of the solutions that worked yesterday, just don't cut it anymore. In many ways, we need a new approach to living a high impact life. How?
High Impact Life As It Was Meant To Be
Last week at MAKE Church, we considered how 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners' (1 Timothy 1:15). The idea of salvation is very big! Jesus wants our sins forgiven, restoration to our heavenly Father, but also for us to step into the life that He created for us before the beginning of time. Even this simple summary of the gospel informs us of the plans God has for us at the big picture level. But God is willing to speak to us about his plans for our lives with sufficient clarity for us to walk out those plans. Our job is to listen and do it! The Bible is the one place we have written down for us the words of God which we use to assess everything else we will experience in this world. But as we walk out a life of faith in Jesus Christ, there will be other ways that God will communicate with us to help us walk out his plans for us. They will fit within the bounds of what the Bible tells us, while helping us to have greater insight into God's plans for us personally.
The Importance of All of God's Words In a Life of Faith
As the Apostle Paul writes to his true son in the faith Timothy, he is giving him strong encouragement to walk out his calling in Christ Jesus. He writes,
'Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience' (1 Timothy 1:18-19).
As Paul considers the particular task that Timothy has been called to do, he wants Timothy not to let go of certain prophecies that have been made about him. Later in the letter Paul also mentions how Timothy was prophesied over by elders who had commissioned him with laying on of hands (1 Timothy 4:14). We don't know the specifics of the prophecies because we don't need to. The important thing to realise is that Paul didn't want Timothy to forget about them, because they were all part of God's communication with him, which he needed to live out his life of faith with Jesus.
Have you had prophetic words that you believe to be from Jesus to you? Would you be open to receiving them if he wanted to give them to you? What are we to do with prophetic words we might receive?
Have Faith and Good Conscience In All of God's Words To Us
Paul explains that with all that God has spoken, his written words, as well as words of prophecy or truthful words and ideas that the Holy Spirit might bring to us in other ways, our job is to trust those words and live in accordance with them, with a good conscience.
'Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.' (1 Timothy 1:18-20)
Now these verses confront us with the disturbing reality that if we shrink back from faith or a good conscience, then we could be handed over to Satan. That doesn't sound good and it is certainly not. Note: Paul is talking about teachers within the church who have deviated from Christian truth (cf. 2 Timothy 2:17-18, 4:14-15). But for our purposes, the thing to note is that they missed faith and a good conscience. They stopped believing the words of God or flat out ignored them. This would have become clear to Paul and others as they stopped holding to Jesus teachings and the Scriptures. Yet, this kind of shrinking back from faith can begin with despising prophetic communication we receive, something Scripture warns us against (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22) and that Paul is contending for Timothy not to do.
Whereas we can begin believing prophetic words as coming from God, we can then face circumstances that make us doubt God's plans for us. What we ought to do is to take that to God and pray through it with him, calling out for Him to do what he has said he will do. But instead people can start to doubt the prophetic words and even subtly look for ways to avoid believing parts of Scripture because they don't fit their experience.
Certainly there is a place for testing prophecy when we receive it. If it cuts against the written words of Scripture it's important that we raise that with the person giving the prophecy. Further, if what the person has said doesn't sit right with us, it is worth noting that, praying about it and rejecting that which we don't believe to be from God.
But where we have heard from God, let's trust his words and walk them out in good conscience. That's all he asks of us. In doing so we will see the true impact Jesus wants flowing out from our lives in these uncertain times. What a privilege to be called into His Kingdom and to have a part to play in the things He is doing in the world today!
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
You might like to think a little bit more about your spiritual health, by taking the Spiritual Health Check Score Card here.