Hope for A Culture in Chaos- When Wise God-Followers Keep Their Standards High.
February 15, 2021
One Year Wisdom Challenge #7
Does it seem like restraints and barriers have been removed from our culture?
Politicians lying and breaking promises are considered normal.
Cities and businesses are vandalized and destroyed, in the name of justice and equality.
Men can be women and women can be men.
The sexually confused label themselves “Drag Queen Story Hour,” (this is a real organization) and change a children’s library event into a striptease.
Abortion is not grieved but turned to a celebration complete with slogan t-shirts and hats.
There are complex reasons why cultures disintegrate morally but Proverbs 29:18 identifies one that we don’t often think about.
“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
The ministry of prophets is not only unwelcome in much of our culture, but also not welcomed in many churches. Solomon draws a line between a culture without restraints and a lack of prophetic vision. Sadly, many Christians believe this gift is not in operation anymore. Some are tricked and offended by prophetic hucksters who are not from God. They fabricate “words from God,” or worse yet, dial into the demonic realm.
God never intended prophecy to operate as a parachurch ministry. He ordained prophets to live and prophecy inside congregations.
Always calling out sin.
Always calling people back to God.
Delivering encouragement in seasons of judgement.
Reminding people of the duality of God’s love and justice.
Who is calling out sin in our churches? Some pastors do, but that is not their God-ordained role.
Who is challenging Christians with God’s view of sin and his character of justice? Again, not a pastor’s role.
Who is crying out for Christians to repent of sin?
Some churches allow prophetic ministry to operate inside their church walls but not nearly enough.
So, let’s think logically. If Christians are not being confronted about sin on a regular basis isn’t it reasonable to assume that there is a level of unchecked sin within the body of Christ? Or are we so arrogant to think that Biblical folk needed prophets among them, but we 21st century Christians are so much more mature, we can always self-govern, spiritually?
Why does God say that judgement begins in his house? (1 Peter 4:17)
Because we are his chosen priests and kings equipped with scripture and Holy Spirit within us.
Because we are supposed to be the leaders of any culture.
Because as the church goes, so goes a culture.
Christians, we need to stop pointing fingers at our culture and own our failures to be trend setters of righteousness and goodness. Part of the reason so many churches are so fouled up is because the prophetic voices are silenced.
Nobody likes correction and rebuke. Can’t tell you how many times church members would ask my husband Ken, when he was a senior pastor, to just “teach us the nice stories from the Bible,” as if they hadn’t heard them a hundred times already. These requests always flared up when God would give a prophetic sermon to Ken that challenged sin and the status quo.
Unless God gives a pastor a prophetic anointing, as he does do with some pastors, most would rather lick fresh paint than try to speak prophetically. If God gifted them to teach, shepherd or evangelize, and not with a prophetic gifting, it’s intimidating to try and wear a prophet’s mantle. Yet, we need those voices inside the church, calling out our spiritual baloney and reminding us of God’s standards.
Without a prophetic voice in my life and your life, our sin can continue unchecked. Pastors become weary from trying to deal with it. Really weary. Cultures slide into moral chaos because the standard bearers for righteousness have lowered their flags. We compare ourselves to the world instead of God’s Word, and we come out lookin’ good. Lowered standards.
That’s why Solomon said that people suffer when there is no prophetic vision. Look how poorly things went for Israel repeatedly when they refused to listen to prophets. As a nation they became an endless cycle of spiritual rebellion, conquest, slavery then finally repentance. I don’t currently see a vast difference between them and many modern cultures today, including America.
I’ve periodically attended and ministered at churches where the gift of prophecy is not welcomed. I understand your dilemma if you are in that situation. Here’s what God prompted me to do. Perhaps this can help you restore the prophetic voice to your church, but at the very least, to your own life.
1.Pray that God will speak to your pastors and leaders about this ministry and how to welcome it. Please don’t just go after your pastor and say, “Hey, how come we never have prophecy.” Bad form. It’s possible you are not supposed to speak with anyone except God, as far as your church is concerned. God will hear your prayers and cross your leader’s paths with the right resources and people. Trust him. Only talk to any of your leaders directly if God guides you to do so.
2. Learn about the gift of prophecy yourself and seek out authentic prophetic voices. I recommend a couple books here. One is “The Gift of Prophecy” by Jack Hayford and “The Beginner’s Guide to the Gift of Prophecy,” by Jack Deere. I recommend reading one of these books and searching this matter out for yourself before you select a prophet to whom you start to listen. Honestly, the huckster dial has gone off the hizzle since YouTube and other social media have become so popular.
Some people don’t mean to be hucksters but they are “prophesying” without understanding how God intended the gift to be used. One large red flag is if they have daily or frequent prophecies. What they don’t understand is that God speaks many prophetic words only with the intention that the hearer will pray about them. Consider the Biblical prophets and how they rolled before you sign on with any modern prophet’s ministry.
God will be delighted that you desire to understand something about his kingdom that you’ve previously not embraced. That is the way of wisdom. He will guide you to the right teachings and people that help you become mature in this area of the faith life.
Are you regularly engaged with a prophetic voice somewhere? Who has the courage to confront you about ungodly attitudes and behavior and lace it with grace? If your answer is “No one,” I challenge you to begin to change that today.