The new year is approaching, and as expected, the full range of self-proclaimed prophets will begin declaring their predictions for the year ahead. I believe in the prophetic and God’s desire to speak through His people to the church. However, every wide-eyed spiritualist who can create a YouTube channel has run onto a stage declaring their pronouncements in the last few years. With predictions of the world’s end to promises of “this will be your best year,” this motley crew of church influencers preys on the gullible. Those who solely hear direction for their lives through popular prophetic words often discard the not-so-dramatic discipline of seeking scriptural counsel.
Why does this happen? Many of Christ’s followers have abandoned the daily disciplines of prayer, scripture reading, and serving in a church community. As a result, they piece together God’s will through the breadcrumbs of coincidences. Hearing God through random numbers, isolated symbols, and various social media avenues is a prime setup for deception. Do numbers and symbols have significance? Yes, they do. However, nuances of revelation must be held loosely in contrast to knowing God’s will through reading and understanding the Scriptures.
Too often, church members have told me that God spoke to them with some erroneous direction. Once, a young woman came to me saying that she felt it was God’s will to marry a man she had met. They had only known each other for a few weeks. “He’s the one, I know it,” she declared with great delight. I asked her why she felt this way. She replied, “when I first saw him at church, he was passionately worshipping. He sang in a way I had always imagined my husband would.” “From that moment,” she continued, “I knew he was the one for me.” She said they had the same favorite color and a prophetic word of affirmation associated with the number eight. In response, I asked, “Did Jesus point you to any specific passages of scripture concerning this relationship?” She looked at me as if I had cussed her out. A bit startled, she blinked a few times and walked away with no response. Sadly, she moved forward with her plan, which ended in a horrible divorce within a few months. It broke my heart to see the havoc that such a fragmented decision-making process produced. Yet many navigate week after week, making small or significant decisions with a similar haphazard method.
Let me urge you to go beyond emotionally spiritualized hunches, random symbols, repeated numbers, or social media posts. Don’t look for breadcrumbs of affirmation when you need to hear God’s voice. Instead, put a pause on your busy schedule. Find a place to worship. Open your Bible and read until God speaks. Then take your felt revelation to mature friends and let them hear the counsel you feel God is giving you.
Avoid the merry-go-round of prophecy propaganda this new year and go straight to Jesus. You may find that the true prophets will often affirm the life directions that God is speaking to you in private.