There is Not A Gift of Prophecy.
The prophetic is not one
gifting, it’s several related ones. First the basic ones, available to anybody:
• Every believer can hear God’s voice. John 10:27 speaks to this.
• Pretty much anybody can prophesy when they’re in a prophetic environment. King Saul did in 1 Samuel 10:11.
In addition to those, some people get specific gifts. In fact, the whole Trinity gets involved: each person of the trinity gives their own version of the prophetic gift:
• Holy Spirit’s gift is described in 1 Corinthians 12:10. It’s a “tool in the toolbox” kind of gift: pull it out & use it when you need to.
• Father’s gift is in Romans 12:6. It’s a “This is how some people are built. This is how they relate to the world.” kind of gift.
• Jesus’ gift shows up in Ephesians 4:11. He gives some people as prophets, and their job description (v12) is “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
Prophecy is much
more about knowing what’s on God’s heart than it is about predicting the future. But the future is on his heart, so they do in fact go together.
Final word about it: 1 Corinthians 14:1 says we must “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” We are commanded to want to prophesy.
Left Turn: Discernment:
First cousin to the gift of prophecy is the gift of discernment. Both are critical in this day and age, and it appears that you have both gifts.
Properly called “discerning of spirits” (from 1 Corinthians 12:10), the gift has a few highlights:
• First, it’s about judging spirits
. It’s not
about judging people. When you heard noises and saw creepy things on that person, I suspect that what you encountered was demonic spirits showing off, not something weird that weird guy was doing.
• It means that you might see things that not everybody sees. That’s OK. It doesn’t make you weird (though you may be weird on your own…); it means you have a gift from God.
• The gift of discernment is mostly
about being able (with experience) to identify, “This is from God,” “This is just them,” or “This is demonic.” You may develop to the finer discernment: “This part
is from God,” “This
part is not from God.” I have observed that not everybody gets there.
• The word means literally, “To know all the way through the thing.” As you mature in the gift, this aspect comes into play: as you discern gunk (like the creepy thing on that guy), you have authority
over it: because of who you are in Jesus (and the “in Jesus” part is the biggest part), you can tell the creepies where to go and what to do. Mark chapters 5 & 9 have some cool stories illustrating this.
• Note: guard against interpreting the gift by what other people tell you. Let the Holy Spirit tell you (remember John 10:27). He’s the one who gives the gift, so he’s the best source of training for it. There are a whole freaking lot of ignorant ideas floating around out there.
Neither of these gifts work all that well without practice, even training. I encourage you to use the gifts, and to talk with other folks who use the gifts. Growth is necessary. Without growth, the gifts will likely kind of fade into obscurity.
On the other hand, even with pursuing the gifts, the experiences we have in God will likely be less dramatic than the early days, not more so. The goal is to focus on the One who gives the gift, not the gift itself, and so he whispers, so that we have to snuggle closer to him to hear. That’s because it’s safer for us there, it’s better there, and frankly, he really likes
it when we snuggle close to him. He’s that kind of God: he likes his kids close.
Note that the gifts - all
the gifts - are tools, not toys. But nobody said that you can’t have fun with the tools. Just know that there is no “kid’s size” version of the gift of God; they still have the power to change a life forever while you’re learning. Have fun with them, but have fun carefully! By all means, play! But play safely.
Oh yeah, the gifts are to
you, but they’re not for
you. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” The gifts are more for the people around you than they are for your own benefit, like Jesus did: he was always healing other people, doing miracles for other people, not all about himself.