Avoiding the Pitfalls
Yes, there are pitfalls, but they can be avoided with a little caution and prayer. Here are some of the most common ones, along with a few tried-and-proven tips.
Wanting the credit
The first thing to watch out for is pride. As you begin to benefit from the messages you receive from Heaven, it’s a natural temptation to want to take part of the credit to yourself. After all, these wonderful words or pictures are coming through you, aren’t they? Certainly you must deserve at least a little special honor or recognition because of your ability to receive such messages from the Lord!
The words are coming through you and it is an honor to receive them, but this doesn’t make you any better than anyone else. It’s not of your own doing, it’s the Lord’s power coming through! As Jesus said, “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. … Without Me you can do nothing.”1 Remind yourself of that constantly. Give credit where credit is due. Pray and strive to be humble in spirit, and give God all the glory, regardless of how wonderfully God sees fit to speak through you.
“When you pray,” Jesus once told His followers, “don’t be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Well, they have their reward. Instead, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”1 And the same goes for prophesying.
Entering into your “secret place,” whether it’s your room, office, or backyard, is a key to successfully hearing from the Lord. You’ve got to get away from it all, in attitude as well as body. You shouldn’t “advertise” that you’re about to hear from Heaven. That doesn’t mean you have to keep it a big secret. There will be times when you should tell others about your gift, or share some of the messages you’ve received so that they can also be encouraged, but bragging about your gift of prophecy will often result in the blessing stopping there.
Also be careful that you don’t become so familiar with this supernatural gift that you get laid back or take it for granted. The Bible says, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”2 After you have heard from the Lord regularly for some time, you may grow overly-confident in yourself. After all, it’s easy enough now that you have the hang of it, you think. That can also lead to start thinking that maybe it’s you after all, or that you’re something special since you hear from the Lord so easily. Remember, it’s not in you; it’s just Jesus through you.
Failure to measure your messages against the written Word.
If you don’t check your messages against the written Word, you’re much more likely to go astray. Imagine that you are weaving a large and intricate tapestry. You’ve been given detailed written instructions, and as long as you follow those, the pattern comes out perfect. But if you decide you no longer need the instructions, you miss a thread here and a thread there, and the pattern gets messed up. The mistake may be so small that at first it’s hardly noticeable, but if you don’t stop and fix it and go back to following the instructions, you’ll end up with a horribly distorted picture.
Failure to check your messages against the written Word is often the result of depending too much on prophecy for guidance, to the neglect of the written Word. Another reason for not checking what you receive against the Bible is that it takes time, especially if you don’t know the Bible well. It’s work to pray and look for similar situations in the Bible that confirm or support the messages you receive, but it’s well worth it. If you are faithful to read and study your Bible a little each day, it will get easier and easier-and it will be there when you need it!
Other men and women of faith can also be of great assistance to you in helping you to apply and balance the words you receive from Heaven. The Bible says, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every thought shall be established,”1 and, “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.”2