Many of us are familiar with Jeremiah 29:11, where God tells His people, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” God made this statement to His people while they were in Babylonian captivity for 70 years because they disobeyed Him. In spite of their behavior, the prophet Jeremiah spoke an encouraging prophetic word to them.
God often uses prophetic ministry in the same way today, addressing people’s potential and not necessarily their present condition. Some people, however, sadly use their prophetic gift to call out people’s sins. Yet, when we use the gift of prophecy to mine the treasure inside of everyone made in the image of God, a major shift begins to take place in him or her. That person no longer sees him or herself enslaved to their present identity or circumstance, but instead is introduced to heaven’s perspective. New Testament prophetic ministry speaks to the high value and divine potential God has given people. This is the true purpose of prophetic ministry! It must be rooted in love, immersed in hope, and motivated by faith. The price that Jesus paid on the Cross determined the value of the people He purchased. God saw something good in us even when we were sinners (see Romans 5:8). Jesus didn’t die for junk! Jesus made it very clear that He bought an entire field so that He could have the treasure in the midst of it. We are His treasure, and of course He is ours!
It doesn’t take a prophetic gift to see the sin in sinners or the junk in the lives of Chris- tians. It does require the eyes of God, though, to see broken people like Simon (Simon means “broken reed”) and in the midst of their brokenness, call them Peter (Peter means “rock”) (for more on this, watch the video). True prophetic ministry is looking for gold in the midst of the dirt in people’s lives.
The gift of prophecy is not simply patting people on the back, telling them nice things about themselves, and pretending that there is nothing negative in their lives. Instead, prophetic words are so supernaturally powerful that they can actually unearth the gold in the hearts of people—gold that is hidden under the dirt of their lives. This often displaces their confusion and delivers them from guilt, shame, and sin.
Prophecy confronts false mindsets and sinful thought patterns with new options, which awakens new realities in the lives of people, often initiating the process of rethinking how they live, love, and behave.