A prophet is someone who speaks God's truth. At its very core, that is the definition of prophecy - speaking truth. But when we are talking about speaking God's truth, there's something else that is essential in that, and it is speaking life.
Our God is a God of life. Yesterday, we talked about what it means to be speaking God's glory, and God's glory is...life!
God's glory is hope and grace and mercy and forgiveness and joy and love and life. Even when we read the prophecies of destruction, we find in them a thread of life. We find that what runs through them is God's deep love for His people and His own heartbreak at how far they have fallen. We hear the words of judgment, of condemnation, of discipline, of conviction, and still, something in our heart sings grace. Something in our heart catches the melody of mercy. Something deep inside our soul understands love.
We are a people who inherently understand that some truth is hard truth, except, ironically, when we are the ones who need to hear it. But despite our often-vocal protests, something in us still recognizes that this hard truth is not just meant for us, it is good for us. It is exactly the kind of truth that we need, and if that's the case, then this truth is love. This truth is for our life.
Too often, we're not using God's truth for life. We're using God's truth for death. We're using God's truth for power. We're using God's truth for condemnation without any hint of mercy or grace or love. We're using God's truth to throw our brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends under the bus, then we're hopping in the driver's seat with all of our self-righteousness and running right over them.
Friends, this is not prophecy. In fact, I would go so far as to say that any truth spoken without love is false prophecy. It is not God's word for anyone.
Read that again: any truth spoken without love is not God's word for anyone.
If someone doesn't walk away from hearing you speak truth and know God's love for them, if someone doesn't walk away filled with hope, if someone doesn't walk away with their heart stirred toward holiness, then you have not spoken life. And if you have not spoken life, then you have not spoken truth. And if there is no life and no truth, there is certainly no love.
We have to get better at this. We are just so bad at this right now. We are just too full of ourselves, and there's not enough room for the goodness and glory of God to get into what we're saying. The Bible says that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, but when we haven't got life down into our very bones, our words betray us. They reveal that. The world sees that we don't have it. And when we don't have it, the world does not hear God when we speak.
We need more prophets in our world, but...real prophets. No more of this fake stuff. No more of these false speakers. We need more persons who speak God's truth, God's full truth (and remember - full truth doesn't always have to be the whole truth). We need more persons speaking love, speaking mercy, speaking grace, speaking hope, speaking joy, speaking glory...
Let's do it.