"Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Is there a way to prove it, when someone brings what they believe to be a “word from the Lord?” Yes, there is. And this fact alone tells us that not every “prophecy” is from the Lord.
Some come from the distorted thoughts of embittered individuals who unwittingly play into the hands of the devil, as he uses them to disrupt what God is doing in a person or a place. And some “prophecies” comes from a spirit of deception, working to distort truth and destroy true faith.
But some prophecies are real and right, and should not be discarded with a smug flip of the wrist; batted away as though it were a pestering fly.
So, how then can we know? Is there a way to recognize a prophetic word from the Lord. The answer is yes! In fact, in my years of experience, I have learned (by trial and error) that there are at least seven ways to authenticate a genuine prophetic word from God.
Just ask these seven questions, and be honest with your answers:
Does it lead me to Christ and fill me with love for His Church? The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; it will be at the heart of every true and authentic word from God.
Does it align itself with the clear and complete teachings of the Bible? "To the law and testimony," said Isaiah, "if they speak not according to this word there is no light in them!" (Isaiah 8:20).
Does it strengthen my faith and give me an honorable purpose in life? Paul assured us that a prophetic word from God would always build us up in the faith, and inspire us with courage for doing God's will.
Does it turn me from wrongdoing, promoting righteousness and purity in my life? God's Word will always direct our steps into God's ways.
Does it find wide acceptance and affirmation by notable men and women of God? The beauty of Community is that it provides a barrier against those things that would destroy our lives if left to ourselves.
Does it build up the Body of Christ, equipping believers to the work of ministry? The church is always strengthened and empowered with faith when God speaks.
Does it anger the self-righteous, exposing them as hypocrites? Those who use religion as a means for controlling others are outraged when prophetic words come, for such word represent a clear and present danger to their way of doing things.
Use this simple, straightforward test to "prove all things" -- and then, by all means "hold fast to that which is good!"