The church needs a group of people who will speak life to this generation. Simply a word from God can totally change a situation. I remind myself of this when I am preaching. One of the Bible passages that come to mind in those situations is Jeremiah 23:21-22 (NIV):
21I did not send these prophets,
yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
yet they have prophesied.
22But if they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds.
The setting of these verses is a reminder of how the prophets of the day were doing it wrong. Then we get these verses that anyone can use to speak life whether you are speaking to a thousand people or to your kids before they head off to school.
Take time to be with God
The biggest danger was that they were not spending time in God’s council. I like to think of this council as a combination war room, court house and throne area of a king. We are invited to come boldly there during our time in prayer and the Word. If we do not we will become like those prophets who had to make something up or simply repeat something they heard someone else say. There is no substitute for our own time with God.
Listen for God to speak
The danger we have when we do take time to be with God is that we dominate the conversation. Not that we shouldn’t speak and bring our needs but we do need to remember that one word from God is more important than anything that I could ever say. Take a notepad or some other way of capturing what we feel that God is saying.
Speak life courageously
If God gives us something to share with someone it will bound to be scary for us. In these verses the person is even called to proclaim a word that would turn people from their evil ways and evil deeds. So speaking will require some courage to be obedient to say what God has given you.
Speak with humility
It is easy for courage to turn into arrogance. As I wrote about when talking about increasing your speed of listening to God, we are going to make mistakes. We will make mistakes by adding to what God has told us to say. We will make mistakes by picking the wrong place or medium to communicate the message. That is just two of the possible mistakes we can make. If we are wise we will give room for our possibility of failure and manage our attitude accordingly.
Speak with grace and love
Anything that God speaks through you must be communicated with love. Jeremiah was known as a prophet of tears. Being prophetic doesn’t give you license to be a jerk. Too many bring “a word from God” but by being obnoxious miss out on anyone hearing what they are even saying. So I must ask myself, “What is the most loving way to say this?”
Leave the results to God
Jeremiah spoke the truth and people wanted to kill him. Even if it is a positive response it may take people months or years for people to really digest the message. So as long as you have done the things above, don’t stress out by people’s response. Pray for them and as is possible live at peace with them into the future.
Although all of this is hard and I make mistakes in this all the time it is what our generation needs. It will also bring new life and hope to your adventure with Jesus.