Identity part 1

People can become infatuated with being called a prophet.

I regularly get contacted by people who want to explore their prophetic identity or say they are a prophet. Just because you call yourself a prophet, or have that title, does not make you a prophet.

Being a prophet is not your identity. It is purely a function.

My response is to encourage them to explore their identity as a child of God first. Your identity is not in being a prophet. Prophetic identity is living out the essence of who God has called you to be. It is vital we don’t get caught up in wanting to be recognized as having a prophetic gifting, or even worse, as a prophet. This is similar for anyone who has a gifting and allows that gifting to become their identity, e.g. evangelist, Pastor, etc.

Unfortunately, our world looks at the exterior and titles and thinks it is fabulous. What you, or others, call you does not enamour God. He is enamoured with you and who He made you to be.

We don’t prophesy to become someone special or a so-called prophet. We prophesy from a place of knowing who we are and whose we are.

We prophesy out of our identity, not to build our identity.

People can easily become caught up in their gifting as their identity and see people through the lens of their gifting instead of purely loving them.

We need to get caught up in being a child of God. In living our lives for God and allowing everything to flow from that.

The Oxford Dictionary defines identity as “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.”.

Who you believe you are is so foundational. Similarly, who you are becoming.

Our identity answers the question, “Who has God created me to be?”. Our identity does not answer the question, “What am I to do?”. That is a destiny question that follows from identity, but our doing is not our being (identity). When we get our sense of identity from what we do, then the very essence of who we are, our core being, becomes vulnerable and unstable. When an unexpected event occurs with what we do e.g. lose our job, fail a course, our identity and self-worth can fracture.

This past fortnight has been a significant time in our family. One of our children was on a challenging promotional course for thirteen days. On the morning of graduation, they found out they had failed one small section, which meant they had not passed the course. After the graduation ceremony, this child’s identity shone through as they declared that even though they were disappointed, it wasn’t final; they would try again next time. This child realized they were no less a person because of that failure. This child showed resilience and security in who they were as a child of God with how they handled the disappointment.

So often, when we look at our identity, we start with ourselves. We examine what the Bible says about us eg Psalm 139:13-18 and how we were created.

Imagine, though, if we began with looking at God and taking our identity from God and how He sees us. When we start with God and look at our identity through God’s eyes, we have a solid base.

Over the next few weeks, I will unpack what it looks like having a solid identity in God.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

Every week I list 5 prophetic activations/exercises under children/family, group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The purpose of these exercises is to practice to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and see and sense God and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.

1. Children / Families Activation:  Gather craft supplies eg stickers, glue, textas, and cardboard crowns. Ask each person to decorate a crown for themself, writing on the crown a word that God gives them that describes how He sees them. Orchestrate a special time of placing each person’s crown on their head, declaring over them the identity God has bestowed on them.

2. Group Activation: Spend time as a group hearing from God about your identity as a group. Craft a group identity statement.

3. Beginner Activation: Go to your food supply and ask God to highlight an item of food. Select that item of food and look at it carefully, asking Him to show you how that item of food relates to your identity. Spend time with God asking Him to reveal more about your identity.

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to show you a local street/place that has a high rate of crime. Ask God to show you His heart for that street/place and what He would love your response to that street to be.

5. Advanced Activation: Spend time with God asking Him to show you your nation’s physical and spiritual identity. Ask God to show you how He would love you to respond.

Your Identity as a Prophetic Person

Four weeks ago, my dad died. During the few days of dad being sick in hospital interstate, travelling for that and also for the funeral a week later and then dealing with dad’s house and belongings, I learnt a lot about myself and helping others dealing with grief. Everyone expresses grief differently.

Timing coincided with five other friends having their parent or an immediate family member die in the last four weeks as well. We have been to a lot of funerals this past month!

A question I have had is what is the most effective way that I can support my friends or someone dealing with grief. During this time, I have valued love, encouragement, generosity, prayer and a listening ear. Everyone expresses grief differently but there are some common elements.

  1. Our identity – in Christ or in your gifting?

The first of my biggest ‘ah-ha’ moment for me came with the realisation that our identity is who we really are in Christ. Our identity is not based in our gifting.

I had a friend who is experienced in prayer ministry try a method of prayer ministry on me during this time, not at my instigation but out of them operating out of their gifting being their identity. It left me feeling ‘robbed’ and ‘used’ when I really thought she was contacting me to listen to my journey, not probe deeply. I have had another with a prophetic gifting giving me a prophetic word when all I needed was a listening ear and love.

As someone with a prophetic or supernatural gifting, has that become your identity or is your identity still based in who you are as a child of God just with a prophetic or healing gifting attached?

Your prophetic gifting is a necessary function here on earth that is used to build the Kingdom of God here on earth. It is not who you are in Christ. We are not defined by our role but by our personhood and Father.

In your everyday life, do you operate out of who you are as a child of God or out of your gifting?

  1. The power of praying for someone

My second ‘ah-ha’ moment came with the realisation of the power of praying for someone in the here and now. Over the last several years, I have tried to apply the pattern that I wouldn’t say that I would pray for someone without then and there actually praying for that person out aloud with them. Often over the phone I will pray for someone. This really impacted me several times as I was sharing with close friends during the initial stages of dad’s hospitalisation about whether the doctors could actually operate on him without him dying during the operation or leave him to die. I desperately would have appreciated these friends praying for me over the phone. There was often a long silence, and they may have been praying for me silently, but I would have appreciated being prayed for out aloud over the phone. Those times that friends did pray for me, I definitely felt something shift and happen during that time.

  1. We are called to love and encourage

My third ‘ah-ha’ moment came with the fact that we are called to encourage and love. That’s it. Love and encourage. It doesn’t matter if our prophecies are not the best. What matters most is our ability to love and encourage well.

1 Corinthians 13:2 says “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

1 Corinthians 14:3 says “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”

Encouragement and comfort can be expressed in a variety of different ways – not just in prophetic words. A phone call, hugs, meals prepared (I had never experienced an uber meal before but this was a beautiful gift from a friend), practical needs being met, unexpected expenses covered, animals cared for, a listening ear allowing the grieving person to share, attending the funeral (wherever possible) to support your friend etc are all amazing ways of showing love and comfort. I had a close high school friend, whom I haven’t been in contact with for at least ten years but who lived close to where my dad lived, come to dad’s funeral to show her support for me. That gesture really touched me immensely.

A coffee date especially at the 6 week mark when friends are busy and the person dealing with grief is still dealing with the immediacy of the loved one no longer being present is also great. Expressing love, encouragement and comfort during times of loss can be huge and speak volumes and convey God’s love in ways we may never total understand.

Prophetic people are encouragers. Part of their identity, apart from being a child of God, is that they are true encouragers. They see the best in people. They see the ‘gold’ inside people and love helping to find and unlock that gold so that the person can become all that God has called them to become. Prophetic people are ‘gold’ diggers. To be prophetic yet ooze discouragement is an oxymoron.

How well do you love and encourage those around you?

What is your identity based in – your gifting or your sonship?

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

Every week I list 5 prophetic activations/exercises under children/family, group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and see and sense God and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.

1. Children / Families Activation: In preparation, cut out of gold coloured cardboard large round circles for ‘gold’ coins. Give out a ‘gold coin’ to each person and ask them to write a prophetic word or draw a picture that will be like gold for someone. Ask God to show each person who they are writing / drawing it for. Then give the cardboard coin to that person to encourage them.

2. Group Activation: In preparation for this activation, ask group members to bring a childhood photo of themselves. Collect the photos during the session and hand out the photos randomly to participants along with a sheet of paper. Ask each participant to write a prophetic word for the child in the photo they were given. Allow participants 10 minutes to write a prophetic word and then ask participants to one at a time show the group the photo and give the photo and the prophetic word to the rightful owner.

3. Beginner Activation: Try this week to say something encouraging to as many people as you can. Be careful not to say false encouragement but ask God to show you His heart for each person and encourage them in this.

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to show you someone who is grieving. Ask God how you can most effectively show love and encouragement to them this week.

5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to bring you into contact with a Foster family or someone who works in the Foster system. Ask God to show you His heart for these children and their carers and how you can most effectively communicate it to them and their carers.