By Joanne Penn
It’s amazing how something as simple as a compliment can change your entire day. There you are, going about your life at the grocery store or grabbing some fast food, and suddenly someone tells you that your hair looks nice or that they like your shirt and where did you get it? Instantly, up from the bottom of your soul comes this unspeakable happiness. Someone thinks you look good! You meditate on it. You smile about it in the car. You check yourself in the mirror to make sure they were talking about the right person. At the end of the day, no matter how good or bad it was, you remind yourself, “Hey, at least someone thought I looked good!” All it took was two seconds of someone’s time to speak up and tell you that they appreciated something about you. It wasn’t even a deep revelation. But for a moment it turned your world upside down and gave you some happiness.
Can you imagine what would happen to the world around you if you started looking at people for what was good about them and then telling them about it?
In 2 Corinthians 5:16, Paul talks about not recognizing people “according to the flesh.” The idea is to notice others based on who God made them to be, or based on the dreams God put inside of their heart, not just on what they’re wearing or how they’re behaving. In fact, not knowing others after the flesh is what the prophetic gift is all about. Prophecy gives us the ability to see someone from the inside out and to call forth their heart’s desires; to make known the realities and mysteries of everything God has in store for them.
Sometimes when people talk about prophetic ministry it comes across as this grandiose phenomenon – stand on a stage and pick people out of a crowd, tell them what they had for breakfast and what will happen to them in the next ten years. But prophecy is not a gift about show and tell; it’s a gift dedicated to helping people come to know a God who loves them and has good plans for them. Prophecy is simple. It’s about taking two seconds out of your day, looking at someone for who God made them to be, and then telling them about it.
Sometimes we think prophetic words have to be “important.” We strive for those “great big prophecy moments.” You know, prophetic words that shake the atmosphere and cause people to fall on their faces in awe and worship! But sometimes we fail to remember that the true power of prophetic ministry is about noticing the little things. Take 1 Corinthians 14:24-25:
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.
This verse talks about the “secrets of [the man’s] heart.” This isn’t referring to his sin, but instead is referring to the secret dreams and God-given desires of this man. The scenario plays out like this: Someone who either doesn’t know God at all (or doesn’t know that God speaks) enters a room, someone else tells them about a dream buried inside their heart (the dreams they’ve given up on, the desires that they don’t think will ever be fulfilled) and then tells them that God wants to help fulfill those dreams. It’s as simple as saying, “Hey, I notice that you’re really talented. I think God wants you to follow that passion.”
To have a lifestyle in prophetic ministry is to notice the little things on a daily basis. When we’re standing in the line at the grocery store, we ask God how we can show love to the person at the counter. When we’re cooking dinner, we can look for ways to encourage our family. When we’re at work we can send a nice email to someone that lets them know they are special. Prophecy doesn’t have to be a big moment. It doesn’t have to take hours upon hours. If we know that a two-second compliment can change someone’s entire day, then two seconds of telling someone that God believes in them can have the power to change someone’s entire life.
And that is the challenge – to find a way to live a prophetic lifestyle. To find two seconds out of our day and ask God, “How can I show your heart to someone today?” Can you imagine how many lives you can change in just two seconds?
So here’s the challenge: When you’re out and about today, take two seconds and compliment someone. Then, take another two seconds and tell them that God loves them and has really good plans for them. Then wait and see how God will transform the world around you and bring joy to those who need it today.
Access Joanne’s blog at http://joannecpenn.wordpress.com