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What are you listening to?

Ginny recently recorded a short video looking at the question - what are you listening to? In the video she seeks to answer the following questions:

Do we need to listen to every prophetic word that we hear of?
What if we miss what God is saying?
How do we know what we should be listening to?

About Ginny
Ginny is part of the ChristCentral Apostolic Team which brings direction and oversight to our family of churches. Born and brought up in Sheffield, Ginny and her husband Stuart have been part of City Church Sheffield and it's Baptist predecessor for over forty years. Ginny is currently on the staff of City Church serving both pastorally and prophetically as well as travelling in the UK and Canada to help teach and train in these areas. Ginny has held a long standing expectation to see revival in the UK and is passionate to see local churches thrive and grow as they experience the work of the Holy Spirit in their midst. Stuart is now retired so spends much more time travelling with Ginny, and helping to entertain their four lively grandchildren. Ginny recently published a new book "Overpowering Nemo - Encountering Deliverance and Walking in Freedom" you can read more here.


Hello, I just wanted to take a few minutes to consider what it is that we listen to, in our daily walk with God, and I find that difficult or confusing times such as the times that we're living in right now can give us that tendency to listen to anything and everything that may give us a sense of what is happening.

We can look for something that might help us in understanding what God is doing and we can find ourselves turning to listen to all kinds of prophetic voices, turning to the internet at times to look for that latest word on current events.

Sometimes it's not even out of an uncertainty, but it can be just that we're quite fascinated with what people are saying.

So how do we listen? What do we listen to?
Well, we read in the Bible that God gives many people words of prophecy. So clearly, we are meant to listen to prophetic words, when they do come.

How do we discern what in particular we should be listening to out of everything that we might come across?
Well, I think we start from remembering some key points, one of them being that the prophetic gift is not the primary thing that we listen to, but the Bible itself is the primary place to go. That's the number one place that we go in terms of discerning our direction or finding our comfort and strength.

All prophecies should be subjected and tested by what is written word, so we should subject what we’re hearing to what the Bible says. The Bible tells us that the prophecy that is given is primarily for the gathered church, in the context of a spirit filled people gathering to worship him, it's not an individualistic thing.

Now there are times when God gives people words of knowledge for individual believers or even for non-believers but the primary focus of the gift of prophecy is to speak into the gathered church. We can read all about this in 1 Corinthians 14.

We also read that the effects of such prophecies would be to build up, to strengthen and to encourage us. These words are meant to encourage the church in their faith, to build them up in their faith, they are supposed to bring comfort through their faith.

What we listen to should primarily be that which comes to us in the course of our gathering together to worship and which affects strengthening of our faith. Of course, prophetic words can sometimes come to us as individuals outside of these times when we are gathered together, but these words that we listen to would usually come from those we know and have clear accountability within the church.

We do not need to listen to words which bring us into fear, condemnation or any kind of judgement. Even if it seems as if God is saying that he's bringing that judgement, that he's bringing that condemnation well, why do we not need to listen to that?

Well, we don't need to listen to that, because the gift is given to build us up. As I've already said, it's given to comfort us. It's given to strengthen us, so it's not given to pull us into fear, or even to pull us into judgement because we also read in the Bible that there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ!

Because of Jesus this judgement has been lifted from us! Sometimes some prophetic words will bring a challenge to us or cause us to be convicted in some particular way or of the need to change or the need to move on in some way. But when those words come, they usually impact it in a way where we become nearer and closer to God and further strengthened in our faith!

So what about prediction?
So many things out there at the moment are predicting. Well, we do read in the book of Acts, that prediction in prophecy does happen. So we can read for instance in Acts of that time where Agabus came down to the church in Antioch, and he brought a predictive word. He predicted about the time of famine to come.

So, should we be listening to predictive prophecies?
Well, once again Agabus was known as a prophet. He travelled in a group of prophets who were all accountable within the church in Jerusalem and were known to the church in Antioch, and this predictive word did not tell them what to do, how to behave or bring them into fear. Rather this predictive word about a serious famine to come caused a response of generosity. The people to decide, this is what we need to do, this is what God would have us do. Therefore when that famine came, they had been motivated to help.

So sometimes predictive prophecies do come, but they will not tell us what to do and they will not bring us into fear. They will bring us into that place of faith to move out in some way, certainly. We should not be listening to words that bring any kind of inadequacy to us, any sense of, well, we're failing in, in what we're doing or we will not be able to rise to that, because we have everything we need in Christ to bring us, to that that he wants us to do.

So, when we hear something that's predictive, we do need to think: who is bringing this, in what way are they bringing this? What do we discern is what we should be getting from this? What is God, therefore asking us to do with this and how do we respond to this?

So, we weigh up this predictive prophecy in the same way as other prophecies. It's about accountability of the source, it's about asking has it strengthened us in our faith, has it built us up? Has this helped to prepare us in some way? Has this helped to prepare us to help others be prepared in some way?

Remember too, that even among the biblical New Testament prophets such as Agabus, sometimes they brought something in the generality, so the very specific things of what they brought may not have been quite as maybe they were heard. So, when Agabus spoke about this famine going across the whole world, in fact, when we look back in history, we see that it wasn't the whole world and it wasn't even the whole known world to them, but certainly there were famines in that era of Claudius, which we read was the time when the famine came.

So, we have to be careful that we're not listening to every single little word and putting too much weight on each word, but rather we're getting hold of the gist of what's being said in a way that hopefully encourages us and helps us to be prepared.

New Testament & Old Testament Prophecy Are Different
Finally, it's worth remembering that New Testament prophecy is not the same as Old Testament prophecy. In the Old Testament, the prophets primarily spoke to the nation and to the leaders of the nation in the. New Testament prophecy speaks to the church and to the leaders of the church. It's about his Kingdom, which is made-up of every tribe and nation, diversity in union.

It's not about a particular people group or a particular nation being lifted up or judged, rather there are those in the church, who have had their condemnation lifted, and there are those outside the church who are still under judgement. Darkness and light dwell together and pervade every nation.

So, we must look at the context, and we must look at accountability and we must look at what this prophetic word is leaving us feeling. Is it me leaving me feeling and built up in my faith, is it leaving me encouraged? Is it leaving me comforted? Or is it bringing me into fear or that sense of just being fascinated by what is being communicated? Because we only want to be listening to those things that do build us up in our faith.

The Bible tells us to strengthen ourselves in our most holy faith, and so all the gifts are given to help us to do that! So, I would just caution us to guard our hearts to be careful of that that we are listening to, to not allow fear and judgement to come upon us, because that does not come from the Lord. He will bring us encouragement and the Bible tells us that before Jesus comes again, there will be difficult times, there will be famines, there will be earthquakes, there will be all manner of disasters and wars and so.

So actually, if we want to know what God is doing, the place to go to is to the Bible all the answers are there, any prophetic word should be in tune with the Bible. Any prophetic word should be helping us to go back to that scripture to say yes, this is what the Bible says, this is what I'm building my life upon that which God has said already!

So, we don't want to be taking hold of things and listening to too much that will try and sway us this way and that, that will try and bring us into fear, but rather let's listen to those things that build us up in the Lord.

Let's remember that God has said that he's marked out his people, he's marked his in our foreheads and he says that we are hidden in him and he is unshakeable! So, we are hidden in the unshakeable. one and we can have every confidence that if we need to hear God tell us anything. If we need to hear God in a specific way, we can have every confidence that he is well capable of speaking to us and causing us to hear something even as he spoke to Balaam through a donkey! He is well able to speak to us so we do not need to listen to every voice out there. We do not need to trawl the internet trying to hear God. He will speak to us, through the word, through those who preach each week in our local churches, through those who bring that prophetic encouragement week by week in our local churches, through those who have been put in our sphere who bring that same kind of prophetic encouragement, these are the ways he will speak to us. And we can be sure that he will make clear in our own hearts that which he wants us to know, that which he wants us to be confident in.

And so I just want to say, take care and be careful what you listen to. Thank you.