If a person claims to have received a word from the Lord to give to you, the first important point is to “recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you” (see 1 Thess. 5:12).
Is the person respected in the church and in the body of Christ, or is he or she a rebel on the loose and a self-appointed prophet who left a church in a negative manner because the “pastor wasn’t spiritual enough”?
At times, pastors detect arrogance and pride and a wrong spirit, and this is why this lone ranger prophet or prophetess was removed from the assembly of the saints! So the first point is not to accept a word just because a person claims, “The Lord told me thus and so . . . ” Know something about the person’s reputation and character.
The second point is to examine if the word agrees 100 percent with the inspired Scriptures. Never, and I do mean never, will a word from the Holy Spirit contradict the Bible. The Lord will never tell a person to suddenly leave his or her companion for another “more spiritual” individual, because marriage is a covenant. (Some have done this in the name of “the Lord told me to.”) The Lord would never permit a person, in the name of Christian liberty, to participate in substances that cause drunkenness and addiction to an individual, for “drunkards” cannot “inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:10).
God is not the author of confusion, nor is He the author of most church splits where individuals are hurt, offended, and quit serving God because of the confusion and distrust created when people divided their loyalty. God is the author of “peace . . . in all the churches” (1 Cor. 14:33).
The third point is that a prophetic word must agree with your spirit and will only confirm what you already know. Because vessels are human and subject to fallibility, prophetic words are to be judged by other mature and older people within the church, as it is written: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge” (1 Cor. 14:29).
The Greek word for “judge” here is diakrino, which can mean to “separate thoroughly” and implies the ability to dissect what was spoken and see if it is a correct statement. The root word krino is a legal term meaning to make a decision on the basis of the information presented, similar to the informed decision a jury makes after hearing the pertinent information.
When you tell a person giving you a prophetic word that you are going to judge the message by sharing it with other mature believers, you will be able to tell if that speaker has the right spirit. A humble sincere person will agree, but the “prophets” who speak out of their own spirits will become angry that you would even question their spiritual integrity and authority!
Perry Stone is the best-selling author of numerous books, including Purging Your House, Pruning Your Family Tree and his book, Exposing Satan's Playbook, from which this article is adapted.