The term “discipline” describes any process or behavior that produces maturity. Self-discipline describes process or behaviors produced by strength of will. In one sense, all discipline is self-discipline even when the discipline received comes through a leader. Submission to that leadership or “following,” applies the discipline. Discipline and punishment differ in both intention and application.
Discipline produces maturity through endurance. Discipline comes through our response to principles and protocols. Doing things “right” leads to doing things with greater power, precision, and maturity.
For prophets and people who operate in the gift of prophecy, maturity comes through the application of principles and protocols in the prophetic process. The prophetic process begins with revelation; it starts in perfection because it starts with the mind and heart of God. Immediately the process engages humanity, the process meets principles and protocols, the disciplines of function that help maintain the integrity of the prophetic process.
Revelation, communication, interpretation, application, and implementation. No particular of the prophetic process functions within a vacuum or as a stand alone void of further purpose or strategy. Revelation does not function in solitude even when the revelation is completely personal: Holy Spirit teaches us by revealing things but this is not technically “prophetic” even though it involve knowing and learning by spiritual means.
Therefore, for those functioning as prophets or operating in the gift of prophecy, personal disciplines that mature the people involved in the process matures the process. Mature the people, and you help to mature the process.
Prophecy communicates revelation. Until communication occurs, nothing prophetic has happened. To be technical, we may receive revelation from God that is not prophetic. Prophetic activity involves communication. The word, “prophetes,” combines “forth or before” with “communicate, speak, bring to light.” Thus, prophecy means, “speak or communicate openly or make known (what is hidden).” Revelation received requires communication to be prophetic. Moving revelation into communication may be as simple as writing in your journal but requires communication to be prophetic even if you are communicating with yourself at that point in the process.
Therefore, a vital personal discipline for a prophet or someone functioning in the gift at a more mature level would be to guard your tongue, to discipline your communications, to watch over what comes out of your mouth, and to speak with increasing maturity as a person whether that communication is prophetic or not.
A consistent, personal, and spiritual battle surrounds revelation that involves the prophetic person’s speech patterns and habits. This battle occurs at the heart for communication is the overflow of the heart. Anyone engaged in revelatory process encounters a pattern or cycle of testing temptation toward impurities, foreign objects, filters, forgeries, interruptions, and hacking from the enemy. Count on it. Prepare for it. Engage in intentional disciplines to avoid being victimized by the methods of hell to pollute and pervert your heart in order to pollute and pervert revelation.
“He that has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit says.” Communication often arrives in words, language, and conversation. So, the purity of your conversations, language, and words may become extra important in the maturing of your function and operation. All people involved in prophetic function and operations must learn to speak or write what they “hear.” They must become good listeners or adept at selective, discretionary, and discerning hearing.
Listen for God’s secrets with ears that lack interest or attention in any sources of information contrary to His voice. By that I mean, that prophetic people have discerning ears that listen for God’s finished ideas. Beware the tendency to question God when you should be questioning everything and everyone but God. Prophetic people mature in listening to God because they grow up in their listening. They stop questioning the very leaders who would mature them into better listeners.
I am talking about listening with your spirit and your heart with speech recognition awareness. Mature prophetic people discern that “God doesn’t talk like that” and “that doesn’t sound like God.”
Gossip is murder. Fear of man is theft because it communicates to diminish people as a means of feeling better about our present condition or as a means of striving for something that does not belong to us. Pretense and exaggeration embellish, a lying spirit that discredits truth with exaggeration as a means of rebellion. What the heart embraces will overflow like a spring through the mouth.
Paul says value prophecy, put to the test all; take possession by grasping hold of what is good. “I’ve already heard it,” you say, “What do I do with the bad?” Now you are really talking the language of discerning listening! Mature listeners maintain a hold on good stuff when they hear it. They learn to dismiss things unworthy of attention across a broad spectrum of good, bad, meaningless, trivial, and distracting. The sense of Paul’s words speaks to listening for value and grasping hold of what is treasure.
Revelation arrives through visionary impression, vision, trance, and “seeing with your spirit.” Many people see more than they hear. The imagery immediately requires processing, and the more quickly spiritual people move spiritually revealed things through spiritual processes, the more pure the communication of revelation becomes.
God will relate things visually that you recognize from natural world experiences but the processing of these images must immediately pass through a different process from the ones used by the natural man. “To the spiritual, all things are spiritual” does not mean that spiritual people cannot enjoy a painting without seeing some demonic or kingdom message in the brush strokes. What is does mean is that when spiritual things come into the spiritual person’s life, they process spiritual things spiritually.
So, make a covenant with your eyes! Turn away. Dismiss with your mind. Reject with your heart. Get mature in processing what you see. Do not fall for the presentations of the world! Stop the mesmerizing efforts of python cold!
Consider how the heart is the real source of prophetic function, gift operation, and revelation processing, even more than eyes and ears. From the heart of God through the heart of the prophet or prophetic person or seer or intercessor – words arrive and release, actions and activities move, filters and blockages form. “Above all, guard your heart; everything you do flows out of that spring-source.” No matter how perfect the revelation, mature the principles and protocols, a hard, impure, fearful, wounded heart will always produce some inferior communication, interpretation, application, and implementation.
Relationships in the prophetic person’s life will always be less than perfect. The issue is not perfect relationships and peoples around you, but the maturity of your responses, the unselfishness of your expectations, the priorities of your motives.
The enemy is after your heart, and the test exposes the maturity of your heart. No matter at what level the revelation empowers the prophet or prophetic leader, the heart of that prophet or prophetic leader provides a limit to the process. Elijah’s prophetic immaturity diminished his victory on Carmel. His heart condition was exposed by the immaturity of his expectations.