My first experience of personal prophecy was a sobering one. I had not long become a Christian. I saw no reason to part company with all my friends, who at that time were not yet Christians. But they were all I had and I loved them dearly. I attended a Full Gospel Business Men’s International meeting (I know I was the wrong gender and occupation but I was chasing after God and didn’t really care).
They had a visiting speaker who was known to walk powerfully in the gift of prophecy. At the end of the meeting, he invited people who wanted to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to come forward for prayer. So I did. Little did I know that my life was about to change big time. When he prayed for me, I went down like a sack of potatoes (even though I had made a deal with God that I would only go out for prayer if He assured me I was not going to “fall down under the power” and make a fool of myself). After he had prayed, the man of God began to prophesy over me (this is a gift of the Spirit that enables one to speak God’s plan or purpose for another person or persons and this is sometimes accompanied by an insight into the person’s present, past or future life that the person prophesying could not have had if God had not revealed it to them). The gist of his words were that he could see that I had a bunch of friends that were a bad influence on me and if I wasn’t careful, they would lead me down a path of destruction. I am sure you can understand why as a new born in the kingdom of God, I was terrified by this prophecy. So I promptly left the meeting and told my friends that we could not be friends anymore because God had told me that they were a bad influence on me (talk about tactlessness at its best).
So here I was, friendless and feeling very miserable about it. But Papa God is always faithful even when we make mistakes. The second part of the prophecy was that if I did stop hanging about with these bunch of friends, God would bring Christian friends into my life and they would help me grow. Now I am not saying that God always asks us to get rid of our non-Christian friends when we become born-again – how else can we influence others for Him? In my case He probably saw that I was too much of a people-pleaser at the time and if He didn’t deal with that attitude I might have ended up reverting to my old behaviour instead of allowing His power to transform me into the person He wanted me to be. Anyway, slowly but surely, I began to make new friends, people who encouraged and inspired me to draw closer to God. The very thing I needed.
So what does this have to do with anything, you might ask? Well the Bible says that the road to heaven is narrow and only a few get on it (Matthew 7:13,14). This tells me that walking this road may seem quite lonely at times because the crowd will always be going in the opposite direction The temptation is to think that if there are more people on the other path (the one that does not lead to heaven), then they must be going in the right direction. Wrong. I came across this prayer in a movie about a woman who chose to follow God despite quite tough challenges.
Though none may go with me,
Still I will follow
Still I will follow.
It made me ask, “what is more important – to follow God even when it is hard going, or to go my own way?”. Or worse still to go the way that others expect of me. I know you think the answer is quite clear – and it is. However in the daily choices that we make in life, in seemingly small matters, how often do we choose an action or express an opinion because we know that it will be acceptable to most people? If we had to walk a road that was the least popular option (like stand publicly against abortion for example) and we found ourselves the only ones (at least among our friends) on that road, would we keep walking? Or would we persuade ourselves that somehow it was for the good of others if we agreed with them or at the very least remained silent about what we think?
When was the last time you stood up for what you believed in even if it meant loosing a few friends? When was the last time you chose a path that no-one else wanted to walk just because you felt it was one to which God was calling you? Don’t get me wrong. It is never going to be easy. And I struggle with the same need to be liked and approved by others (I am getting better, thank God). But equally I want to hear these words when I meet Papa face to face – well done good and faithful servant. And if that means that I am going to have to walk a lonely path on some occasions while I am on this earth, then so be it. There are even times when you are called away from other Christians to pursue Him in a way that the others may not have been called. Many men and women of God who have done great things for Him have faced the ridicule and ostracization of friends and family when they chose to obey His voice. God often calls us to places and projects that makes no sense to anyone else but us – at least in the short term. Think about Noah and his ark. Likewise if “a maestro is to conduct an orchestra, he must turn his back on the crowd”. One thing I do know, one that walks with the Saviour is never alone.
So what is it to be? Will you decide today that though none go with you, still you will follow your Father’s voice? Even in the face of opposition from any quarter? My prayer is that you will. And with the help of His precious Holy Spirit, you will succeed. And bring glory to His name in the process.
In His Precious Name