1 Corinthians 14:3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification, exhortation, and consolation.
This Scripture does not mean to make one ‘feel good’ or to tickle their ears as in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. Let’s break down the true meaning of this Scripture. The gift of prophesy speaks to men for:
1) Edification- In Latin, this word actually means ‘to instruct or improve spiritually.’ So, when someone is led by the Spirit of God to speak to someone, it’s to actually give them ‘an order or command’ from the Lord in order to improve their walk spiritually. Jesus gave many commands to individuals on what they had to do. He didn’t ask them. He commanded them (Matt.4:19). Sometimes what God commands people to do, it may not sound ‘nice’ in their own eyes. Why? Because no one wants to be told what to do, especially if they walk in rebellion to God.
2) Exhortation- This means to urge someone to do something; persuade, or pressure. Again, this doesn’t sound very pleasant as well. When one is in rebellion to God, they don’t want to argue or be confronted (like when one is being persuaded to do something, usually this is because they aren’t actually in agreement with the opposite party); in addition, they’re being pressured into doing it. Some would try to say God doesn’t use these tactics. But He does and can. In Luke 14:23 Jesus told them to ‘COMPEL’ or pressure them to come in. God can use pressures around you to force you to come to Him, as it will be the only answer. God wants us to reason with Him (Isa. 1:18), or convince Him otherwise. If you’re wise, you would know that this won’t actually work. However, God encourages us to try with Him, but in the end, His answer will always be what He said to you already. It just comes to the point where your humility and submission must be dealt with with a bit by Him through this time of ‘reasoning’ with Him (James 3:3; Psalm 32:9; Prov. 26:3).
3) Consolation-This means to receive comfort after a loss or disappointment. If a word is given by the Lord through someone to someone for this reason, it’s because they’ve gone through something that has caused much loss within them or has caused much pain through disappointment. Often, God wants to give healing to this person from past things that have opened themselves up to terrible responses as a result of losses or disappointment. Understanding on why things happen can often come through these messages as well, which can help someone move on in their lives spiritually, in Him. All of us have experienced loss or disappointment at some point in our lives. This is where God wants to come in as the Comforter and Healer, to search the deep areas for His understanding (John 14:26; 14:16; 1 Cor. 2:10).
In conclusion, don’t misunderstand the purposes of prophesy. It is NOT used to ‘build you up’ in what you’d like to hear, but more so what you need to hear at the time. Whether it be to edify, exhort, or console…it’s purpose IS to build you up spiritually but it may not be done the way you thought it should be done. ( Isa. 55:8-9)
Hear what the Spirit is saying…