Are you a prophet? Most definitions relate to speaking for a deity and uttering special revelations, or some kind of inspired teacher or spokesman for a movement or doctrine, but Dictionary.com also defines it as “6. a person who foretells or predicts what is to come: a weather prophet; prophets of doom.”
We are all familiar with the messages of some of these prophets, especially in an economic downturn. And don’t get me started on the whole “global warming” issue! Not all of these “foretellers,” however, are negative. Sometimes their revelations are so rosy and positive that you think they may have been a little bit “cheery” when they made their predictions.
We all have opinions about what is to come. Some of us are very free with our ideas, as well, especially when it concerns someone else. “That boy is never going to grow up.” “There just isn’t any future for that girl. She’ll never amount to anything.” Not nice. And yet, this, again, is not the emphasis of the article.
I am “a going to meddlin’” in this article today, because I want to talk about negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Some call this negative self-talk. Whatever it is called, speaking to myself in negative, degrading terms is an unhealthy way to function. It actually influences how I think and act, which brings about the very result we prophesied. We limit our emotional, physical, and spiritual lives with negative thoughts and attitudes, prophesying our futures in a way that totally disagrees with God’s view of and plan for us.
I am not suggesting that we disavow the truths of Scripture regarding the sinfulness of humanity and individual responsibility. We are all sinners, each one has gone astray (Romans 3:23). Jeremiah states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9). While this is true, as is evident with each scan of the national or local news, it is not the end of the story by any means.
There is a healing for the wickedness of the human heart. Jesus died to pay the price for our sins, and then sent the Spirit to enable us to be healed and transformed into the image of Christ. While it is true that I am a sinner, it is also true that I am a sinner saved by grace, forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ, not because of my goodness, but that of Jesus Christ.
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:21-24).
What can we be positive about? What can we say to ourselves, then, that agrees with God’s Word and furthers God’s will for our lives?
WHAT I SAY: I am a sinner. I have offended God with my actions, my thoughts, and my words. God doesn’t want me.
WHAT GOD SAYS: God does want you, which is why God send Jesus to earth. It is God’s will that everyone be saved.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
WHAT I SAY: Not even God could forgive my sins. Even if the pastor says so, I am still ashamed. I don’t know how God could love me.
WHAT GOD SAYS: God is greater than our sins and knows what we have done, and yet, God forgives us.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:19).
WHAT I SAY: I make mistakes, fall short, miss the mark, and sometimes willfully sin, and I probably will again. In fact, I don’t think I will ever change.
WHAT GOD SAYS: I do not need to fear my failings or my tendency to make bad choices, because I belong to God. It isn’t my ability to change things that matters, but God’s ability to change me.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship” (Romans 8:15).
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
WHAT I SAY: How could anything I do be in God’s will? I mess up so much. How could God use me? In fact, nothing I do even matters.
WHAT GOD SAYS: Everything in our lives is a part of the work God is doing in us, whether our own mistakes or our successes, our bad choices and our confession. God is a Master Weaver who takes every strand of our lives and uses them to make an amazing work of art.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). It doesn’t say those who do everything right, but those who have been called, and it is God who does the calling.
How will you “prophesy” about yourself today?
Will you look in the mirror and say “Oh, what a mess”? Or will you look in that same mirror and tell yourself, “I am a child of God, loved beyond measure.”
When you make a mistake, will you tell yourself, “I am so stupid”? Or will you utter a short prayer to God such as, “Lord, I am weak, but you are strong. Help me overcome this problem and use this error for your glory.”
When you are weak, will you just give up or remind yourself that the Spirit of God within you is strong and turn back to Christ?
Friends, it isn’t easy to speak to ourselves as God speaks, but it is possible, with practice, to agree with God even when we don’t feel like it. Yes, we should recognize and agree that we have sinned and that we need a Savior, but then we should also agree with God that we are loved, forgiven, and cherished by our father in heaven.
You are loved!
Mary Kay Glunt, Pastor