Prophetic Maturity vs. Familiarity

Mar 21, 2024

It’s undeniable–there are more people prophesying on the earth today than at any other time in church history! 

This surge isn't just due to population growth; it actually has more to do with the resurgence of prophecy in recent generations. Even just a few decades ago, while there was an appreciation for the prophetic, it was primarily manifested through traveling prophets rather than within a community of prophetic believers. And while I pray the numbers of prophetic communities continue to exponentially increase, it’s important to note that familiarity with the prophetic does not equal maturity in the prophetic. 

A few months ago, Nikki Comolli, director of the Family Style Prophecy branch of Prophetic Company, said this statement: “Within a prophetic culture many people are growing in familiarity but not maturity.” What do we mean by this? Just because a community is comfortable prophesying regularly does not equate to maturity of the gift.  

The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians that Christ Himself gave to His Body the gift of prophets for the purpose of, “… equipping His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature…” (Ephesians 4:11-13). There are three key points I want to extract from this passage to help us understand what some of the process of maturing in the prophetic can look like.

 EQUIP 

Prophecy isn't a personal possession to hoard but a gift meant for the benefit of others. It is an equipping tool for the primary purpose of serving the world around you. If you are primarily a consumer of prophecy rather than a contributor to it, you are probably not growing much in maturity. Don’t get me wrong–receiving prophetic encouragement is important for every believer, and I often don’t know which I love more–giving a word or receiving it, because the same Spirit of encouragement is flowing in both directions. However, true maturity in prophecy involves recognizing and operating in its purpose: serving others in love. 

 BUILD

Prophecy is prioritized in the New Testament above every other spiritual gift because of its potent capability to build up the Church. I Corinthians 14:3 says that the purpose of prophecy is to strengthen, encourage and comfort others, which combined becomes a 3-fold cord of grace in a person’s life to build them up. Prophetic maturity is not just the receiving of spiritual intel but it’s the outflow of God’s thoughts so that the receiver is built up into their heavenly identity and destiny. Just because you can discern spiritual information does not mean the revelation you’re receiving will build others up. Only when you ask the Holy Spirit what He wants to say through that spiritual intel will it have the power to build others. Understanding the distinction between prophetic inflow and prophetic outflow, for the purpose of building, will help keep us on the path to maturity.


UNITY

It is only when we come into a unity of the faith and grow in the knowledge of Jesus that we will truly see the beginnings of maturity blossom into its full potential. Prophecy is one of the primary vehicles for revealing the person of Jesus Christ. Knowing about Jesus is one thing; knowing Him is another. Through this gift by the power of His Spirit, we can know His thoughts, His voice, and His heart. And when we know Him, we have the potential to grow into His likeness even more. Growing in the knowledge of Jesus is a catalyst for maturity because the more we know, the more we grow to be like Him in every way.

Even though we, as His Body, are all on this journey together towards maturity, acceleration can happen when we begin to intentionally practice the above. We celebrate that the gift of prophecy is becoming more familiar, but let’s not stop there. Let’s continue to persevere, grow, and mature until we become all that Jesus dreamed we would be in Him.