Distinguishing Between the
Calling and the Commissioning
by Rick Joyner, Elijah List, March 16, 2011
he ministered as a prophet, or a teacher, or both.
Many of the mistakes that have devalued the spiritual currency of prophetic ministry have come from the failure to distinguish between the calling and the commissioning. As we see in the Book of Acts, Paul was called as an apostle many years before he was commissioned to that ministry. Estimates of how long it was between Paul's calling and his commissioning range between eight and fourteen years. It is clear in Acts and from Paul's letters that this time was spent in preparation, and that during this time,
If you are wondering whether you have been commissioned yet, then you haven't. When the real thing happens, it will be clear, and you will know that it came from God and not just men. Until then, we are in training, and the more significant our calling is, the more intense and usually longer and harder our training will be.
Each prophet in Scripture was unique. There are common factors, but the Lord who made every snowflake different loves diversity, and He relates to all of His people in a unique and personal way. For this reason, we may never exactly copy anyone else. We can learn from others, but must focus on the Lord, beholding His glory and being changed into His image, if we are to become who we are created to be.
Walking in Sensitivity and Obedience to the Lord
This leads to another basic truth about the prophetic every person, every church, and every situation we minister to is unique. Those who receive a word and then try to apply it to everyone or every situation will cause a lot of confusion, at best. Even when the Lord spoke to the seven churches in Revelation, He had a different word for each one. These all existed in the same general area, and at the same time, but they were all different and all needed a different word. Instead of focusing just on ourselves and our message to be true, we need to be focused much more on those we minister to and be sensitive to what they need.
This is not to negate the fact that some words may be for the Church in general, such as the word that Agabus had in the Book of Acts that a famine was going to come upon the whole world. This was obviously a word that all churches needed to hear. However, most of the words we receive will not be applied so universally, so we must be even more sensitive to know who they apply to and when to give them. This requires constant obedience to the Lord.
In the coming weeks, we'll be covering many examples of how people received revelations, and also how some were misunderstood, or misused, so that hopefully others will not have to make the same mistakes. The Bible is candid in this way, and we must be too if we want to be trusted with greater authority and revelation. In the increasing intensity of these times, mature, trustworthy prophetic voices will become increasingly important. We must not cut short our training.
Until you are commissioned as a prophet, you are free to make and learn from your mistakes. Those who think that they cannot make them are already in a dangerous delusion. Even mature, commissioned prophets can make mistakes, and if they think they are above them, they are much more certain to make them. We see in part, we know in part, and we prophesy in part (see I Corinthians 13:9). Even partial revelation can be extremely helpful, but it always leaves room for humility, which is demonstrated by openness to others, and for the need to constantly seek the Lord. Both of these are essential for all who will remain true to the Lord.