Luke 1:67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
Throughout the Bible, when it says someone was “filled with the Holy Spirit,” the most common activity connected with that is prophecy, even for people who were not considered prophets as such. Before Pentecost such instances were pretty rare, but after Pentecost they could actually be said to be the norm. Even in the Early Church there were people who had specific gifting, the office, if you will, as prophets. Agabus (Acts 11:28; 21:10) comes to mind. However, Paul urged everyone to prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1-5) Today we mystify prophecy and associate it with fortune telling, when that is not the New Testament picture at all. Particularly for those given to the Church as Prophets (Ephesians 4:11) there is often an element of speaking out what has not yet happened in the flow of time, but that is far from the only, or even the major, focus of New Testament prophecy. Prophecy is very simply, speaking out what God is saying. Most often God speaks to us about right now, and as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14, He does so to comfort and encourage us and build us up. We can imagine how comforted, encouraged, and built up those who heard Zechariah speak must have felt! Too many people seek spiritual gifts for themselves, that is, to make them feel big and important, rather than as tools to bless others. That is a complete degradation of the whole idea. We are to seek to be filled with the Spirit and to exercise His gifts in order to draw people to Christ, build up His Body, and give Him glory.
I well remember that when I was seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit for the sake of the gift of tongues, nothing happened. However, when I sought the filling on the basis of God’s promise, with no strings attached, He followed through. However, to teach me a lesson, perhaps, at that time no “spiritual gifts” were manifested, but I was given a completely new and natural boldness to witness to others of Christ. In the years since then I have experienced every spiritual gift mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 at least a time or two. Other than tongues, which are frequent but devotional, the most common has been prophecy. That has only occasionally been predictive, but it has always been encouraging. I seek to be prophetic, that is, to speak out what God is saying, every time I am given an opportunity, but He is the judge of how faithfully I do that. Like Paul, I strongly desire that everyone in my care likewise speak out what God is saying, by the presence and power of His Spirit. We limit ourselves so badly by only looking at ourselves, instead of at our omnipotent Lord who wants to use us for His glory!
Father, thank You for placing this burden on my heart. Help me be effective first of all with the flock in my direct care. Enable me to help them lift their eyes to Christ and move out in all that You have planned for them. Help me also be effective in communicating this truth more widely as You give opportunity, through writing and speaking. May I indeed express what You are saying when and how You are saying it, so that many may be raised up as the disciples You seek, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!