God holds his children to a higher standard of behavior than the children of mammon. To compensate for this, God gives his children special gifts that the children of mammon rarely receive, the main one being the gift of revelation. What we do with that gift determines in large part whether we grow closer to God or fall away.
There are two types of revelation God gives his children: one is public and the other is private. We see examples of both of these in the Old and New testaments.
Public revelations are, of course, meant to be publicized. These are the words that Jesus mentioned we will “hear in the ear” and are then to shout from the rooftops. There are no restrictions on this form of revelation. It is meant to be spread far and wide, here and now. The Bible is the best example.
Private revelations, on the other hand, are words and signs and visions that God gives to each of us individually that we are either to keep to ourselves or share only with a select group of people. Or we are to keep them to ourselves for a future public reveal. This type of revelation is given to those whom God trusts. Jesus shared certain things only with his closest disciples, not all of them. He knew each of their hearts, so he knew who he could trust. He also knew who could handle the truth and who couldn’t.
And there’s the crux of the matter – God has so much he wants to share with us, but he can only spoon-feed us as much as we can bear. Some of us are only getting occasional medicine-droppers full, as that’s all God can trust us with. That’s because, time and time again, he’s given us something to share publicly and we kept it to ourselves, or he gave us something that was meant for us alone and we blabbed it all over the internet. YouTube is full of these wrongly publicized revelations.
But God, as we know, is not mocked; he tests us first to see how far he can trust us. He gives us a minor word or vision and then leaves it with us to see what we will do with it. If he tells us to share it with everyone and we don’t, we fail that test, just as we fail when he tells us to keep something to ourselves and we post it online on an open forum. These are tests. We pass or fail them. If we pass, God trusts us with a little more; if we fail, we’re back to square one.
Public revelation should line up with scripture. That is the litmus test for public revelation. If it does not align with scripture, it is not from God. Paul reminded us of that when he warned us to “test the spirits”.
Private revelation, on the other hand, is entirely off the books. God gives me some real zingers on occasion that are custom-made just for me. Some of these revelations relate somewhat to scripture, but most do not. They are private messages and signs, different from my ongoing conversation with God. As I said, these revelations are special gifts. Every so often, for whatever reason, God bestows them seemingly out of the blue. They are always a surprise and they always hit the spiritual spot.
As born-agains, we are God’s children in his earthly kingdom. God wants to reveal himself to us just as he wants to reveal his kingdom to us, so we can know what his will is for us and what we need to do to accomplish it. But first he needs to know whether or not he can trust us with his words and visions, so he tests us.
The next time God gives you a word or vision and tells you to make it public, make it public. If he tells you to tell something to someone, tell that person, no matter how nonsensical it may sound to you. If he tells you something amazing and then warns you to keep it to yourself, don’t you dare tell anyone, not even your diary. And don’t say it out loud. These are tests. God wants to know how much he can trust you. The more he knows he can trust you, the more he will reveal himself to you, and the more he reveals himself to you, the closer you will grow to him and Jesus.