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Saturday, September 29 2018
Discerning  Of Spirits

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant...
1 Corinthians 12:1  

1 Corinthians goes on to describe those spiritual gifts.  Why are they important? Verse 2 tells us - You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however, you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. 

In an hour when we are inundated with lies and deception from the very sources that should be giving us the truth, we need this gift to properly discern the voice we are hearing.  If there ever was an hour we need the gifts of the Spirit it is now.  

1 Corinthians 12:10 - to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  

The gift of discerning of spirits (distinguishing of spirits in some translations) provides perception into the spirit world - which includes the Holy Spirit, both good and evil angelic spirits, and individual human spirits.  It gives supernatural insight into the realm of spirits.  The gift of discerning spirits is the God-given ability or enablement to recognize the identity of the spirits which are behind different manifestations or activities. 

We are seeing the rise in our nation of much perversion, immorality, and lies.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to discern good and evil.  If ever we needed to be sensitive to Holy Spirit to discern what is truth and what is a lie it is now.  In the area of compassion, much wisdom is needed.  Sometimes our greatest attribute is our greatest area of deception.  We are deeply compassionate about the plight of others but that is where the enemy works to draw our affections away from the truth.  Our compassion toward others must come from a place of being led by the Spirit of God and not by our emotions.  

The gift of discerning of spirits is greatly needed for the times in which we live.  Since not all supernatural activity comes from the Holy Spirit, sometimes it is hard to tell where it originates.  

                                "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
                                                               -1 John 4:1

We see different categories of discernment illustrated throughout the New Testament.  

  • Discerning Holy Spirit - John the Baptist discerned the Holy Spirit when the Spirit descended upon Jesus from heaven like a dove at His baptism.  (Matthew 3:13-17) 
  • Discerning Angels -  Scripture says that an angel appeared to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, "strengthening Him" (Luke 22:43)
  • Discerning the Human Spirit - From afar, Jesus discerned a guileless spirit in Nathanael (John 1:47-48). John discerned a "spirit of faith" in a lame man in Lystra according to Acts 14:8-10. 
  • Discerning Evil Spirits -  During His earthly ministry, Jesus discerned many evil spirits manifested in various forms (Luke 13:11-13).  Acts 16 reveals a story of a woman who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.  This girl followed Paul and Silas and cried out "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation".  Paul became greatly annoyed and through the discerning of spirits recognized an evil spirit in this lady and cast it out of her.  Today we would have become flattered by that but Paul recognized the evil spirit behind the flattery.  

The gift of discerning of spirits is not the gift of suspicion.  When we discern correctly we can use wisdom in how to deal with situations that arise.  As you can see, the gift of discerning of spirits has the potential to be explosive; therefore, it is crucial to use wisdom while exercising it.  In every situation let the wisdom of God guide us through by discerning the real spirit behind a situation. 

You can see how important it would be for us to embrace the gifts of the spirit and learn to walk in them as we move on this path of faith to reach the destiny that God has for us.  Without this gift in operation, the enemy can set traps that will derail us along the way.  Yes, have compassion for the plight of others but be sensitive to know when it is the Spirit of God leading you or the enemy setting a trap to get you off course.  We are not called to fight every battle.  Some are meant to wear you out so that there is no strength left to finish the race.  The enemy tries to bring disappointment to cause us to pull back and to give up.  Learn to discern through this gift the voice of the enemy and the voice of God.  

"My son, let them not depart from your eyes.  Keep sound wisdom and discretion; So they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck.  Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble"
-Proverbs 3:21-23

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