MEMORY VERSE: To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:10
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: Psalm 119
There are several types of discernment. There is what we may call “natural discernment”. This is the judgment that we pass on people, circumstances, and on our own behavior. It is derived from the teaching we received in our homes, and the effect of our environment and culture. Our natural “consciences” are composed of this kind of material, and therefore they are unreliable. Christian and non-Christian alike have this. There is the true intellectual discernment which comes from the mind that is being renewed in Christ. This discernment grows as we meet and receive Christ and get to know Him better, through fellowship and through the study of the Word of God. As we grow in the Christian life, the Holy Spirit sorts through our minds and consciences, discarding the wrong, and adding what is right. If God has been permitted to work in this way, as times goes on, our minds and consciences will become more and more in agreement with the scriptures and with the Holy Spirit living in us. It is important for believers to develop in this kind of discernment as it is a strong defense against false doctrine. The moment we hear a strange new teaching that is not keeping with the truth, we should be able to say that God doesn’t act that way! There is the “false supernatural discernment” possessed by people who have been serving Satan, or people who are oppressed or possessed by enemy power and influence. They are repelled by the presence of anyone who is walking in the Spirit.
The “discerning of spirits” is quite different from all we have talked about. Firstly, it is a spiritual gift. 1 Corinthians 12:10 says, “To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.” Like all the gifts of the spirit, it does not come through training but is given in a moment when and as it is needed. Any Christian may manifest this gift, but like others, and it is intensified after the baptism of the Holy Spirit. By the gift of discerning of spirits, the believer is enabled to know immediately what is motivating a person or situation. Also, the gift of discerning of spirits enables the believer to discern the kind of spirit that is operating in an environment. Whilst the sense of presence of the Holy Spirit brings joy and love and peace; the discerning of wrong spirits brings a sense of heaviness and unrest. The discerning of spirits is a kind of “police” gift, to keep the enemy’s influence from causing serious problems in the fellowship. In Acts 16:16-18, a girl with a wrong spirit, spirit of divination, met Paul and the brethren and followed them wherever they went announcing to everyone that they were men of God. This she did for many days. Thank God for the discerning of spirits; Paul cast the spirit out of her. When Peter made this great confession about Jesus: “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Jesus commended him. When Jesus began to tell his followers, however, that He was to die, Peter would not accept His words. He began to rebuke Jesus, saying, “be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee!” Jesus discerned that Peter was speaking in a wrong spirit, and said: “Get thee behind me, Satan: you are an offence to me: for you savour not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:15-23). When Jesus was not received in the village of the Samaritans, James and John were so angry that they asked Jesus whether should command fire from heaven to consume the people. But Jesus said: “You know not what manner of spirit you are of” (Luke 9:54-55).
NOTE: An important use of the gift of discerning of spirits is in bringing deliverance. One is able to know what spirit is in operation and cast it out
Bro Samuel | Reaching the world