Understanding the Gift of Discerning of Spirits

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The Gift of Discerning of Spirits is one of the most important gifts for life and ministry.    It is the supernatural ability to judge or discern whether the true nature of a thing, whether good or evil.    It is the ability to see or know what spirit is operating in a person, place or thing. 

It reveals true intentions, whether good or evil, the spiritual atmosphere of a location.  Have you ever walked into a house, or room and help a peace, or heaviness, that is one aspect of discerning of spirits.  You may later discover the home was filled with joy or anger and abuse.  

1 Corinthians 12:10  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kind of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Every believer needs this gift to effectively if you are doing the work of the ministry.  You often saw Jesus and the Apostles operating in this important gift.  Hebrews 5:14 says:  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 

Paul told believers to develop the ability to discern that they can distinguish, what is of God and what is evil.  Discerning of spirits is actually the gift of the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom in operation together.  It is the instant knowledge of a thing.

Read more about the gift of the spirit

Discernment of Spirits Definition

“Discernment of Spirits is, the ability to determine hidden motives, spiritual error and what spirit is in operation behind what is being presented.”

Natural Discernment

We all have discernment.   Have you ever been walking down the street and you felt inclined to change your direction and go another way, only to find you have avoided some trouble by changing your direction? This is natural discernment or intuition.  The Miriam-Webster Dictionary definition of intuition is a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence: a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.

Have you ever met someone and for some reason, there was something about you that made your skin crawl?  This type of discernment happens to even to unbelievers.   All too often we ignore this second sense, but if you are sensitive to listen to this inner knowing.  You do not have to be a born-again Christian to experience natural discernment.

Why We Need Spiritual Discernment

Do you have the ability to judge between good and evil?  Do you know when you are hearing the voice of God?  If you lack the gift of discernment, it is because you have not yet developed the ability to know when the Lord is speaking. The good thing is, you can learn to discern God’s voice, through consecrating yourself to the Father through prayer and spending quiet time alone with him.  The closer you get to God, the clearer you will hear his voice.

Spiritual Discernment is Necessary

Discern the will and timing of God So you might not be lead astray   John 10:27
To  see the traps of the enemy That you will not be pulled into sin    James 1:14
To know what spirit is being manifested So you know how and what to take authority over   Mark 5:9
To  judge between truth and error To keep you from falling into spiritual error   1 John 4:1
To know between liberty and bondage To remain spiritually and mentally free  Colossians 2:8

 My Experience with the Gift of Discerning of Spirits

When I was working as a legal secretary in New York, there was a young man working in the mailroom.  When I encountered him, I was very uncomfortable.  One day the young man came to deliver some mail, and when I looked in his eyes, my heart dropped, because I saw an evil spirit.

I was shaken, and I knew instantly this man was under the influence of the enemy.  My sister worked in the same office with me, and I told her, what I saw when talking to the man.  I did not know what it was but felt it was a perverse spirit.

Later that week, I had the opportunity to speak with him.  The Holy Spirit had me confront him in a very strange way.  I asked him, had he ever been involved in something that you know is wrong, but you like it and cannot stop?  His face completely changed as though I knew something very specific about what he was doing.  I invited him to a service my church was having and gave him a  gospel tract.

At the end of the week, my sister told me, security caught the young man was caught on the phone, making an obscene phone call to a woman.  He had been making these calls to the female employees at home.   Of course, he was instantly fired.  This was discerning of spirits in action.  I knew he had an unclean spirit and the Lord confirmed this.

How to Receive the Gift of Discerning of Spirits

Spiritual discernment comes from the Holy Spirit, and it is the spirit of truth.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  When we receive Salvation, the spirit of God comes to dwell within our heart or spirit; that spirit quickens or awakens our spirit to the mind of Christ. This gift can be strengthened by prayer and fasting.   

It shines the light brightly, so that we can see what is God and what is not.  John 14:17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Using Discerning of Spirits in your Daily Walk

Being able to discern will protect you in your walk with God, lead and aid you in your ministry, personal and your financial dealings. You will be able to separate the true from the false, and the good from the bad and freedom from entanglement.  It is not the gift of suspicion, and the Spirit of God giving you supernatural insight.

God has given us all that we need to walk in truth and liberty through his word and his spirit.  John 16:13.  The more you are used in this gift, the more you will understand what he is showing you.  This gift works along with the gift of wisdom. 

When the Holy Spirit shows you something, about a person or situation, you should pray about it right then.  Ask the Lord to show you what you should do with the information you have just received.  With all the gifts, wisdom is needed.  God’s gifts should always be used to heal and bring freedom to others.

2 thoughts on “Understanding the Gift of Discerning of Spirits

    1. Louella, when you pray for your son, pray the answer, not the problem and find and used scriptures that build your faith. For example Lord your word says, you have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. I thank you that my son has a strong relationship with you and that he loves you with all his heart, mind and soul.

      Lord, I thank you that you are ordering my son’s because you promised our step are ordered by the Lord. Father, I thank you that you angels are around my son, always protecting him. Because your word says the angel of the Lord encamps around them that fear you. Find Gods promises for your situation and the God’s Word and the answer, not the problem! And praise his while you are doing it. He will move in your behalf.

      Also, pray in tongues. If you don’t have the Baptism in the Holy Spirit here is the prayer to receive it.

      Prayer to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

      Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. You are faithful and according to, Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

      You are my heavenly Father and you desire only good things for me. Lord, I as that you fill me with your Holy Spirit, baptize me with power and fire, and the manifestation of tongues, my prayer language. I receive it right now by faith, thank you. Now begin to praise God, and receive the Blessing.

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