The Gift of Discernment Discerning Whether the Good Spirit the Influence of God


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the Church, one’s soul) or the bad spirit (the influence of Satan, the world, the flesh) is at work requires calm, rational reflection…

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

In this verse, believers are commanded to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” This same command is echoed in other parts of Scripture as well. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 we find Paul exhorting the Christians do not “despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”

Who is able and qualified to do this, according to the Word of God? 
The answer is that only an individual who is truly a regenerated believer in Christ, only a person who is therefore indwelled by the Holy Spirit, can exercise true spiritual discernment. 

The spiritual gift of discernment is also known as the gift of “discernment of spirits” or “distinguishing between spirits.”  The Greek word for the gift of discernment is Diakrisis.  The word describes being able to distinguish, discern, judge or appraise a person, statement, situation, or environment.  In the New Testament it describes the ability to distinguish between spirits as in 1 Corinthians 12:10, and to discern good and evil as in Hebrews 5:14.

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The Holy Spirit gives the gift of discernment to enable certain Christians to clearly recognize and distinguish between the influence of God, Satan, the world, and the flesh in a given situation. The church needs those with this gift to warn believers in times of danger or keep them from being led astray by false teaching.
See also I Corinthians 12:10, Acts 5:3-6; 16:16-18; 1 John 4:1.

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An unbeliever does not have this discernment and indeed cannot have it.

Why is that? 
First Corinthians 2:14 gives us the answer: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.”

The natural man, the unsaved man, is incapable of making proper judgments – discerning judgments – about spiritual things. 

The individual who does not have the indwelling Spirit of God, and who does not place himself in subjection to the Word of God, cannot “test the spirits.” 
He cannot make sound judgments about these things. He cannot properly decide what to accept and what to reject. These things “are spiritually discerned” and the unsaved individual has no spiritual discernment. 
He is incapable of it.
By Jim Fore

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The manifestation of discerning of spirits is God or the Lord Jesus Christ revealing to you information about the presence or non-presence of spirits (including both holy spirit or demons), and sometimes including the identity of demons present, whether or not you may cast them out, and providing the power to do it.

Discerning of spirits is a “manifestation” of the gift of the holy spirit (1 Cor. 12:10 KJV). Some people are by nature very perceptive and discerning, but that is not the “manifestation of discerning of spirits.” It is not a natural ability. The manifestation of discerning of spirits involves information and power that flows from God or the Lord Jesus to the believer via the gift of the holy spirit in that believer. No matter how naturally perceptive a person is, he will not be able to accurately discern the presence of a demon, and will certainly not be able to cast it out. It takes the revelation and power of God to do that.

There are many “spirits” in this world, including angels, evil spirits, and the gift of holy spirit within Christians. Via the manifestation of discerning of spirits, God or the Lord Jesus is able to inform the Christian if a person is saved, unsaved, or under the influence of a demon. Because of the spiritual battle that rages around all of us, the most common aspect of discerning of spirits is dealing with the demonic forces of this world.

Our Adversary, the Devil, walks about as a roaring lion, seeking people to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). God has not left us helpless but has empowered us to deal with him. The manifestation of discerning of spirits is more than just recognizing them or distinguishing between them, even though “discerning” or “distinguishing” are the most common ways the Greek is translated. The manifestation of discerning of spirits involves more than just knowledge, it involves entering into battle against them and casting them out. The Greek word translated “discerning” (diakrisis) has several meanings. It can mean a “distinguishing” or “differentiation.” Also, it can mean to quarrel. [1] One of the definitions in Liddel and Scott’s Greek lexiconis “decision by battle, quarrel, dispute.” [2] In the context of dealing with demons, “discerning” (diakrisis), is much more than just mentally discerning and knowing, it has overtones of quarreling or fighting and involves our dealing with them via the power of God.

The manifestation of discerning of spirits is interwoven with the other manifestations. For example, a believer manifesting discerning of spirits may be simultaneously aware of the presence of the demon, know what to do about the situation, and begin to command it to come out of the person. Receiving the information about the demon and knowing what to do is similar to, and interwoven with, a message of knowledge and a message of wisdom, while casting out the demon can be in the category of working a miracle (Mark 9:38 and 39), even as a healing can be a miracle (Acts 4:16).

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Every Christian will encounter demons, whether he recognizes them or not. What a great blessing and comfort to know that God has equipped each of us to deal with any demon that comes against us. Ephesians 6:12, which says we wrestle with demonic powers, is written to every Christian. Jesus was the first person to regularly and effectively use the power of God to recognize and cast out demons (Matt. 8:16, 9:33, 10:1, etc.), and it is primarily from his example that we learn about discerning of spirits. He taught his disciples about the spiritual battle and commanded them to cast out demons also (Matt. 10:8; Luke 10:17).

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Through the manifestation of discerning of spirits, Peter accurately discerned that Satan filled the heart of Ananias (Acts 5:3), and Paul knew that Elymas was a child of the Devil (Acts 13:10). Via discerning of spirits Paul knew that the slave who was mocking them was not just a disgruntled pagan, but someone under the influence of a demon, and he also knew the proper time to cast it out, after having put up with her mocking “many days” (Acts 16:16-18).

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The manifestation of discerning of spirits is necessary if Christians are going to deal effectively with the spiritual realities of this fallen world. As with the manifestations of a message of knowledge and a message of wisdom, discerning of spirits is a revelation from God, not “guesswork” or “a feeling.” It is wrong and harmful for any of us to say that someone has a demon unless we get an actual revelation about it and the guidance to reveal it. Too many Christians mistake their own feelings for “revelation” from God. When it comes to the manifestations of the holy spirit, we dare not be like the false prophets who thought their own deep thoughts and feelings were a revelation from God (Jer. 14:14). The manifestation of discerning of spirits is one that enables Christians to set captives free. We must use it as Christ did in his life, with love, humility, accuracy, and boldness.

We are commanded to do deliverance and cast out demons as believers in authority in Mark 16. these signs shallow follow those who believe – In my Name (Jesus only) you shall cast out demons out of believers, not unbelievers. It is the children’s bread – believers.

Luke 10v19 God gives us authority over all the power and kingdom of Satan and nothing can hurt us. Satan has power and everybody has demons, only the foolish deny that. We are in a battle but through the Holy Spirit which lives in us, we can discern the demonic and the kingdom of Satan and cast them out.

We are to all do that as believers

The gift of discerning spirits, or “distinguishing” spirits, is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit described in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Like all these gifts, the gift of discerning spirits is given by the Holy Spirit, who disperses these gifts to believers for service in the body of Christ. Every believer has spiritual enablement for a specific service, but there is no room for self-choosing. The Spirit distributes spiritual gifts according to the sovereignty of God and in accordance with His plan to edify the body of Christ. He gives His gifts “just as he determines” (1 Corinthians 12:11).

When it comes to the gift of discerning spirits, every born-again believer has a certain amount of discernment, which increases as the believer matures in the Spirit. In Hebrews 5:13-14 we read that a believer who has matured beyond using the milk of the Word as a babe in Christ is able to discern both good and evil. The maturing believer is empowered by the Spirit of God through the Scriptures to tell the difference between good and evil, and, beyond that, he can also distinguish between what is good and what is better. In other words, any born-again believer who chooses to focus on the Word of God is spiritually discerning.

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There are certain believers, however, who have the spiritual gift of discerning spirits—that is, the God-given ability to distinguish between the truth of the Word and the deceptive doctrines propagated by demons. We are all exhorted to be spiritually discerning (Acts 17:111 John 4:1), but some in the body of Christ have been given the unique ability to spot the doctrinal “forgeries” that have plagued the church since the first century. This discernment does not involve mystical, extra-biblical revelations or a voice from God. Rather, the spiritually discerning are so familiar with the Word of God that they instantly recognize what is contrary to it. They do not receive special messages from God; they use the Word of God to “test the spirits” to see which line up with God and which are in opposition to Him. The spiritually discerning are diligent to “rightly divide” (2 Timothy 2:15) the Word of God.

There are diversities of gifts in equipping the body of Christ, but those diversities are meant for the edification and building of that body as a whole (Ephesians 4:12). And the success of that body is dependent upon all parts of the body faithfully fulfilling their tasks as God has enabled them. No spiritual gift should be used to domineer others or claim for oneself a special anointing from God. Rather, the love of God is to guide our use of spiritual gifts to edify each other in the Lord.

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StevieRay Hansen

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28.)

John Wesley who said that what we tolerate in our generation, will be embraced by the next. Wesley is 100% correct! We are living in sick times.

Usually, the Lord doth no great thing for or against his people, without giving warning of it before it comes.

They perverted justice among themselves (v. 7): “You turn judgment to wormwood, that is, you make your administrations of justice bitter and nauseous, and highly displeasing both to God and man.’’ That fruit has become a weed, a weed in the garden; as nothing is more venerable, nothing more valuable, than justice duly administered, so nothing is more hurtful, nothing more abominable, than designedly doing wrong under color and pretense of doing right. Corruptio optimi est pessima —The best, when corrupted, becomes the worst.

It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated.

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2 Corinthians 4:8-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

“Pedophile” has reverberated throughout America. But beneath our anger and revulsion, a fundamental question pulsates: Are those who abuse their positions of trust to prey upon children—a category certainly not limited to those in religious orders—sick … or are they evil? We need the answer to that fundamental question. Because, without the truth, we cannot act. And until we act, nothing will change.

My job is protecting children. It has taken me from big cities to rural outposts, from ghettos to penthouses, and from courtrooms, into demonic battlefields. But whatever the venue, the truth remains constant: Some humans intentionally hurt children. They commit unspeakable acts—for their pleasure, their profit, or both.


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StevieRay Hansen

In his riveting memoir, "A Long Journey Home", StevieRay Hansen will lead you through his incredible journey from homeless kid to multimillionaire oilman willing to give a helping hand to other throwaway kids. Available on Amazon.

1 Comment

  1. Patrick Galasso on July 15, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Involving women in the war effort fitted the long-range program:
    “The party did all it could to induce women to go into industry. Its fashion designers created special styles for them and its songwriters wrote special songs to spur them… War-period conditions, they planned, were to become a permanent part of the future educational program. The bourgeois family as a social unit was to be made obsolete.”

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