GROWING IN CHRIST
Recap - Discernment grows as we read and study God’s Word, practice holy living as God desires, pray and ask, and gain experience. The discernment of spirits, is a spiritual gift communicated by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:10). Associated with wisdom, it involves specific knowledge given supernaturally. Because of this, the gift of discernment is sometimes considered a special expression of the word of knowledge.
Resuming - As believers, we should always seek after wisdom. What’s more, as James 1:5 and 6 remind us, we can be sure we’ll receive it when we ask in faith! We must understand that discernment serves as a catalyst to spiritual development: “The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning” (Prov. 14:6, NIV). Why? Because the discerning Christian goes to the heart of the matter. He knows something about everything, namely that all things have their common fountain in God. Increase in knowledge, therefore, does not lead to increased frustration, but to a deeper recognition of the harmony of all God’s works and words.
Discerning of spirits involves distinguishing between the three possible sources of spiritual motivation and activity. The three areas of spirit activity are:
- The Spirit of God: Utmost important is being able to discern the activity of the Holy Spirit; He will also give the ability to recognize the activity and presence of angels.
-The spirit of man: It involves perceiving the true motivation or intent behind a person’s words or actions. Peter, for example, determined that Simon’s heart was not right in asking for authority to lay hands on individuals to impart the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17-24).
- The spirit of Satan: Discerning the spirit of Satan or demons includes identifying when someone has a demonic problem, or determining when something is from Satan rather than God. Jesus demonstrated this type of discernment when He rebuked Peter by saying, “Get behind Me, Satan.” He rightly determined that Peter’s declaration came from Satan and was contrary to God’s purpose (Matt. 16:22-23).
How is such discernment to be obtained? We receive it as did Christ Himself—by the anointing of the Spirit, through our understanding of God’s Word, by our experience of God’s grace, and by the progressive unfolding to us of the true condition of our own hearts.
That is why we also should pray, “I am your servant; give me discernment” (Ps. 119:125, NIV).
Finally - Refining These Powerful Gift
“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age… who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:14)
Our Lord is bringing new heights of discernment to His people—discernment is like a weapon we can shoot and use often. If we desire to grow in the gift of discernment:
- Ask! We have a good heavenly Father who gives good gifts.
- Resolve to fellowship with believers who can help guide us as you gain experience.
- Pursue wisdom.
- Keep in mind that, like all gifts related to the prophetic, the purpose of discernment is to bring life and to build up the body of Christ—not to tear down.
By means of holy and divine discernment, we will be able to expose deception as well as recognize the presence of angels in order to cooperate with them to bring in the harvest!
Janet Irene Thomas
Published Author/Gospel Lyricist &Producer
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts