Discerning of spirits
To another discerning of spirits. 1 Corinthians 12:10
The Holy Spirit’s gift of discerning spirits is defined as being made aware of the presence of a demonic spirit. I have heard people say in the past that they had the gift of discernment, but there is no gift of discernment. It is the gift of discerning of spirits. Claiming to have the gift of discernment usually meant that they were good at criticizing and judging others.
Discerning of spirits is critical because it is vital to know the spirit behind the voices you hear each day. In Acts 16, Paul and his team were being followed around by a girl that was saying “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim the way of salvation.” She wasn’t wrong. What that demonic spirit was saying through her was actually true, but after it went on for many days, Paul finally turned to her and commanded the demon to come out of her, and it left. The reason he discerned that evil spirit and called it out was for two reasons. First, it was to set that young girl free. The second reason was for the ministry. The people of that region knew that girl was a slave to fortune telling and Paul did not want their ministry to be validated by her and look like she was working with them.
Jesus worked through discerning of spirits many times during His ministry. He even told the religious leaders of the day that they were of their father the devil in John 8. Even though they were the leaders of the people of Israel, Jesus could tell that the spirit behind their teaching was not from God. He said “I desire mercy over sacrifice.” He also told James and John that they did not know what spirit they were of when they wanted to call down fire from heaven on sinful people. (see Luke 9) He told them that He did not come to destroy men but to save them.
Even though people may look like they are spiritual, as in the case of the religious leaders and the disciples, it is still important to be able to discern the spirit behind their voice. Mostly, you can discern a wrong spirit when words do not line up with the Word of God. In the case of James and John, they were actually with Jesus and part of His ministry team, yet they still took on a worldly spirit when the pressure was on.
Today I want to encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to discern Him from the evil spirits in this world. Ask for the wisdom to see the forces of evil that try to stir up discord and trouble everywhere they are. Stand against the spirits of darkness each morning and resists them as you go on your way. Lastly, refuse to be pushed into taking on their ways of pride, arrogance, evil thinking and hate for others. Instead, turn your heart to God and take on His way of loving others because God’s love will push the evil away, every time.
Today’s scripture reading: Luke 9:51-56