Did you know that the gift of the discerning of spirits is not only the supernatural ability to distinguish the demonic realm activity from the heavenly spiritual activity BUT also to be able to distinguish between the darkness in an individual and the light of God in an individual?
This gift also enables the possessor to discern the doctrine and speech of an individual whether it is of God or not, meaning whether one is speaking under Holy Spirit inspiration, demonic or of the carnal nature.
According to the dictionary, discernment is “the activity of determining the value and quality of a certain subject or event, particularly the activity of going past the mere perception of something and making detailed judgments about that thing.”
To perceive: (a synonym of discern)
To become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand. interpret or look on (someone or something) in a particular way; regard as.
All Christians are required to discern. “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”
“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” 1 John 4:1
However, not all have the particular gift of the discerning of spirits just like all can prophecy but not all are prophets. (Another subject)
The discerning of spirits is one of the revelation gifts, that is it is revealed supernaturally by the Holy Spirit, and can operates in many different ways according as the Lord has dispersed an operation (s). Scriptures tell us that there is diversity of operations of the gifts but all come from the Holy Spirit.
This gift of the discerning of spirits may operate by visions, dreams, or inspiration and each of these have certain ways in which they operate. (Another topic)
Let me give you an example of the gift of the discerning of spirits in operation. I was at a business meeting one day and I met a lady who by the Spirit of God it was revealed to me that she was a Christian. I saw in the spirit realm the light of God in her. I knew intuitively that she was a Christian. After some conversation this lady told me that she was a Christian as I was. This confirmed what I had been shown.
Later on that week I met a woman who I vaguely knew but was one who attended church and was known to be a Christian. However, it was revealed to me by the Holy Spirit that she was not a Christian as she had not been born again and was only a religious person. I saw in the spirit realm darkness on her and no light and this told me that she needed salvation.
The gift of the discerning of spirits by revelation from God can tell you if someone is saved or not, what their real motivations are, and the attitude in which they are dominated by. Now I realize that many attribute dark behavior as demonic but this is not so. Much of the sinful behavior of people is of the flesh and cannot be blamed on the devil because the sinful nature is also a part of the dark realm.
Since all without Christ belong to the darkness and are children of the devil by nature, then in this regard they are under demonic influence. However, it is my opinion that too much is attributed to devils when it is the carnal nature in operation. So many go to get deliverance when what they need is to die to their flesh. (Another topic)
Here are scriptural references to my topic, Maranatha brethren!
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
“ And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.” 2 Kings 4:9
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; Proverbs:1:2
And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” Luke 8:46
“ For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” Acts 8:23
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” Acts 17:22
“And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and [Jesus] named them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder” Mark 3:17
“Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’” Luke 9:54 (James and John)
“Jesus . . . knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man” John 2:24-25
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds”. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
“None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:8-16
In conclusion, the gift of the discerning of spirits is the ability to distinguish what type of spiritual force is in operation, whether a demonic force and what kind, the ability to distinguish what type of anointing or move of the Holy Spirit is in operation, as well as the ability to distinguish the type of heart(spirit)is operating in man, as in the human nature.