There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits…” 1 Corinthians 12:4-10
This last family gathering we spent time as families exploring the gift of the discerning of spirits. It is hard for me to list the gifts of the Holy Spirit in any kind of order of importance, but if someone was to ask me what two gifts they thought were most important for this generation today, it would be the gift of tongues and the discerning of spirits.
The gift of discerning of spirits is the supernatural given ability to detect and figure out the source or power behind a given situation. It is our detective gift! Just like there is a power source that enables a light to turn on that we cannot see, there is a power source behind any given situation that is motivates an action or reaction.
Light Verses Darkness: There is NO in-between
Notice that it is called the discernment of spirits. That is a plural use of the word denoting the two spirit worlds that exist today – the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness. These are the only two spirit worlds that have the power to motivate an action or reaction. There is NO in-between. A given situation either lines up with God’s word and in the character and nature of the Kingdom of God or it doesn’t and is empowered by the Kingdom of Darkness. Even when our own flesh and heartfelt emotions get in the way…there is NO in-between. I will show you an example of this a bit later.
In the day in which we live in, filled with good that is called evil and evil that is called good, we must begin to teach our children and ourselves how to discern what spirit is behind any given situation or word spoken. I am frustrated by what I see going on in the church today. There is so much compromise and intentional disregard to the ways of God. It is partially because many do not know His ways, but partially because we think there is a middle ground. There is NO in-between in the Spirit world! Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:22-23 (NKJV). There is no grey area in that scripture. If the source or power of what we see, do, or hear is from the Kingdom of Darkness…does it not have the power to harm us spiritually? How about the popular movies of today? Are we allowing our family to be subject to a power from the Kingdom of Darkness? It is either of God, lining up with his character and nature, or it is of the Kingdom of Darkness.
Ephesians 4:14 says, “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” Ephesians 4:14 (NKJV). The Spirit of confusion and compromise have overtaken this land and if we cannot discern darkness from light, it will overtake us as well. The fact is, Satan will use any situation and any person he can to hold us captive, either in our minds with false truths, in our heart over broken situations, or in sin falling away with persuasive words of man. It is going to take the discerning of spirits to guard our family from being harmed spiritually, emotionally, and physically in the hour we live in. There is NO in-between with God. God said this about those who wish to stay in the grey areas, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev 3:15-16, NKJV).
Practical Steps to Activate the Gift in You
The Bible says that whosoever asks can receive the gifts of the spirit. It is a free gift given to us for the edification of our own spiritual walk and within the body of Christ. Simply asking in faith for this gift is the first step you and your children have to take to receive this gift.
After asking for this gift in faith, however, there are some practical steps to sharpening and exercising this gift in your family’s life. As I mentioned to you earlier, this is our detective gift. And like any good detective, we must start with some basic questions that help us figure out the mystery of what power source is behind a given situation.
1. Who was involved with this situation?
2. What Happened?
3. What was their motive in doing what they did?
4. Did their motive line up with the word of God?
5. Mystery Solved: Kingdom of Darkness or the Kingdom of Light?
With these questions in mind, I want to take you to a familiar situation in the Bible where we can see this gift at work. In Matthew 16:22-23, Jesus is sharing with His disciples the suffering that he must go through, including death. Peter steps into the situation and says these words, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22, NKJV). Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Mathew 16:23, NKJV).
1. Peter and Jesus were involved with the situation
2. Peter told Jesus that he would not suffer and die and Jesus rebuked Satan using Peter.
3. Peter loved Jesus and didn’t want to see Him suffer and die
4. The motive did not line up with the word of God that prophesied as such.
5. We know out of Jesus’ own mouth that this situation was empowered by the Kingdom of Darkness
Learning about Discernment from the Master
Let me make a few important points about this situation between Peter and Jesus. Peter was reacting out of his own flesh and emotions, but Jesus still discerned that Satan was the spirit behind the situation. This goes back to what I was saying about there being NO in-between. There are only two spirit worlds. If we or someone else reacts out of emotions of the flesh and they do not line up with the word of God, the Kingdom of Darkness is behind that situation. Peter was not allowing His spirit to lead Him. Wasn’t it Peter that testified of who Jesus was by the revelation of the Father? He knew in His spirit what the truth was, but allowed His flesh to get in the way. When we or someone else is not led by the spirit of God, the Kingdom of Darkness is at work. There is NO in-between. Satan works out of our flesh. We see this is Jesus’ answer to Satan, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men”. The fact is, we or someone else can mean well, but can still be used by Satan to harm others. What if Jesus had never went to the cross? What if He had listened to His friend who loved Him?
How Do We React Once We Discern the Spirit?
In a later passage of scripture we see Peter using this same gift of discerning of spirits to rebuke Satan in a man by the name of Simon (Acts 8:17-21). This tells me something. We can be vulnerable and used by the kingdom of darkness in a situation; however we also can become wiser through those situations and begin to discern in ourselves the spirits of darkness that would choose to use others or ourselves to harm. Peter didn’t tuck in his tail and run from Jesus. He chose to receive that same gift to help in his own life. Sometimes when we feel rebuked from others it is because we are reacting out of our emotions and flesh motivated by the Kingdom of Darkness (intentionally or not). However, sometimes others are empowered by the Kingdom of Darkness to harm us (intentionally or not). We are all weak in our own flesh. That is why this gift is so important.
When dealing with each other, we need to be careful to do what Jesus did. Jesus did not rebuke Peter or deny Peter access to Jesus’ friendship from that time on. No, Jesus rebuked Satan that would choose to use Peter and then He moved on with no bitterness or resentment. Teaching your children to pray for perhaps bullies or other people in their life who have said negative things against them is very important. I have taught my own kids to pray, “Jesus close the mouth of the enemy that would choose to use this person”. I also help them pray through that nothing anyone has said that is not of God would not enter into their souls. It is important to remember we do not fight against flesh and blood. We must make sure that we do not pervert this gift in our life and allow pride to exalt itself. A spirit of forgiveness must cover all things.
When dealing with situations that do not pertain to people but perhaps events, movies, music, etc. All I should need to say about that is do not to subject you or your family in anything that is powered by the Kingdom of Darkness. I have had to say no to many of close friends when I knew that involving my family in a certain situation would not be God centered. We must teach our children to do the same.
In conclusion, I want to make a point that in order to sharpen this gift in your life and answer the questions at hand you must know God. You must know the word of God, – His ways, His character, His nature, and His voice. This gift cannot properly operate in your children’s life or your life without intimately knowing the Father. Spending time with Him, listening for His voice, listening for His direction in what to say and do in a given situation will enable us to be led by the spirit and empowered by the Kingdom of light. The gift of discernment helps us to stay in God’s will. Ask for it, receive it, and use it!
Alicia White, KIMI Ohio