Point 7 - Discerning of Spirits – 1st Corinthians 12:6-11
Apr 20, 2021 | by Michael Carter
Point 7 - Discerning of Spirits – 1st Corinthians 12:6-11
It's good to know that God has weapons to assist us in winning this war against the enemy.
In addition to what we have already looked at, God provides His supernatural manifestations or what the bible calls the gifts of the Spirit. They give us an unparalleled advantage in this war. However, we cannot of our own will, choose for them to flow in and through us. God’s gifts of the Spirit flow in and through the believer as He wills according to His purposes. 1st Corinthians 12:11.
There are nine gifts listed in 1st Corinthians 12:6-11. They are broken down in three categories.
* Revelation gifts, Gifts that reveal: word of wisdom, word of knowledge and discerning of spirits.
* Verbal gifts, Gifts that speak audibly: Prophesy, tongues and interpretation of tongues.
* Power gifts, Gifts that do something: miracles, special faith and gifts of healings.
For this study on spiritual warfare, we will focus on discerning of Spirits. 1st Corinthians 12:10
Discerning of spirits enables the believer to discern and distinguish spiritual beings.
It’s the supernatural ability given by God's Spirit that enables us to discern the nature and motives of spiritual beings. It’s revealed by seeing them or by an inward revelation. You’re not guessing or assuming based on natural symptoms. It’s a precise revelation concerning that specific being and its intentions. Or the anointing is present moving in and through a person and spirits are expelled. Although we are dealing with spiritual warfare, this gift deals with good and bad spirits.
Let’s look at a few manifestations of good spiritual beings revealed by this gift.
Discerning of spirits enabled Elisha’s servant to see the angelical army. 2nd Kings 6:13-17
Elisha and his camp had solders on their door step ready to attack them. Elisha encouraged his servant that they were in good hands and that there were more of them on their side than the solders surrounding the camp. Angelical beings move extremely fast. Our eyes ability to capture them is too slow. God has to either slow them down, or speed up our eyes ability to capture the image. Elisha asked God to open his servant’s eyes to enable him to see them. If God slowed the angels down, everyone there would have seen them. But he sped the eyes of his servant up, enabling him to see them. Discerning of spirits enabled him to see them and to distinguish their motives. They were elect angels of God present to do God’s will. If you continue reading you’ll see that it all worked out very well for them.
Discerning of spirits enabled Mary to discern the messenger angel Gabriel in Luke 1:26-38
She could discern weather the angelical being was good or bad. Through discerning of Spirit, she was able to receive an unusual encounter with and angelical being called Gabriel. Clearly she was given the ability to discern that his intent and motives were for good. He was sent by God to her with a specific task and message. This was a message that changed the trajectory of her life and humanity. Aside from God’s intervention, this would not have been possible. Discerning of spirit made it possible.
Now, let’s look at discerning of fallen spirits with bad motives revealed by this gift.
Jesus operated in discerning of spirits and cast the spirit out of a man in the tombs. Mark 5:1-15
Jesus instructed them to go to the other side. During the journey, they encountered a storm. Having rebuked the storm they arrived on the other side. They encountered a man with an unclean spirit. He was suicidal and had no regard for his body. Through discerning of spirits, Jesus cast the unclean spirit out of him. The man was liberated and experienced a peace that he had not known in a while. This man’s heart and mind became a territory won for the kingdom of God.
Paul operated in discerning of spirit when he cast a familiar spirit out of a woman. Acts 16:16-18
If you look at this text closely, you will find that this woman’s statements weren’t necessarily wrong. It was the gift of discerning of spirits that cause Paul to distinguish weather she was being motivated by a good or bad spirit. We have the convenience today to read the entire narrative given to us in the bible. Paul did not have that. What he did have flowing was the gift of discerning of spirits. Through it, he discerned the spirit, cast the demon out of her and brought peace and liberty to the woman. Her heart and soul became a territory of the kingdom of God. This is what discerning of spirits does.
God used Philip the evangelist in the area of discerning of spirits. Acts 8:5-8
The church was being persecuted. What the enemy thought would cause them to stop actually spread the gospel even more. The persecution caused many to be scattered. However, they took their testimonies and the gospel with them. One of them was Philip, initially a deacon, later evangelist. God used him to minister the gospel and dislodge evil spirits, healings, salvation and deliverance. He advanced the kingdom and won many to Christ. Discerning of spirits was a major part of it.
Discerning of Spirits is an awesome gift, weapon and ally in spiritual warfare. Mark 16:17
It empowers us to discern and distinguish spirits, to cast them out and bring liberty and peace to the captive. Once discerned, we have the authority to engage and cast them out in the name of Jesus. That person becomes a territory won to the kingdom of God, liberated and at peace. The gift of discerning of Spirits is a formable weapon and ally in this war that tilts the war to our side.
Again, we can’t choose for these gifts to move through us, they move as God wills. However, we can position ourselves to be used by God, and we can create an atmosphere that welcomes God’s presence and gifts to move.
We position ourselves to be used by God by setting ourselves apart unto Him for His use.
The moment we gave our hearts to the Lord and were reborn of His Spirit, God set us apart unto Himself for His holy use, He is the God that sanctifies Exodus 31:3. Although we lay hands on people indicating that they were set apart for ministry, God is the one who called and set them apart to do it. Therefore, lay hands and anointing people with oil as an outward sign, affirming God’s call on them.
However, although God has set us apart, we have to set ourselves apart unto Him. Leviticus 20:7
This setting apart is us living holy unto God and not according to the world 2nd Corinthians 6:17. This text is not telling us to separate ourselves from people or from those who some call bad. That would not line us up with being the light of the world and the salt to the earth. It’s talking about disciplining those relationships and living a holy lifestyle Romans 12:1-2.
Setting ourselves apart unto God, positions us for God to use us and manifest His gifts in and through us.
And we welcome God to manifest His presence and gifts by ministering to Him. Acts 13:1-3
The term ministering to God is talking about our thanksgiving, praise and worship towards God. The early church was grateful towards God and knew that it was Him who was leading, empowering and keeping them through the lures of the enemy and persecutions. And they understood the need for His presence. Ministering to the Lord in thanksgiving, praise and worship was primary to their services.
We are priest. Our verbal praise is an offering of praise unto God. Hebrews 13:15
This text is not telling us to praise God when we don’t feel like it, as a sacrifice, as many exhort and teach. What it is doing is recognizing our position as priest, and the honor to present our praise to God as a offering done with our words from our hearts. We are praising Him for all that He has done and is doing and because He is worthy of all praise. We are to praise Him with all that we can and are. Psalm 96:4 / Psalm 150 / Revelation 4:11 / Psalm 100 / Psalm 103:1-5 / Psalm 22:3
Our worship welcomes Him into our atmosphere. Psalm 96:1-9 / Revelation4:8-11
Worship is recognizing who God is in truth, almighty God, and expressing it from our hearts. John 4:24 It’s about recognizing that God is Almighty God, above all and worthy of the highest esteem and honor. This requires that we acquiesce our place on the throne of our hearts to God. This is why true worshipers are often moved to bow before God. 2nd Chronicles 6:12-19
We worship God from our hearts, in truth, recognizing Him above all in adoration and esteem.
When we are no longer Lord on the throne of our hearts and God occupies that place of preeminence in our heart, we will
be able to subjugate ourselves to Him, expressing our honor, respect and esteem in humility, through our hearts in worship. Worship creates an atmosphere where God is welcomed to manifest His presence and His gifts.