Spiritual Gift of Discernment
Discernment: A Spiritual Gift Definition
The spiritual gift of Discernment is a special ability to sense the presence of both godly and demonic spiritual influences. Discernment is an important gift for the Church; because often the work of Satan can appear as an angel of light. Without discernment, Satan could easily lead many people away from Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:10 specifically lists “Discerning of Spirits” within the Apostle Paul’s gift-list. Likewise, 1 John 4:1-6 instructs the Church to “test the spirits”. And, Acts 16:16-19 relates how the Apostle Paul used the gift of “Discernment” when he encountered a slave girl possessed by an evil spirit masquerading as a spirit of light. This gift is a valuable asset in the following ways:
Counseling Ministry. Today, counseling ministries tend to take a holistic approach toward those they serve, seeking to minister to the mind, emotions, and spirit. In this respect, it is the “spirit” aspect of counseling where Spiritual Discernment can be of greatest value. The spiritual state of a person can have a significant impact upon one’s emotional and mental wellbeing. However, just having the gift of Spiritual Discernment does not qualify one to be a counselor of others. Additional gifts, and professional training, are generally required before a person is qualified to be a counselor. Truly, the gift of Spiritual Discernment can help a counselor identify a person’s spiritual influences.
Front-Line Evangelism Ministry
The real ministry battles take place on the front lines. This is true of spiritual warfare as well. In this manner, the ministry of evangelism seeks to take-back people who knowingly or unknowingly serve the Evil One. Then, help them become followers of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 that “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…”
Often, it is not so clear whether someone is a Christian or not. People may go to church and may have done so their whole life. They may say the right words, or act the “right” way. But this does not make a person right with God. Only true faith in the work and provision of Jesus Christ, evidenced by the sanctifying and gifting power of the Holy Spirit, confirms that a person to be “in-Christ”. This is the spiritual fruit we are called to produce (Colossians 1:10). Spiritual discernment provides clarity regarding people’s spiritual state as well as helping to identify their discipleship roadblocks. The Apostle Peter demonstrated Spiritual Discernment in Acts 5:3-5 when dealing with the lies exhibited by Ananias and Sapphira. Again, in Acts 8:18-23 Peter demonstrates Spiritual Discernment regarding the spiritual status of Simon the Sorcerer…that he was “full of bitterness and captive to sin”.
Instructional Accountability Ministry
Is what is taught in your church of the Lord and confirmed by scripture? This is where Spiritual Discernment is used to confirm your church’s spiritual health. In Matthew 4, it is very clear that Satan knows and quotes the Bible. So, not every “good” word is a “godly” word. For example, in Jeremiah 14:13-14, God told Jeremiah to tell God’s people that will punish his people, yet other “prophets” declared a future of peace and prosperity. Likewise, 1 Timothy 4:1-2 tells us that in the “later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron”. To properly use the gift of Spiritual Discernment, this gift should ensure that they know their biblical doctrine well, and test all judgments by the Word of God.
Restoration & Recovery Ministries
This ministry often addresses serious spiritual strongholds and bondage issues that dominate people’s lives. The ability to discern between habitual or chemical dependency problems and spiritual problems is an important distinction.