But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 1 Corinthians 12:7

Since we just ended our “Get to Know the 5-Fold series” on the different Christ Given Gifts, Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, Evangelist, our next stop is to start a new series on the Holy Spirit Given gifts and to explain the difference. Hopefully this series will help answer the question “What gifts has the Holy Spirit given me?” There are 5 Christ Given Gifts set apart for the direct purpose of administration in bringing edification through ministry. But, there are 9 Holy Spirit Given Gifts for the purpose of edification or bringing the church into unity through maturity. These 9 Holy Spirit given gifts can be given to anyone in any combination God so chooses. Our job is to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal them to us so we can work towards developing them. We must always remember, as with the Christ Given gifts, the Holy Spirit given gifts are signs that follow those that believe. They are gifts to those around us that serve as evidence of Christ’s existence through manifestation. They are not meant for us to show off our own spirituality. If this is our goal, we are misusing our gifts entirely.

The 9 Holy Spirit given gifts mentioned in the above scripture break down into 3 categories for understanding. Gifts that come to us through revelation (Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, and Discerning of Spirits); Gifts that are given to us verbally (tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecies); and finally gifts that display the power or presence of God (faith, healing, working of miracles). breaking them into these 3 categories helps us to digest the fullness of all of them and how they work together through many individuals throughout the church body. Since the Holy Spirit Himself GIVES these gifts, using these gifts has to come through His leading for them to be effective. Today we are going to focus on the Holy Spirit gifts knows as “Discerning of Spirits”.

In the natural, the word discernment means the ability to judge well. In Biblical context, the word discernment refers to perception in the absence of judgment with a view for obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding. It’s commonly referred to as our “spiritual eye sight”, In reference to the gift of Discerning Spirits, when developed, we are able to look past behaviors and see the root behind sinful behavior. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:14

Discerning of Spirits is the Holy Spirit given ability to rightfully divide the source from which a message or manifestation comes forth, to differentiate between Satan and God. In 1 John 4:1-4 the Bible gives us clear instruction on how and why (for the purpose of overcoming or helping others overcome darkness) that is to be accomplished.  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

As the above scripture suggests, in order to know the difference between the lies of Satan or demonic spirits ourselves, we have to maintain our own close relationship with the Holy Spirit. There is power to bring healing in this Holy Spirit given gift as it brings us the ability to identify demonic activity and take authority over it. One stumbling block to this gift is getting caught in our own power struggles. As we learn to apply the Power of the Holy Spirit, we realize that miracles are not born of our own power and have to learn to fully rely upon His. Often times people with this gift waiting to be developed will find fault in others as they are unknowingly misusing the gift. Discernment of Spirits used properly will identify problems in the body of Christ naturally without effort as the Holy Spirit reveals them. As with any Holy Spirit given gift, we have to seek the Lord with our whole heart. We have to be sharp and ready and always stay mindful not to overlook problems within ourselves. When others are ready and willing to tackle the problem the Lord reveals to us through this gift, we can help them receive wholeness and healing. The gift of Discerning Spirits is vast and can even give us the ability to see what is going on internally with people. 

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. ~1 Samuel 16:7

Another misuse of the Gift of Discerning of Spirits is when the unconditional love of Christ is absent and the Gift is used for the purpose of condemnation. As we know there is no condemnation in Christ, the Gift of Discerning of Spirits has to be born of love for it to be effective. As we develop this gift, God will work with us regarding our true motives. Do we want to see people healed and delivered? Or do we want to be seen and heard or go around furthering division within the body of Christ? Discerning of Spirits coming from a pure motive based upon the love Christ has given us and our love towards him and each other is the only way this gift can be powerful and highly effective. 

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-10

The truest purpose of the Gift of Discerning of Spirits that we know of is to aid in displacing the enemy active in a believers life and to help individuals and bodies of believers make room for and welcome the miracle working power of God. The Lord uses individuals in this capacity to tear down imaginations and strong holds, to avoid traps, to deal with demonic forces, and to release people from spiritual captivity. It’s a wonderful gift and a beautiful ministry as it brings freedom to so many as we learn more and more about God’s love and more about the enemy’s strategy.

Now that we understand the 5 Fold Ministry Gifts we can see God’s heart for dispersing the 9 Holy Spirit given gifts throughout the entire body of Christ as 5 Fold Ministers can not reach everyone. It takes an army of equipped Christians to be Christ’s hands and feet. Chances are, someone operating in one of the 9 Holy Spirit given gifts, whether we are aware of it or not, is what led each of us to relationship with Christ. A gift manifested is undeniable proof that can be overlooked if we are not paying attention. However, when the time is right and we are paying attention, the existence of them in itself makes it hard for the recipient to continue to deny Christ. We must always remember that these gifts are for edification of the body and salvation is always God’s truest heart.

Notes from the Holy Spirit on 11/7/18 by Pastor Audra Waters-Leary, “What Gifts has the Holy Spirit Given Me?” Series.

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