Discernment is one of the most useful gifts that God has given to believers. When you operate in this gift, you are able to sense what is really going on in the spirit realm. You can often see false teachings, deception, and bad intentions. Those with discernment are also able to understand the spiritual condition of others. This discernment is necessary to protect the church and its members from being seduced by Satan and from being led astray by false teachers.
The Gift of Discernment
Paul describes this gift as “discerning of spirits,” or being able to tell if someone is operating in the spirit realm, whether they are speaking by the Holy Spirit, or if they are speaking by a deceiving spirit (1 Corinthians 12:10). In the Bible, this gift was often manifested through prophetic encounters or by being able to tell when someone had good or evil intentions. The apostle Peter is an example of someone who had the gift of discerning spirits when he was able to recognize that Ananias and Sapphira were lying to him about selling their land (Acts 5:1-11).
As Christians, we all have this ability to some degree. We may call it our intuition or our “Spidey sense.” It is important to note, though, that discernment is a spiritual gift, a specific ability that only certain people have.
It is important to understand that the gift of discernment should never be used to judge or criticize another Christian. It should always be used in conjunction with the gifts of prophecy and teaching. It is also helpful to realize that the gift of discernment works alongside the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit, who helps us to understand truth and error.
This is why those who operate in the gift of discernment should spend time in prayer, reading Scripture, and immersing themselves in the body of Christ. It is important to learn how to use discernment in a healthy way, not just as a warning system against evil, but as a tool for God’s glory and the advancement of His Kingdom.
It is easy to fall into the trap of pride, thinking that you have this special ability. This can lead to a lack of mercy and a judgmental attitude toward the interpretation of Scripture or the motives of other believers. Therefore, it is important to keep the Spirit’s discernment at a low volume until you are sure to be on solid ground. Then you can let the Holy Spirit speak through you with His wisdom and guidance. We all need this gift of discernment to help us win the spiritual warfare we face these days! It is also vital to protecting His church and helping entire groups of people to be set free from spiritual and emotional bondage. Without this gift, we would all be at the mercy of deceiving spirits and erroneous doctrines. It is truly one of the most important, valuable, and lifesaving gifts God has given to His church!