But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).
Today’s Devotional Let me clarify that we are talking about two overlapping but different issues here: general discernment, which is a product of experience, discipline, and study; and discerning of spirits, which is a spiritual gift imparted by the Holy Spirit.
Discernment or distinguishing of spirits is different because it goes beyond our natural learning abilities. It is a supernatural gift from the Lord; we cannot earn it. No amount of human insight or learning will enable us to discern between spirits.
Only God can impart that ability, and He does so by His sovereign choice. General discernment and the discerning of spirits are different but related. The principles for growing in both arenas are the same, however: regular meditation on the Word of God and the crucible of life experience.
Discerning of spirits is the supernatural ability to distinguish not only between good and bad spirits, but also between various classes of spirits: The Holy Spirit Good angels Fallen angels demons or evil spirits The human spirit Sometimes when dealing with the spiritual realm, we can find ourselves facing “gray” areas where things are unclear. That is one time when we need the gift of discerning of spirits to clear away the gray and separate matters into black and white.
1. How would you rate your realm of general discernment? What experiences, discipline, and/or study have helped shape your general discernment?
2. How is discerning of spirits different from general discernment? Why is the Holy Spirit needed to impart this gift?
3. If general discernment and discerning of spirits are different, why are the principles for growing in both arenas the same? What are these principles? In what ways have these principles been effective in your life?
4. From your understanding, explain the various classes of spirits listed above. Have you been able to distinguish these classes? How can you grow in your awareness of these? Have you ever been trained in knowing how to discern spirits? If so, where? Do you use any of those class teachings to sharpen your discernment?
5. What “gray” areas have you had to contend with when discerning spirits? What can help you distinguish between spirits?
Meditation Basically, discernment is perception, which can come in a variety of ways.
Sometimes it is as simple as an inner knowledge, a “gut feeling,” that we cannot explain, yet somehow know is real.
This kind of spiritual perception is often so subtle that we can easily miss it or attribute it to something else, such as a “hunch.”
Have you had “hunches” that turned out to really be spiritual discernment?
Have you thought you had spiritual discernment in something when in actuality it was your own “hunch”?
Think about how you will be able to tell the difference in the future.