The Gift of Discerning Spirits
When I was a child I had a deathly fear of the dark. I was sure that something was going to get me. I know there are many children who are afraid of the dark, but this was an intense fear. I was so afraid that something was waiting to get me, that I could not go to sleep unless I was under the covers and in the middle of the bed. It would get to be over 100 degrees in the summer and I did not have air conditioning in my room. I would suffer through the heat of having the blanket on me, because it was the only thing separating me from certain evil.
I did eventually get over that fear of the dark as I got older, although it did last into my teen years. Once I did get over it I rarely thought back to that time. That is until about a year ago when suddenly I developed an intense fear of the dark again. It was at this same time that I was discovering my gift of discerning spirits. It only took me about a week to realize the connection between that childhood fear and my gift of discerning spirits.
Discerning spirits is one of the amazing gifts of the Holy Spirit. A person who has the gift of discerning spirits is able to either sense or see things in the spirit realm. That means that they can sense or see demons and angels. A person with discerning spirits can also get insight and information about spiritual things affecting other people, such as if they are oppressed or have a demonic influence in or around their person. This gift also comes with a strong desire to cast out the demonic spirits and free them from oppression. This gift flows out of a healthy relationship with the Holy Spirit, and is not something done in one’s own power.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13
As I began to discover my gift of discerning spirits I would notice different physical reactions when a demon or evil spirit was present. I would feel sick in the stomach, and shaky even though I wasn’t cold, fear and a revulsion. So when I began to have the fear of the dark again, I realized I was getting the same physical sensations as when I would sense a demon. It was a huge revelation for me, because I realized I had this gift since I was a child. I was not just afraid of the dark, I was actually sensing the presence of demons in my room.
For some the thought of sensing demons sounds very scary. I have to admit the first few times it happened to me I was scared. I really didn’t understand what was going on. I didn’t understand how I knew there were demons there in my friend’s house. I only knew that once I did realize I was sensing an evil spirit that I wanted to get rid of it! And really, that is the fun part. You see, Satan wants nothing more than to scare us. He is the great deceiver. And really it is all he has to use against those who have the authority of Jesus Christ in them. So he brings fear into us, to believe that his minions from hell can do horrible things to us. Demons may have power, but they do not have any authority, unless we give them ours. So often we believe his lies and just freely give over our authority. As much as the enemy would like us to believe they can harm us, we must remember that we are covered with the precious blood of Jesus, and have the authority by His name to tell them to go.
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. Luke 9:1-2
It has been a long process for me over the past year as I have learned about my gift of discerning spirits. There is no talk of spiritual gifts in my church, and many people do not believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for believers today. The think that these gifts stopped being given out after the Bible was done being written. Some people get very uncomfortable when it comes to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They feel these gifts are strange and unpredictable. Unfortunately these are more lies of Satan. The enemy would love for us to not tap into the power that God has given us with His gifts. These leaves us weak and easy targets. It also causes separation in the church, as this issue is so divisive among believers.
After I got over my initial shock in discovering I did indeed have the gift of discerning spirits, I began to get very excited. I was experiencing my own demonic oppression and spiritual attack and my desire to free others began to grow intensely. I just wasn’t really sure what exactly I was supposed to do with this gift. It seemed a little strange to be able to sense demons and angels, because then what do you do with this information? God was preparing me for something much greater though!
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8
With my gift of discerning spirits I am also able to get information about people I wouldn’t otherwise know. Such as a sense of what they were feeling, what they needed prayer for, and if they were lying or not. I also had a great love of worship and feeling the presence of God. These things all help greatly when combined with a desire to help people. The most wonderful moment came when finally I was able to put all these things into practice!
It was at a night of healing at a local church that my husband and I attend. I had never been bold enough to go up and pray with someone who was looking for healing. I had also been very oppressed every other time I had ever gone, and didn’t feel at all equipped to be able to help anyone. But on this particular night, after an amazing time of worship and communing with the presence of God, I knew it was time. I saw a friend praying for healing for someone, and so went up to pray alongside. I wasn’t really sure how I could use my gift of discerning spirits, but God knew. He took me by the hand that night, and lead me into praying for three different individuals, and casting out demons out of two of them.
And also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them[a] out of their means. Luke 8:2-3
Finally! To be able to know that I was able to use these gifts exactly as God had intended them for! To have the insight and knowledge, given to me by the Holy Spirit, to know exactly how to pray, and to speak words of Truth into these people who were looking for healing. My whole life came into focus that night. For so long I had wondered why I had fallen so far away from God, practicing witch craft, and being so lost. It all made sense to me now. The enemy had lied to me for so long. He had lured me with the seduction of magic into a life of wickedness, convincing me to hate God. All because he knew that if I came into my rightful inheritance as a believer in Jesus Christ, that I would be able to use my power to stomp him out. Not just in my life, but in the life of many others.
God has given each one of us gifts to use so that we might exercise them faithfully for the Kingdom of God. Yet so many of us have lost belief that we are even capable of having these amazing gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are so special – something from our amazing Father who wants to share a piece of heaven with us right here on earth. Not every person will have discerning spirits or healing, or something that seems “important”, but you will have a gift, and believe me, it is very valuable in the eyes of God. Every gift is useful to build up, encourage, and help other people and should be used in doing so. Please do not believe the lies that you are not worthy of receiving these gifts, or that these gifts are scary or don’t even exist. You were made for such a time as this and if you are reading this right now, then please know God is calling you out in this very moment to use the gift he has given you.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10