One of the harder things to deal with concerning this gift is not always what you may imagine. I’m not sure what most people think of when they think of this gift, either when reading about it in the Bible or if anyone ever speaks about it in any sort of bible study (not sure if anyone ever discusses it even then).
Growing up, most of my questions about it were downplayed and ignored. It would be explained to me that it was discernment (distinguishing) between which spirits were from God or from the devil. That’s it. Done. Move on. No one ever seemed to know much more than that, nor were they that interested. What I found was that I was asking people questions they had never been asked in areas they didn’t take much interest in or understand to begin with.
When I was younger I remember reading about the gifts and always secretly desiring that gift above all the others in my heart, even though I didn’t fully understand it. I see today that the desire I secretly had for a spiritual gift from the Father was a desire put in place by the Lord Himself.
I can’t say that this has been a easy journey for me thus far and I do not believe that this gift is a burden or a curse (though at times it did feel that way, but in truth it’s not). What I do see now is that my faith was so lacking that I made it hard on myself (For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:30 KJV).
Back to what I was beginning to say, one the of the hardest things to deal with when it comes to this gift is when other “Christians” to not believe you. I’ve run across numerous people that if at any point you mention an experience you’ve dealt with concerning an evil entity, they immediately do not know how to respond. Some act awkward and quickly look to change the subject while others, at times, come in and treat you as if you are in need of deliverance and must have done something wrong or have unforgiven sin in your life to be dealing with such a thing.
The truth of the matter is this: God gives His gifts to those He chooses to give gifts to and it is for His purpose. Some might be gifts of faith, some wisdom, some knowledge, some miracles, some healing, some discernment of spirits, some speaking in tongues, some prophecy, etc (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Overall, the Lord will work in you what His desire is for you and for the benefit of the Body of Christ; either to grow it or to build it up.
Now, the gifts of the Spirit are all from God. The gifts of the Spirit also come without repentance.
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. – Romans 11:29 KJV
That means that you do not have to be a born-again Christian in order to receive a gift of the Spirit from the Lord. Afterall, He formed each of us in the womb, created for His purpose and His Will. Whether we choose to turn to Him with all our heart, repent, be baptized, and become saved from eternal damnation is up to us.
I do believe that not every person will work solely through one gift, but that each gift will come as the Lord sees fit. There have been times that I have received knowledge about someone else that I could not have known or perceived if it were not for the Holy Spirit telling me (gift of knowledge). Other times I have experienced other gifts as well, like the gift of wisdom, and I do not claim myself to be a wise person normally. All in all it is one Spirit working, which is the Spirit of God. Usually these things occur in times that the Lord was working for the benefit of someone else and I just happened to be the vessel. It doesn’t make me some super human with super powers, it makes me a servant striving to be obedient to the Lord. It doesn’t make me perfect or perfect in Christ, as I still have many faults and struggles, but it does encourage me to keep seeking a closer relationship in Christ that I may help others when and how He sees fit.
Discernment of spirits works the same way. It is for the Lord’s purpose, whether to teach you about something or someone else, or to try and help them come closer to knowing the Lord. Sometimes it could be to find out what could be causing someone much distress and there are times that you might witness a demon that is living inside of another person. I’m sure there are other instances that I am forgetting to mention here, but either way, you will not notice these things without reason of some kind, even if it’s not always clear at the time. I have had instances where it has taken months or even years for me to realize why I experienced something the way that I did. And you know what? At the time I didn’t understand it but later on it helped me all the more to grow in faith and depend on the Lord.
I used to wonder why I could feel the presence of so much around me so consistently in some areas to the point that the feeling of spiritual filth and evil entities would almost drive me nuts, cause me to feel sick, or become so overwhelmingly dizzy that I thought I might fall over. I realize now that the spiritual battles that were taking place around those areas (or people) were battles the enemy was winning at. Otherwise they would not be able to stand being there and would have no license to be there. When coming across things such as this, whether in the home, workplace, or otherwise, we must take these things to the Lord in prayer and seek His guidance on what to do. It will sometimes take time in this and not every battle is won in an instant, but through the same love and longsuffering the Lord has for all of us, we must be patient and not lose hope.
I hope to write more on this soon and to share more of what I have learned so far in this journey with the Lord. For those who may be going through similar things and are at a loss on how to deal with them at times, you’re not alone. Keep up the faith and depend on Jesus Christ, the only Savior and King.
Seek Him for everything, no matter how small it may seem.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
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.
They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
1 John 4:1-6