Summary: We've been covering the manifestation gifts of 1st Cor. 12:7-11. Today we finish up the list by looking at the gifts of discernment and speaking in and interpreting tongues. [prophecy is in this list but that was covered when I did Rom. 12:6-8.]
GIFTED (part nine)
We've been covering the manifestation gifts of 1st Cor. 12:7-11. Today we finish up the list.
We all need to have discernment, but those who are gifted in discernment have an increased awareness and ability to distinguish between the spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood; the ability to distinguish the real from the counterfeit; the divine from the demonic. They can determine whether something is from God or not and they can tell if someone has spiritual or carnal motives.
We all need to distinguish right from wrong but those with the gift of discernment are able to make these determinations more quickly and decisively. With having the gift of being able to distinguish between spirits, you have the ability to discern the spirit by which someone is behaving. Jesus did it when he rebuked Peter and said, 'get behind me Satan'. Jesus wasn't really speaking to Peter as much as he was speaking to the spirit who Peter was acting in accordance with.
Paul did this in Acts 16:16-18, "Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her."
A demon possessed girl was following Paul around and exclaiming “These men are the servants of the most high God.” Those were the right words. However, it was a demon spirit motivating her to say those things, perhaps to cause trouble for Paul. Paul, by the Spirit, sensed this and cast the demon out of her. He first discerned the spirit that was motivating her, and then exercised the demon out of her.
This would be a situation where it wouldn't be very easy to make that determination. She was saying the right thing. But Paul became very troubled over it. That was his discernment. I'm sure he figured that if it was of God then he would have been at peace with it or even overjoyed but instead his spirit was troubled over it. He knew what was going on and he acted upon it.
There are times when we are facing a situation and for all intents and purposes it appears fine but our spirits are troubled; something doesn't seem right about it. Sometimes it's a misperception based on certain biases but then there are other times when it's not. We're not prejudiced for any reason, we're not suspicious or anticipating trouble it just hits us all of a sudden that someone or something isn't right.
We shouldn't dismiss that. We should proceed with caution-like Paul did. He didn't do anything right away-he waited. The Holy Spirit confirmed his perceptions and increased his inner troubling to the point of knowing he had to take action. But we do need to be careful to not make incorrect discernments.
"A man riding a bus was greatly disturbed at a young boy who was running up and down the aisle screaming and laughing at the top of his lungs, while his Dad just sat idly by. The man could not believe that someone would be so rude and inconsiderate. He then began to notice other less than flattering things about the man. His hair was unkempt so he discerned he was probably homeless. His eyes were bloodshot, so he discerned that he had to be an alcoholic.
Finally, unable to take the child's behavior and the man's unwillingness to do anything about it anymore, the man approached the dad and demanded that he get control of his young son. Seeming as if he were shaken from a trance, the dad apologized to the man and told him that the boy’s mom, his wife, had just died at the hospital after struggling all night and he was trying to think of a way to break the news to the boy."
We need to make sure our discernment is not based on personal feelings. Is it our spirit that is troubled, or is it something else? In discerning between the true and the counterfeit, I talked last time about the fact that there are counterfeit healers and miracle workers. Jesus said in Matt. 24 that false Christs and false prophets will come performing great signs and miracles to deceive people.
2nd Thess. 2:9-10, "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."