This perhaps leaves you with the question How do I begin? In the previous post, DISCERNING OF SPIRITS , I presented examples of discernment.
Now, let s consider some of the ways that discernment may come.
Discernment comes in varying ways. It oftentimes comes through a word, a vision, a dream, or a revelation of activity in the spiritual realm. This revelation may sometimes come as a knowing deep within. As your spirit perceives, a comprehension comes, which is best expressed by the words I know this .
God has given spiritual gifts to enable us to work in the spiritual realm. Development of those gifts, not unlike developing natural gifts or talents, requires time and practice.
TIME: Spend regular time in quiet with the Lord, communing with Him and listening for His voice.
PRACTICE: Practice is not as easy. Practicing spiritual gifts is not widely encouraged, if even allowed. Practicing discerning of spirits can be challenging. It may be better suited to small groups and prayer meetings. In our meetings we have, and often still do, encourage the practice of spiritual gifts (freedom to learn, even from failure).
To be able to test and improve, it is helpful to have your discernment confirmed. Develop relationships with other believers who desire to grow in their spiritual gifts. Worship, pray and practice together.
God delights in His children. His desire is that they grow and develop into full maturity. He has given us the Holy Spirit as teacher, counselor and guide and we can trust Him to keep us as our hearts turn toward Him.
As God gives revelation, wait on Him for understanding and direction. Although you may perceive clearly, you cannot assume you know what the outworking of the revelation will be. What God reveals may be literal, figurative or symbolic. You may or may not understand from your present paradigm.
Many years ago, while visiting a church, God clearly spoke that He brought us there to help usher in revival. I felt it must be that particular church. Two years later, we bought the building and started Midway Ministries. We are still watching the unfolding of that word. It is happening in varying ways that I could not then understand or foresee.
Discerning of spirits is a vital gift. It is, however, one thing to discern a spirit, quite another to have authority over it. We see this with the sons of Sceva.
Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?i
Discerning of spirits oftentimes involves direct engagement with demonic spirits. Practice exercising authority in and over your life. For example, take authority over the spirit of fear and refuse to yield. To have authority on behalf of others, you must walk in authority over those very spirits in your own life.
All believers need to appropriate their identification in Christ and the authority given to them. In dealing with demonic spirits, this is imperative.
Christ has defeated Satan and his hosts. He has delegated His authority to the church. The work of the church is the exercise of that authority over the powers of darkness. It is not optional.
Revelation through visions differs. Some are open visions in which the person is fully involved. The individual interacts in the vision as in real life. There can be, and often is, a direct interaction in the spirit realm. Authority taken while working in the vision accomplishes the Lord's work.
Some visions are mind's eye visions . These visions display on the screen of your imagination. They often evolve and move, sometimes with spoken words. It is important to watch and listen, waiting for the witness of the Spirit. Listen for understanding as the vision unfolds. It is like standing with the Lord watching and asking questions.
Questions are an important component. Much of my relationship with the Lord has developed around questions. I would experience something, and then seek Him for understanding. Because of this, I have developed what I call a spiritual file cabinet. The Holy Spirit pulls a file indicating, this is like that , and I have the understanding.
I journalized some of my experiences in the book The Dragon's Gate. *
I encourage you to do the same with your experiences! Take them before the Lord and seek understanding. His desire is for you to know Him and His ways.
Seek to know the Lord above all things. Next, seek understanding of the spiritual gifts He has given you. Seek discernment of spirits, it is a critical gift in this hour.
DISCERNING OF SPIRITS IS MISSION POSSIBLE!
*Free PDF download of this book at midwayministries.com under the resources tab.
Photo: by TORLEY