The man in my office was asking me to be on his ministry board. As he described his ministry I had a heavy feeling in my spirit that kept getting heavier with every sentence he spoke. When I shifted my attention from listening to him to that sense in my spirit, suddenly I had an inner knowing that sort of floated as revelation into my mind: "That's a lying spirit." I knew it.
The word identifying the man in my office as lying to me, and not just on his own but with a demonic spirit as the source of the lie, was a manifestation of the gift labeled in scripture as 'the discerning of spirits'.
In Matthew 16: 23 Peter boldly confronts Jesus telling Him not to go to the cross. Jesus perceives through the discerning of spirits that the suggestion is from Satan: "You get behind me Satan" is His response. There was nothing visual there, He just perceived that suggestion was from Satan.
Many men, women, and children have had this kind of thing happen to them - a suddenly knowing from God rather than by their own experience or knowledge, that something or someone was, or was not of God - the discerning of spirits.
The manifestations of the Spirit given that we may profit
In this series I'm going to share about the charismatic gifts of the Spirit, what they are, how they work, and I would guess that most every Christian has moved in one or more. But because He does't announce how He is moving, we aren't aware of how we might label them.
The Father is always seen in scripture as on His throne. Jesus is ascended to heaven and has not yet established His physical, earthly kingdom.
That means only the Holy Spirit is ministering both in heaven and here on earth. He is our connection, our communicator linking heaven and earth. When Jesus came up out of the water at His baptism, the Father spoke, but the Spirit in the form of a dove was in the air between Father and Son, heaven and earth. He is from the Father, settled on Jesus, but remains in heaven and earth, that link for us to Him and Him to us to this day.
Everything we experience in God is through and with the Holy Spirit. Every word, every vision of the Lord or angels, every spiritual dream, every prompting, every voice we hear - angels, Father, Lord, or the Spirit Himself - is via the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of Truth proceeding from the Father.
In I Corinthians 12: 4-7 Paul lays out 3 categories of what we call 'gifts', which in Greek is the word 'charisma', often translated as 'grace'. He says in v4 there are differences of gifts (charisma = grace/gift), but the same Spirit.
v5 there are differences of 'administrations' but the same Lord. The word 'administrations' is 'diakonia', translated as service, servant, or ministry. Also translated as 'deacon'. There is no such thing as an 'office' - not in scripture. Just service/diakonia.
v6 there are different 'operations', but it is the same Lord that works all in all. The word 'operations' is 'energon', where we get energy, or things that energize us and motivate us - more on the motivational gifts in a later series.
But Paul concludes in v7: "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given that all may profit."
In other words, all these gifts - the charismatic, the serving, the energy - are simply manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we may be bettered, and for the betterment of others.
The charismatic, or charisma (grace) manifestations of the Spirit
In verses 8-11, Paul lists the grace gifts: Word of wisdom, word of knowledge, special faith, healings, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues. These 9 make up what are called the charismatic gifts of the Spirit.
We can see 3 categories within the 9: Power (miracles, healings, special faith), speaking (prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues), and revelation (discerning of spirits, word of knowledge, word of wisdom).
Because these are mere labels for our understanding, we must realize we have the Holy Spirit within, so He will move in any given situation according to the will of the Father and our Lord. The Lord is not limited to assigning gifts that you are locked in with. You have Christ in you, and as He did in the gospels, He will manifest that part of God needed to meet a given need.
The first group: Revelation gifts
I'll share about the discerning of spirits. This manifestation may be visual, or may be merely a knowing in your spirit as Jesus did with Peter's suggestion of not going to the cross, or of me with the lying spirit in the man in my office. It is not the 'gift of discernment', there is no such thing. It is the discerning of spirits.
In John 1: 42-49 we have Andrew introducing Peter to Jesus, and then their friend Philip went to get his friend Nathanael to meet Jesus. As Nathanael approached, Jesus said, 'Behold, an Israelite in whom is no deception (guile)'.
That was a manifestation of the discerning of spirits. Jesus instantly knew in HIs spirit the basic character of the man. This shows us the discerning of spirits can manifest relating to people, not just angels and demons.
When Nathanael said, "You don't even know me, how can you say that" Jesus replied, "Before Philip invited you, I saw you sitting under the fig tree."
This shows us that the discerning of spirits can also be visual. In fact, if we allow ourselves to expand this manifestation of the discerning of spirits to be a category, we would say all spiritual dreams, visions, and visitations from the Lord or angels would fall under the heading of the discerning of spirits. It is a knowing of the spiritual source and character of a person, angel, demon, word, or event, that comes supernaturally by revelation in word or visual (vision, dream, visitation).
There is the natural ability to discern something is or isn't of God - you speak or do something you should not have said and immediately you feel grieved or dirty in your spirit. That is just being a human being with basic discernment between what you should or shouldn't have done or said.
There is the normal 'this guy gives me the creeps' or 'this person has weird vibes around them' that is normal discernment we all have. What makes the manifestation of the Spirit the discerning of spirits is that He is the source of that knowing, it is an 'outside' revelation or vision from God - you suddenly know or see the character of a person or see a situation for the purpose of knowing if it is God or not. It isn't something in your spirit based on your own experience or knowledge, and that revelation helps you and/or others in that situation.
Next week, words of knowledge, wisdom, and how manifestations of the 'gifts' manifest together....and some think they are then prophets...until then, blessings,
www.churchwithoutwallsinternational.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org