The Gifts Part 68
Discerning of Spirits continued...
Besides the use of certain criterion in God’s word in order to discern the spirit of an individual, there is also the supernatural gift of discerning of spirits. In order to discuss the gift of discerning of spirits, we must first discuss both the activity and identity of the three kinds of spirits that exist. First, is the Holy Spirit of God, second, the spirit of man and third the spirit of the devil or of the Antichrist. When discussing the spiritual in general, or spirits in particular, these are the three kinds of spirits to which we can refer, discuss, and discern.
Any message, sermon, insight, prophetic utterance or dogma will have their origin in one of these three spirits. Either a word is divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, brought forth by the spirit of man, or made up by the spirit of the devil.
As I’ve said before, most often we can know the origin of a message by its content. Whether it gives glory to God and Christ exhorting believers to righteousness and holiness unto Him, praising a certain individual and fueling their pride, or attempting to draw the hearts of God’s people away from Him, we can know the origin by the content of the message in most cases.
Throughout my study of scripture, I have found one passage wherein the working or manifestation of all three spirits was evident in one individual within a very short amount of time.
Although the following is an extreme example, I have on occasion been witness to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God by way of a prophetic word, and at the very end, the spirit of man inserting himself attempting to ‘clarify’ or ‘complete’ that which God had spoken.
Shortly after my grandfather’s passing, the Lord had started to speak to me by way of various vessels that I should continue in ministry. Knowing that I could never hope to fill the shoes of the one who came before me, feeling as inadequate and ill equipped then as I do now, I began trying to find loopholes or ways by which I could disregard the words I was receiving.
Since I was still in mourning, and it is a custom among the men of my nation, I had let my beard grow out, and one day I went to yet another prayer meeting far from the city in which I lived.
We began to pray, and I received a word, that reiterated almost verbatim what God had already spoken to me even though this individual did not know who I was or where I was from, but at the end, after delivering the word they had received for me, the individual said, ‘you should also shave your beard.’
At that moment I discerned what had come from the Holy Spirit of God, and also what had been added by the spirit of man, as an addendum or addition to what God had said. Since I’m a stickler when it comes to words of prophecy, and I want to make certain that words received from God are classified as such, and the opinions of men are likewise classified, I asked the vessel if that last part was from the Lord, and blushing slightly she said, ‘no, that was just my personal opinion.’
By being in possession of the gift of discerning of spirits, we can rightly ascertain the origin of a word, and know what was inspired of God, and what was inspired by the spirit of man.
Matthew 16:13-17, “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples saying, ‘who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said to him, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’”
Matthew 16:21-23, “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things form the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘far be it from You Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’”
Within the span of ten verses, we see Jesus commending Peter, telling him that it was God the Father who had revealed the fact that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God and not flesh and blood, to Peter offering his personal opinion as to what should happen to Jesus, to Jesus rebuking him, identifying the spirit of Satan speaking through him.
As I said, this is an extreme example, singular within the annals of scripture, yet one that we must take into account because if one such as Peter was given to personal opinion and allowed himself to be used of the enemy to be an offense to Jesus, it can happen to any of us if we are not continually mindful of the things of God.
Searching our hearts, making certain that we are in concert with the gospel, keeping ourselves humble, and walking in obedience, are not things that we do once in our lives, then check them off the list forever, these are virtues we must practice daily, and by doing so be certain that it is the Holy Spirit of God guiding us in all righteousness.
In many ways, our spiritual walk can be likened to driving a car, wherein a moment’s worth inattentiveness can have dire consequences. Be vigilant in all things pertaining to the spiritual, be mindful of the things of God, and let nothing distract you on your journey.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.