Discerning of spirits and discerning of self by Pastor Don
This is such a impacting Bible study. I pray many read it and are blessed.
We are all spirits who live in bodies and have living souls. As such we need to learn to discern the Spirit and to discern ourselves. In mirror experiences we see ourselves clearly but we don’t take the time to examine the screen.
1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant
We have spiritual gifts, and Paul does not want the believer to be ignorant.
1 Corinthians 4-11 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
The Spirit mentioned here is the Holy Spirit. God has ordained we are to have these gifts. Jesus went to the cross to give gifts to men. Ephesians 4:7-8 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “ When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”
There are 9 gifts in operation (word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healings, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues). These are given individually to the individual to operate for the sake of the Kingdom. But they don’t operate in all the people all the time. And an Apostle (sent one) can operate in all of these gifts at various times. Christ operated in all 9 gifts.
The gifts are given as the Holy Spirit wills. We are given these gifts for ministry purposes. God can use an idiot. He can use a donkey, to get His message across. Because we operate in a gift does not make us better than another because we, through the power of the Holy Spirit do a miracle, sign and wonder. We were just used by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
We are all members in one Body, and as the Spirit wills the gifts can come to reside and stay and a person can step into an office for the Body of Christ. For example, if a person prophesies a lot, the Spirit may place him into the office of a prophet.
There is a problem though, if a person does operate in one gift, people think they also operate in all the others. You can come to have a gift of prophecy but not be able to apply or advise about the prophecy with a Word of Knowledge. So a person in the office of prophet can give a prophecy, but if they interpret the prophecy, they may interpret it wrong. (Heather’s note, I was just reading a passage that gives a good example of this, Acts 21:10-14 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.” The prophecy was true that Paul would be brought to Jerusalem, and the people in error told Paul not to go there, but Paul, who was shown by Jesus what he must do, went to Jerusalem to his death. Had he listened to the wrong word of wisdom from the prophet he would have been outside of God’s will.)
Someone who has a word of knowledge does not necessarily have the gift of prophecy. Some are prophets that can give prophetic revelations to others, but their personal lives are out of control. Some people operating in a gift do not discern themselves, and their personal life is riddled with problems. Some can discern a move of God, but that doesn’t mean that they can apply it to their lives. Some can discern the presence of God or get a Word of God, but still not apply it to their lives.
You can receive a powerful vision but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can balance your checkbook. Elliot Spitzer was powerful in courts of justice, but he lacked sexual control on the home front.
We want God to reveal our problems to us so we can see our selves with discernment. Pastor Don had us read the verse that tells us that the gifts are for the profit of all, and we as individuals are part of the “all” in all. So besides using the gifts to edify the Body of Christ, we can also use the same spiritual gifts to edify and discern ourselves. We can use the gift of healing, tongues, wisdom, etc. for our own benefit too. Verse 11 tells us “distributing each one individually as He wills.” Why would the Father not will for us to operate in healing or a word of wisdom to benefit ourselves?
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.
We are to desire spiritual gifts. We speak in tongues and we can pray to interpret what is said in tongues for the benefit of all, but also, if we are by ourselves speaking and praying in tongues, why would God not want us to ask for an interpretation for ourselves?
1 Cor. 14:14-15 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
If we pray in tongues, pray to interpret, and we will benefit if we pray to interpret when we are praying by ourselves in tongues. God not only wants us to benefit the Body of Christ, but also to benefit ourselves. We can operate in all the gifts in the group, but also in isolation. And the words, “with all,” also includes ourselves, and can be reduced to me.
Pastor Don said when the Holy Spirit wants to talk to me, why not. He is my Father, and we should be getting personal words from the Lord. Tongues and interpretations, words of wisdom and knowledge. As long as we can discern ourselves we can discern if God is speaking, and if God has something to do in His individual relationship with me. God talks within us to communicate. And He will also use me to operate individually for my benefit. What good is a prophet who prophesies for the Church but doesn’t get his own life straightened out?
For example, the prophet Balaam. God opened his eyes and used a donkey to get his attention focused on God.
There are individuals in the Church who can’t place themselves, or discern themselves, so they rely on others to reflect to them, and the problem is, those others are not always in the Spirit, and when they minster to the person, if the person can’t discern themselves, the prophetic words may be wrongly spoken, spoken out of season, or the wrong word entirely, and that will not do the work that God wanted to happen.
Sometimes there are people who operate in the spiritual gifts and people make the mistake of thinking they are always operating in that gift, but that is not the case. So when they say something from the flesh, not under the unction of the Spirit, we place too much value on the fleshly words and can get misled.
Self discernment is a gift from God. If we are sick in our body, we can discern the reason for our sickness. Healing can come by individual confession, getting into the Spirit and having the Spirit minister the gift of faith to me, for me. The Spirit can give us discernment of what’s really going on so that we can get our healing.
Pastor Don told us to pray for discernment so we can know for ourselves what is interfering with our healing. When we are in relationship with God, the gifts are in operation, and we can discern ourselves, and ask God to increase our gift of faith. Pray to discern your Spirit.
James 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
We are to be lacking nothing. God does not want us to lack discernment of ourselves.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
This is a prerequisite for verse 6
James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
God is not asking for blind faith, or faith that has no basis. We have experiences together with God, and then our faith is built, and as we grow in Him, we have a reason to trust. Who are we going to trust, God or ourselves? We have to discern where we are in faith. Sometimes in our hearts we have areas that we try to keep God out of, and some only trust God for what they “feel” God can do. If they doubt, they are like a wave tossed by the wind, they have to anchor their faith in God and trust God.
James 1:7-8 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Sometimes we ask ourselves how did this happen? How did we get so far out from under the truth of God? If we are double minded there is no stability.
James 1:12-15 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
When we have a desire conceived it equals sin. We need to not be pulled from God by our fleshly desires, for once we conceive it in our mind, we act on it. It is our own desires that pull us away from the truth of God.
James 1:16-17 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
We don’t know what a good gift is unless we discern ourselves. For example, Pastor Don asked us if we have ever overeaten? Most of us have had a time when we ate way too much and suffered the discomfort that comes from overeating. He then asked us, “Is God good?” Yes. Does He provide good food for us? Yes. Does that mean when we overeat God has given us bad food and that is why we have the problems connected with overeating? No. When you overate, did you DISCERN He didn’t provide ALL the food for you, that you don’t have to eat it all. You may have a buffet in front of you, but you do not have to eat everything on the buffet. If you overeat your senses are dulled. So you need to discern yourself to know how full you are or are not. If more food comes, you need to ask yourself if you want to eat it or not. Ask yourself what am I doing to myself if I overeat?
James 1:21 AMP So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.
Pastor Don pointed out it is the implanted Word, some translations call it the ingrafted Word. He said we won’t have the implanted Word inside of us unless we spend time in the Word of God. If there is no Word inside of you, you will have a hard time calling up your miracle. This can cause some delay. Some do not want to deal with their spiritual nature, and postpone knowing the Word, preferring to have a hedonistic lifestyle. We need to spend time in the Word, if it is just read a few times it is not sufficient. The Word needs to be implanted to grow.
Pastor Don said we need to develop a system to get the Word inside of us. He said that some put their Scriptures on 3 x 5 cards and memorize them, some write the verses over and over, some write with soap on a mirror. But the more Word we memorize, when we get under pressure, the Word comes out.
He also told us our fathers and mothers help us to become who we are. They are someone outside of you that describes you and helps form how you discern yourself. Some descriptions are positive, some negative or nothing, and what is said over you becomes part of your internal dialogue. If the messages are not Godly, you need to replace them with what God says about you.
James 1:22-24 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
How can you be a doer of the Word if you do not have any implanted Word in you? If you do not implant the Word in you, you will gravitate to what others discern about you. You won’t gravitate to the new you until you have implanted Word in you. When you have the implanted Word, you then can determine to do what the Word says and not fall back on your old patterns. The implanted Word will give you new discernment of yourself and you can step out in your Spirit nature.
When we get away from the mirror of truth without implanted Word we forget who we are and we revert to someone else’s discernment of us, and that creates a struggle. The problem for some is they don’t want to look into the mirror and see God’s truth for them.
Some say, I love who I am in God because I don’t like who I am, I don’t measure up. They walk defeated, not victorious. We need to discern who we are in Christ and ask for the gifts we need to do what God shows us, and we can ask without reproach. We don’t have to fall for the mirror trick of forgetting who we are in Christ.
We need to be a hearer of the Word and a doer of the Word, of the ingrafted Word of God. That will give us proper discernment of ourselves, to be a doer of the implanted Word of God.
Pastor Don continued about who we are in Christ, and I will share that with you tomorrow.
I pray this blesses you, and that we live out the implanted Word of God in our lives today.
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