How to Improve Your Spiritual Gift of Discernment

How to Improve Your Spiritual Gift of Discernment
Improve Your Spiritual Gift of Discernment

How to improve your spiritual gift of discernment? First, Let’s answer the questions: When a spiritual gift is bestowed, is it set forever or can it increase/diminish over time? Can a believer in Christ grow in his use of spiritual gifts? Are we stuck with a gift at a certain level forever?

Fortunately, the use of gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 can grow in a believer.

Here are three common ways Spirit-filled believers operate in the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits. I remind you, however, according to 1 Corinthians 12:6, there are varieties of “workings” (effects, energizing), so your experience may be vastly different than what you read here.

A) The spiritual gift of discerning of spirits comes through natural senses.

When Jimmy Carter was campaigning for President of the United States, I was invited to a ministers conference in Arkansas. Carter was the featured speaker. For the pastors and ministers he gave an impressive gospel message. Then he followed the presentation with one of the best altar calls I’ve ever heard. He invited those who wanted to respond to place and X on the contact form which we all had on the table before us.

Here he was, a presidential candidate, presenting the gospel of Christ, and even giving an altar call. Stunning!

I definitely wanted to meet this man and perhaps help him become president!

The opportunity to meet Carter came immediately after the presentation. All who desired could stand in line and shake hands with the candidate.

I came forward, shook Jimmy Carter’s hand and looked into his eyes. Immediately, I perceived a drastically different man. His eyes were clouded. Beneath the smile and the gospel presentation, I saw a power-hungry man. I knew immediately that I would never vote for him.

What changed? Discerning of spirits clicked in.

Discerning of spirits frequently comes through natural senses, especially the eyes. The Bible calls the eyes the “window of the soul.” Sometimes the sense of smell exposes a hidden evil spirit. Some people may hear a spirit through the sound of a voice. The Holy Spirit can use any of the natural senses to discern the presence of a strange spirit.

B) Another way discernment comes is by direct revelation. A pastor was enjoying a man and his family who were new in his congregation. They were serving and seemed like the epitome of a wonderful family. Most of the congregation appeared to think highly of this family. But there were some unclear reservations in the pastors mind. What is “edgy” about this man?

It was all unclear to the pastor until one night God revealed in a dream: this man harbored a snake in his soul.

The pastor did nothing except pray. Shortly, the man and his family moved to another city. Then the truth came out. The man and his wife were secretly backbiting and criticizing the pastor and his family.

God spared the church and the pastor through a direct revelation. We can wait for the outward evidence to manifest itself. However, it’s often better to pay attention to the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits to protect the church.

So how do we improve the spiritual gift of discernment? Like faith, the gifts grow through love, If this pastor had created mischief for the man or had criticized him openly, most likely God would not have shown the true snake-like character of the man through a dream.

3) A third way that we can improve our gift of discernment is through listening to our feelings. Feelings speak louder than words sometimes. Have you ever listened to a joking, happy man, and then went away sad? Have you ever seen a great video or heard an informative talk, then went away feeling that “something is wrong?”

I once visited a mosque in another city taking with me a Mexican leader of a Spirit-filled children’s home. The mosque was “creepy” from the moment we first entered. We could hardly wait to get out the door. Once outside, I and my guest felt relieved. After awhile, I said to my friend, “Fran, I’m going to teach you a new English word. It’s “heepy-jeepy.” That’s what we were feeling in there.”

Everyone has some discernment. We all need to grow in it. The spiritual gift of discerning of spirits is a special endowment to sense the presence of different kinds of spirits. It is one of the powerful ways God uses to protect His people and HIs church.

All the spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 are designed for the benefit of people beyond ourselves. Discernment is a powerful and useful gift. If you think you may have this gift, I recommend you share your insights with your pastor or his wife. One of the ladies in our church with a keen sense of discernment of spirits used to pass on her perceptions with me. (She has gone to heaven by now.) I valued her insights. Several times God used her to save me and the whole church from trouble.

If you have this gift, are you thinking of how to improve your use of it?

Praying in tongues will increase your sensitivity and improve your use of the gift.

If you think you have this gift, I invite you to share some story about how the gift is working for you. This may help me and others as we together learn how to improve our use of the spiritual gift of discernment.

Photo above by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

Speak Your Mind