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The gift of the spirit- the recognition/separation of spirits.

Pastor Gunta Grīna-Sologuba

Derex Prince made a wonderful comparison between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is like an apple tree that must be constantly cared for, fertilized, cut, and other things done in order for the fruit to come. In turn, the gifts of the Spirit are like a Christmas tree, under which gifts are left, they stand there from God, but it is our duty to pick them up, unpack them and use them. 

The gifts of the Spirit are given to the church for the GENERAL good, which is a prerequisite for the use of the gifts in the ways indicated in the scriptures. Not for the sake of self-improvement, but for the benefit of the church and society. 

Let’s read: The gifts are different, but the Spirit is the same; and the ministries are different, but the Lord is one and the same; and the actions are different, but God is one and the same, working everything in everyone. But everyone is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the benefit. To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge, by the same Spirit; faith to another, by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; miracles to another, prophecy to another, discernment of spirits to another, tongues to another, interpretation of tongues to another. First Corinthians 12:4-10

To discern or recognize is the ability to identify, see, recognize the various spirits that oppose us. We must remember that Christian service takes place in the spirit world.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 NIV

Our fight against the forces of darkness and the forces of evil. Therefore, we must be armed to defeat spiritual opponents.

The purpose of this gift is to expose the invisible spiritual world. This is the world we have to deal with if we really want to be effective. This gift gives the ability to see as God sees, not what is visible from the outside, but what is in the heart and space. What is hidden behind the visible body and human behavior. 

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

This gift protects us from deception because sometimes Satan comes to us as God’s people in the form of an angel of light. He pretends to be kind, smart, etc., but his intentions are evil and destructive. Remember who Satan used to be, what he knows about the Kingdom of Heaven, and how he tries to deceive us and give half-truths in order to stumble. 

Also, this gift helps to identify people’s problems and help them by exposing the darkness. The gift of discernment of spirits lies not only in the discernment of evil spirits, but also in the fact that there are various spirits that challenge us and oppose us by faith:

  1.  Spirit of God – Holy Spirit – it is important that we recognize the Spirit of God;
  2. angels – good and evil;
  3. demons – unclean spirits;
  4. human spirit.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” John 1:47 NIV

How did Jesus know that Nathanael was not deceitful? Because Jesus knew spirits.

Read more in John 1:48-51. Jesus says that we will see the heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending into the Son of Man, so that angelic spirits also exist.

In the Acts of the Apostles we read 27 chapters about Paul on board, on the way to Rome, and they seem to have been destroyed by a violent storm. An angel of God visits Paul and encourages him. 

Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Acts 27:23-25 NIV

An angel approaches the ship, but the only one who noticed him was Paul. Paul recognized what others could not. 

Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. Acts 16:16-18 NIV

She had a soothsayer spirit that told you whether you would be rich or poor, who would get married, what would happen next, and so on, he uses the spirit of Satan. Look closely at verse 17 where this servant is speaking 100% true, so we can see Satan here as an angel of light. For this servant does not serve God, but Satan. Satan’s purpose was to deceive the Filipinos, because the Filipinos were used to this prophecy, and if Paul had accepted it, the Filipinos would have thought that Paul was the same as they used to see among themselves. Paul didn’t fall into that trap because of his gift to discern spirits! He identified it because in verse 18 Paul couldn’t take it anymore and told the spirit and not the girl and the spirit left him. Paul recognized and cast out this spirit, and the power of Satan was exposed in the Filipino. If you go to a prophet, astrologer or “knower” of the future – he will always say something bad that will happen, and when you answer or just think that something like this will happen or happen, YOU ALREADY CONFIRM this about your future. We must learn to recognize the spirits sent by Satan and obey only the Spirit of God, and understand and live according to His plan. From these gifts in an early state, before they are trained, developed, it can be concluded that you are “sensitive” to the spiritual atmosphere, especially when you are in an unfamiliar place. You can see in the Spirit what is behind the words and actions of a person. When a prophetic message is spoken, you can determine whether it is inspired by the Holy Spirit or another spirit.

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14 NIV

We must all learn to distinguish between good and evil at a basic level, no matter what gifts we have been given.