What is Discerning of Spirits?

There is a lot of mystery and spookiness that tends to surround the gift of discerning of spirits. I want to extrapolate this gift in a way that is understandable so that it can become an active tool in your everyday life.

The common thought surrounding this gift is it’s use for detecting the demonic. While this is true, there is a higher truth. Every gift is designed to glorify God. When we detect the devil our next thought should be, “What is the Father saying regarding what I am sensing?”

The thoughts of the Father are always higher than the intents of the enemy. Click To Tweet

Let’s start by defining this gift.

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.”

1 Cor. 12:7,10

This gift is a divine technology that exists to transmit information to us regarding things in our everyday life, atmosphere and environment. This information is transmitted through our spiritual senses.

In the natural our senses receive information from external stimuli that transmits information to our brain which enables us to “discern” that particular stimuli. We also gain wisdom through discernment in the natural because the information that is received is cataloged for future situations.

In the spirit we receive information from external stimuli and the Holy Spirit who generates the information that is received through this gift provides insight on what is occurring in that particular instance, atmosphere and environment. This can be information regarding both the good and bad things that are occurring in the spiritual realm.

Discernment Operates Through Five Senses

  1. Smell – 2 Cor. 2:14
  2. Hear – Daniel 8:16
  3. See – 2 Kings 6:15-17
  4. Touch – Luke 8:43-46
  5. Taste – Ez. 3:1-3

While I don’t neglect the acknowledgement of demonic activity in everyday life; I place a higher value on God activity. The discerning of what He is doing is always better because He is superior to the enemy.

What you value will determine what you give your attention to. Click To Tweet

How God Schooled Me:

One evening while ministering in a service I could discern (feel) a spirit of depression that was heavily present in the lives of many of the people sitting in the congregation. I began to rebuke the spirit of depression and proclaim words of empowerment over their lives. Then I discerned (heard) the voice of the Lord saying that He had something better for them. Then I turned my attention towards Him to properly discern what He wanted to do amongst them. As I kept my focus on Him I ­discerned (sight) that angels were coming into the room. The angels were carrying jars filled with the oil of gladness spoken about in Psalm 45:7. When I saw them I began to declare that the oil of gladness was being poured out and people began to experience the joy of the Lord with great laughter and deliverance.

Fear has taught us to over emphasize what the enemy is doing and to under emphasize what the Lord is doing. Click To Tweet

This occurrence taught me that even if we discern something demonic, there is a higher dimension of discerning. This is discerning what the Father is doing.


I grew in discerning of spirits by learning to become still before Him. I decreased my activity and His activity increased. Holy Spirit showed me how valuable my imagination is and how it is a divine pathway into the spirit realm.

Your imagination was created by the Father as a window through which to communicate. The devil didn't come up with imagination. Click To Tweet

I would sit in my most comfortable chair, close my eyes, and using my imagination I’d see Jesus. I’d often imagine myself in the scene of a scripture when Jesus was teaching and that would initiate real encounters where I would be taught revelation by the Lord that I have seen work in my life and the lives of others.

Set your mind on things above and steady your focus on Jesus. He will lead you into all truth, which is the foundational purpose of discerning of spirits.

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One thought on “What is Discerning of Spirits?”

  • Hi Kevin my brother in Christ,
    This topic interests me thoroughly and your comments and insights were very helpful. I’m a non denominational full Gospel Christian. I am somewhat different than my Baptist upbringing. The Holy Spirit is limited in so many churches, including the one I grew up in. I am a drummer currently looking for a worship band, but this area (Western Kentucky) is very small and it’s very hard to find a good Full Gospel church. I like to flow in the Spirit while worshiping and many churches quench His activity by having very rigid music and tradition, etc. I would like for your advice concerning how to connect in an area with the right church and worship team. I have a very strong musical gift and the heart for healing and empowerment of the children of God. You seem like the type of Pastor I would like to be with every time you speak. Please pray for my future. I believe I will serve full time in the worship ministry just don’t know when or where. I currently work in a depressing chicken processing plant called Pilgrim’s pride. It is falling apart. Very chaotic environment. Also, I am currently working towards continuing my education. I will be connected to you via Instagram or online media. I felt like the short messages you have in your posts are on point and feel encouraged!!! Thank you for your prayers and ministry. I am a 37 and live in Clinton, KY. Holler at me on here anytime. With Christ I know I can achieve my goals and place in His body.

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