Discerning of Spirits:
This gift is the last of the three revelation gifts (gifts that reveal). It is the ability to differentiate, through knowledge given by the Spirit, whether a person is operating through promptings of the Holy Spirit, an evil spirit, or the flesh. (Malachi 3:18 describes one use of this gift as being able to “discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him”.)
This is seen in the bible in the book of Acts 13. Here Paul is able to discern the unspoken of evil intentions of a man. Verses 8-10 say:
8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?
Here Paul was able to discern through the Spirit the evil prompting a person’s actions. The gift of discerning of spirits can give people supernatural knowledge from the Holy Spirit that determines if a person is demon-possessed, filled with the Holy Spirit or just operating “in the flesh”. Read the full story about Paul using the gift of discernment in Acts 13.
Previous Post: Gifts of the Spirit Explained: Knowledge
Holy Spirit Blog-Series