Just like words of knowledge, there is keys that will unlock the gift of discernment. It is one of the powerful but abused gifts in the Spirit. Let’s be honest from the start: slander is not discernment. Much of what we see is slander. Discernment from the Spirit is always redemptive.
The idea of discernment has become known as “heresy hunters” websites. This is sad because most of them are reformed in doctrine and against anything that is Pentecostal. They just want to bash anything that they disagree with. This is not discernment on any level.
Because of this, many people have not wanted to operate in any level of discernment in Pentecostal circles. We put up with all types of nonsense. The whole mess with Todd Bentley is an example. We let him preach even though there was major issues. We did not want to discern anything and just wanted to not believe what was happening.
I believe part of it is that we do not want to have a biblical framework for the spiritual gift. We just don’t know, or care to know, what the scriptures actually teach about operating in the spiritual gift.
Discernment is in the Holy Spirit
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God…they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments. (1 Corinthians 2:10,14-15)
Any true operation in the spiritual gift starts and ends in the Holy Spirit. You can not be used by God outside of the anointing. This is why it is so important to have sound theology and a godly lifestyle. If you have either of those off, you will not be able to be used in to employ the biblical gift properly.
If someone tries to discern without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they will not have Holy Spirit discernment. They are left with just being judgmental on a human level. Being filled with the Spirit and conducting yourself in the anointing can not be over stated.
According to Romans 14:17, the Kingdom of God is not of this world but it is in the Holy Spirit. If we long to experience the kingdom of God in our lives, we have to do it in the Holy Spirit. This is why having the Pentecostal experience is so important.
Discernment in prophecy
The gift is actually directly connected to prophecy. The purpose of the discernment is to test what spirit a prophetic word is given in. This is the primary focus of the grace.
to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:10)
As you can see, the mention of the grace in the “spiritual gift list” is bunched together with miracles, prophecy and tongues. If we believe that the message of tongues is prophetic, we have to believe that discernment of spirits is connected at every level to the prophetic giftings.
The reason this is so important is we have to determine what spirit people are moving in. Not every spirit is the Holy Spirit and not every prophecy is from the Spirit. There are false prophets and there are just people who are in the soul realm. Discerning who is in the Holy Spirit, who is a false prophet and who is just immature and broken is the reason we have the spiritual gift.
Growing in Discernment requires intimacy
As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. (1 John 2:27)
The idea of the anointing came from the Old Testament where the prophets and priest were literally anointed with oil. They would be covered in the oil to the point of it dripping off their beards. (Psalms 133) It means to be literally smeared with oil. We know that oil is a type and shadow for intimacy with the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 25:1-13)
The anointing that we receive from Him makes us long to be with Him. The closer we get to the Lord, the more we long to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit. As this happens, it becomes much more clear what is of the Spirit and what is not.
The anointing is not a “special feeling.” It is being intimate in the Holy Spirit. Let’s not get that twisted.
Lack of Discernment is real!
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1 Timothy 4:1)
The sad reality that we live in is that many do not discern and they will abandon the faith. They will follow teachings of devils because they can’t tell the difference between what is in the Holy Spirit and what it not. They are led astray by crafty preaching and great orators. Many of them are even very knowledgeable of scriptures. However, they lack discerning of spirits that is found in intimacy with Jesus.
We know there will be increase in deception in the coming days. There will be new “winds of doctrines” that people teach. People who are not close to the Lord will like the languages of some of these teachers. They will abandon the faith in exchange for things like humanism and psychology. We have seen this already start to happen.
It always amazes me when I hear of people who have received the social gospel and inner healing. These are becoming very popular and it is another gospel. It is by another spirit. Yet, many are being given to these doctrine of demons. Why? No discernment!
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
The reason we are warned against hollow and deceptive philosophy is because there is hollow and deceptive philosophy. The question must be asked: what actual is philosophy? It is literally “calculated through theory rather than experience or practice.” Do not be led by theory but actual experience in Christ is what Paul was saying.
There is many theories being taught right now in churches that is not rooted in truth. We see everything from unlimited eternal security to gnosticism being preached. It is mere theory that is not rooted in sound doctrine. We must discern what is in Christ and what is grounded in humanism and false religion.
This will only become more important the closer we get to the rapture of the saints and we draw more near to the great end time harvest at the end of the age of the Holy Spirit.