LEARN TO DISCERN
(1 Cor 12:10) . . . to another discerning of spirits . . .
Jesus said that in the last days there would be much deception in the world and that the elect were to be on the alert (Mat 24:4-5, 11, 24). Don’t we see deceitfulness operating in our culture today? The devil is presenting his own reality and the amazing thing is people are swallowing the big horse pill because that serpent of old (Rev 20:2) is giving it out in bite-sized pieces. But the Lord has given us a gift of the Spirit that we need to use often . . . and it’s called the discerning of spirits.
The discerning of spirits is the ability to distinguish between what is from God and what is from Satan. And sometimes it’s hard to tell because Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:13-15). You can be fooled by people at times, but the Holy Spirit gives the spiritual faculty to read and perceive like a doctor looking at an x-ray.
Do you remember how Peter dealt with the deception of Ananias and Sapphira? This couple had sold a piece of property and had given only a portion of the money as a gift to the Jerusalem church. That wasn’t the bad thing, but they had lied and told the apostles they had given all the money. Peter called them on it and they ended up six feet under! (Acts 5:1-11) Peter had the discernment he needed to see through the situation down to the source and the result was a pure church, free from hypocrisy and error.
The Bible cautions against being naive. (Pro 14:15) The simple (naive) believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps. We are to believe the best in people (1 Cor 13:7) but sometimes there isn’t the best coming forth from people and you could be caught in a trap by being naive. (1 John 4:1) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God . . .
On the other hand, we are not to be judgmental either (Mat 7:1-5). That’s the opposite of being naive. The Lord doesn’t endow us with the gift of discernment to judge people. That would be a misuse of this spiritual gift. It is interesting how discernment of spirits is listed next to the gifts of knowledge and wisdom (1 Cor 12:8-10). Spiritual gifts work together and are effective as we operate in God’s love (1 Cor 13).
Be careful of deception in these last days. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He slithers in like a snake in the grass (Gen 3:1) and prowls around like a lion ready to pounce (1 Pet 5:8-9). Keep in God’s truth (Mat 22:29) and trust the Spirit to give you the discernment you need to recognize and resist deception.