Discerning of Spirits by Jamie Rohrbaugh

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Discerning of Spirits
Series: The 9 Power Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Jamie Rohrbaugh
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 


Discernment of spirits. Discerning of spirits. Whatever you want to call it, what is this spiritual gift and why is it important? 

I believe that discernment of spirits is one of the most useful, crucial, vital gifts for these last days. Of course, all the gifts are important, and we should earnestly desire them all! But I’m particularly partial to discernment of spirits for the following reasons:

  • It can save your tail in tough situations.
  • It can help you win in spiritual warfare.
  • It can protect you from being seduced by the enemy.
  • It helps you help others get free from spiritual and emotional bondage.
  • It can help you walk in wisdom and have your steps ordered by the Lord.
  • If you operate in this gift, God can use you to help protect His flock and entire people groups through intercession and, sometimes, wise and Holy Spirit-led intervention.

That’s a lot. In order to discuss this spiritual gift appropriately, I’d like to break it down into four parts: 

1. The definition of discerning of spirits.
2. How it helps you when it’s fun.
3. How it helps you when it’s NOT fun. (Because, unfortunately, sometimes we do have to fight battles, and battles are never fun. BUT GOD always wins anyway, if we will stick close to Him and obey Him.)
4. And finally: If you have this gift, what is your worst nightmare? 

So here’s the first question: What is discerning of spirits / discernment of spirits?

Discerning of spirits is one of the gifts included in the list of power gifts from 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, which says:

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (emphasis mine). 

The absolute best way I can describe discerning of spirits is to say this: 

When you have this gift, you can “smell” what kind of spirit is present in a space–either in the place that you’re in, or in the person to whom you’re speaking. Sometimes you can even see that spirit.

It works the same way whether you’re with someone who’s filled with the Holy Spirit or whether you’re talking to someone who’s being oppressed by a demon.

If you& ...


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