How to Use the Gift of Discerning of Spirits

how to use the gift of discerning of spirits

In this final blog post regarding the very important gift of the discerning of spirits, I would like to help you learn how to use this gift by sharing on the following points:

  • The six filters of discernment
  • How to discern between true and false prophets
  • Developing the gift of discernment in a healthy way

The 6 Filters of Discernment

There are six principles that I run through as part of a spiritual thought-process to see if the Holy Spirit wants to reveal anything about what may be going on at any given time. However, this is not a formula; it’s just a check list in my heart and spirit that I consider when something I am hearing or perceiving doesn’t carry His peace. I ask of the Holy Spirit if it lines up with these 6 principles:

  • Is what I am hearing in agreement with what the scriptures say? – 2 Peter 1:19
  • Does it line up with the outward fruit of the Spirit? – Galatians 5: 22-23
  • Is the anointing of the Holy Spirit present in this? If not, why not? – 1 John 2:20
  • Do I have the peace of Jesus in my heart? – Col 3:15
  • Is it lining up with God’s nature, character, and His ways? – Psalms 103: 2-7
  • Can I sense a Spirit-to-spirit knowing of what is going on? – 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

How to Discern Between Prophets & False Prophets

You may be asking, What about false prophets? Well, when it comes to receiving prophetic words directly from a prophet, either in a corporate or personal setting, their words must be weighed or judged correctly through the Spirit of Truth. It states very clearly in 1 John 4:1,

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Judge the Word, not the Person

Now, please hear me on this: just because a person who is prophesying or a person who is considered a prophet may miss the mark, it doesn’t mean they are giving false prophecies or that they are a false prophet. Again, in Scripture it says we only hear and see in part, so prophets can get it wrong too!

We should NEVER directly judge the prophet or the person we receive the word from, even if we believe the word is incorrect.

Instead, we only judge/weigh if the word given was by the Holy Spirit, or what “spirit” was behind the delivered word. PLEASE DO NOT START JUDGING THE PERSON OR PROPHET DIRECTLY. THIS IS A BIG NO-NO!

Defining a False Prophet

A false prophet is not someone who misdelivers a word. Otherwise, many believers in-training would be considered false prophets. In contrast, a false prophet is someone who always makes the word about them. Everything they say points back to them—not Jesus! They are not accountable to anyone; they think the Spirit teaches them all things and they are never answerable or accountable for the grace they have been given or operate in. They have no covering of a church or spiritual leadership.

Furthermore, they manipulate people by giving prophetic words in order to get them to do things and give them things via manipulation. Believe you me, I have seen situations where false prophets have blatantly targeted single women and exacted $1,000 from them by using their so-called “gift” to gain what they want. This is spiritual witchcraft in its highest level! 

Related: What is Prophecy? The Gift of Prophecy vs the Office of a Prophet

3 Steps to Using the Gift of Discerning of Spirits

These are three simple ways to increase the depth of your spiritual discernment and help you to become more spiritually aware when different spirits are influencing your physical and thought life. 

1) Ask the Holy Spirit

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a greater level and gift of discernment. You will begin to exercise this gift by learning to discern what spirits are influencing your personal thoughts and physical life. This has to be received by faith!

2) Start Somewhere

Begin by choosing one area in your life where you would like to increase the use of this gift. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what is influencing a particular area of your own life. This could be your relationships, finances, workplace/career path, health or wholeness. It could even be your spiritual calling or any other area where you need to gain some clarity because you don’t have peace. 

For example, you could start with a desire to discern what is affecting your attitude over something, like your health. Or, let’s say with finances. Have you noticed what happens when you and your spouse begin to talk about money? Does your conversation get heated very quickly and become blame driven? Or does the conversation remain calm, both of you looking for God-centered solutions?

If it gets heated and when these moments arise, ask the Lord to show you what is influencing your thoughts or attitude. Then ask Him to lead you to a place where you understand His thoughts about the situation — His Word is always true!

In these simple moments you can begin to activate the gift of discernment in your life by partnering with the Holy Spirit to see His presence reign over your life, and the lives of others. You get to operate in the gift to change what is influencing you!

3) Keep a Record

Try and keep a journal on hand, or even take notes on your smartphone or iPad etc. This will help you document your faith levels and see how much they rise. Make note of moments when you boldly partner with faith and breakthrough the spirit of fear in your life. Begin to track how your faith and this gift increases as you disempower and learn further to discern the influence of the enemy in your life and the lives of others. 

I really believe you will start to notice vast improvements in your overall senses as the Spirit of Peace will reveal Himself to you throughout these times.

Just remember, as you’re discerning, you’re exchanging fear and anxiety for His perfect peace. I believe these action points, if implemented and practiced will help you to develop spiritually. So please be patient, persistent, and open-hearted to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.