Discerning of Spirits


When the Holy Spirit gives you the gift of discerning of spirits, you are able to see the attack of the enemy, take authority over it, and rebuke it in Jesus’ name.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”  -- 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

If there was an intruder in your home, would you want to know about it? Of course you would! You would remove the intruder by any means necessary. However, what if there were an intruder in your home and you didn’t know about it? Unfortunately, that scenario describes the spiritual lives of many Christians when it comes to demonic spirits.

Let me make a distinction here. There’s a difference between being possessed by a demonic spirit and being influenced by one. I don’t believe Christians can be possessed, but I believe they can be influenced by demonic spirits. Think of it this way: If a burglar is in your house, does he possess it? No, it’s still your house—but he has the ability to do some damage.

If there’s a demonic spirit influencing your business, family, health, or any other area in your life, you need to take authority over it and remove it. But how can you do that if you’re unaware of a demonic spirit?

One of the gifts the Holy Spirit gives is discerning of spirits, which simply means we are made aware of the presence of a demonic spirit. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we are able to receive this gift. I’d like to point out that this gift is not called the “gift of discernment”—the Bible doesn’t mention any such gift. Of course, the Bible instructs us to discern between good and evil, but it’s not a gift of the Spirit. Usually, when people say they have the “gift of discernment,” it really means they’re good at being judgmental.

When the Holy Spirit gives you the gift of discerning of spirits, you are able to see the attack of the enemy, take authority over it, and rebuke it in Jesus’ name. In Acts 16:16-18, Paul does just that. While he’s ministering, he discerns a spirit of divination (fortune-telling) in a young girl. Paul says to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her,” and it left her immediately. She was set free!

Is there an area of your life in which you can use some spiritual discernment? Does the enemy have a stronghold somewhere in your life? Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal these areas to you today so you can take authority over the enemy and be free. 


Holy Spirit, reveal to me any area of my life where the enemy has a stronghold or is influencing me. In the name of Jesus, I take authority over that spirit and claim Christ’s victory and freedom. Continue to shine a discerning light on my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 


  • Psalm 43:1-5; Psalm 144:2; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 6:12

Taken from The God I Never Knew, a Gateway devotion. 

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