My blog post, ‘8 Signs You May Have the Spiritual Gift of Discernment’ is the most-visited article on Enliven Blog.
Recently, I turned off the comment option on my discernment articles because of the time it was taking me to answer repeated questions. One thing I have been asked a lot is:
Q: Does seeing demons mean that I have a spiritual gift of discernment?
This is a great question. I have even had people say, ‘If this is a gift, how do I stop it, because I don’t like it!’
How can I tell if my Discernment is a Spiritual Gift?
‘Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.’ (1 Cor 12:7)
Just because people have an ability to see into the spiritual realm, and see evil spirits, does not mean that they have a spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit. 
Here are some Hallmarks of a Spiritual Gift from God:
1. It is sourced in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:4)
2. A spiritual gift builds the church community—it helps people and draws them closer to Jesus (1 Cor 12:7)
3. A spiritual gift bears good fruit. The outcome of exercising a spiritual gift is one of honour to God. (1 Cor 12:6)
4. A spiritual gift is based in God’s love. (1 Cor 13)
So the first question to ask is, ‘Does my ability to see in the spiritual realm have the characteristics of a spiritual gift—as outlined in the New Testament?’ ‘Is it producing good fruit (making a lasting difference) in my life and in others?’ (John 15:5, 16)
A Spiritual Gift of Discernment in the Early Stages
If you are a Spirit-filled Christian, and can’t immediately see some of the traits of a spiritual gift that I have mentioned above, it does not mean that you do not have a discernment gift.
Your spiritual gift may be in the early stages of development.
Just as a baby or child needs guidance to grow, a Christian believer with a newly emerging spiritual gift needs the wisdom of oversight to know how to use it. This is why discussion of spiritual gifts in the NT is in the context of the church community. (1 Cor 12-14)
What we Need to Learn about our Gift of Discernment
Some of the things we need to learn when we are developing a gift of discernment and seeing into the spiritual realm are:
- The authority that we have as children of God over the demonic realm and that we do not need to be afraid
- Wisdom to know how to respond to what we see
- The power of prayer and how to pray effectively in times of spiritual warfare
- How to exercise our gift in the context of church community
- Honouring oversight and responding to leadership in a Godly way
- How to keep our hearts free of judgments, suspicion and fear
- How to focus primarily on what God is doing and respond to that, rather than on what the enemy is doing.
A spiritual gift of discernment needs to be teamed up with these things in order to be effective and grow to maturity.
When Discernment is not due to a Spiritual Gift
It is possible have the capacity to see into the spiritual realm and to perceive demons, that is not sourced in a spiritual gift of discernment from the Holy Spirit.
For example, an ability to see into the spiritual realm may be due to
- An ‘open doorway’ (licence) being created through occult involvement, New Age, or other means where there has been an intentional opening to demonic activity and influence,
- The leadership or abuse of others in this area, or
- Through a generational doorway that needs to be closed (i.e. ancestors’ involvement in the above)
When this is the case, the ‘fruit’ of such discernment and spiritual sight is usually negative, resulting in torment, fear, division, confusion and so on.
I also believe that some people have an innate, natural ability to see in the spiritual realm.
From a young child, I was very aware of the spiritual realm—an ability that God later redeemed as a spiritual gift of discernment. Along the way, I allowed bad choices and fear to create a licence for demonic oppression. I am grateful for ministry in my church that led me through repentance, with the embracing of Biblical truth that brought me to freedom and purified the spiritual gift of discernment in my life. 
Your Heavenly Father gives Good gifts
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)
Jesus has given us the assurance that a spiritual gift from our Heavenly Father is good, and that we do not need to fear being given something harmful when we are asking for the Holy Spirit. And that includes His gift of discernment.
 For more information about the gift of discernment of spirits, see the post, ‘What is the Spiritual Gift of Discernment?’
 For further insights about the gift of discernment related to this, see the following:
 If you are concerned about the possibility of demonic oppression for yourself and others, know that Jesus has made the pathway to freedom simple through His work on the cross. Through appropriate repentance and prayer, any licence such as I mentioned can be revoked and doorways closed, in Jesus’ Name. See my article, ‘Prayer Ministry Ideas and Guidelines’ for important information about prayer ministry in this and other areas.
Are you sensitive to what is taking place in the spiritual realm? Have you ever been adversely affected by a negative atmosphere?
You may have the spiritual gift of discernment.
The gift of discernment of spirits is a powerful weapon in times of spiritual warfare, and can be of great assistance when ministering freedom to individuals.
And yet many who have the gift of discernment have difficulty knowing what to do with what they are feeling or sensing.
‘Unlocking The Gift Of Discernment’ incorporates articles from Enliven Blog and includes additional valuable material on how to be protected as a discerner in times of spiritual warfare.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching