Discernment of Spirits: Ability or Spiritual Gift? (Does Seeing Demons Mean That I Have a Gift?)

My blog post, ‘8 Signs You May Have the Spiritual Gift of Discernment’ is the most-visited article on Enliven Blog.

And 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. [1]

Here are some Hallmarks of a Spiritual Gift from God:

Discernment_of_Spirits1. 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 honor 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 the 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 the 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 to 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’ (license) 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 license for demonic oppression. I am grateful for the 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. [3]

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.


[1] For more information about the gift of discernment of spirits, see the post, ‘What is the Spiritual Gift of Discernment?’

[2] For further insights about the gift of discernment related to this, see the following:

8 Signs You May Have The Spiritual Gift of Discernment

8 Ways to Grow Your Gift Of Discernment

[3] 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 license 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.


DISCERNMENT Front Cover Small$5.95 AUD e-Book

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.

To view ‘Unlocking The Gift Of Discernment’ in our e-Store, click here

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

Enliven Ministries: Prophetic Ministry in a Revival Generation

80 thoughts on “Discernment of Spirits: Ability or Spiritual Gift? (Does Seeing Demons Mean That I Have a Gift?)”

  1. Mrs. Calder

    At times I think that I have the gift of spiritual discernment, but at other times I am unsure… For example, a few weeks ago during prayer God showed me a vision of a tounge. The tounge was in @ the pulpit of the church one minute and then it was bouncing around all over the church lashing out on people, and the people were hurt….
    Well last night during bible study, a member of the church started making some what seemed to be angry outbursts… As the Pastor continued to teach, the member continued to make outbursts in the form of angry questions or statements…. it got to the point that the member jumped up and went to the back, and never returned to the study….

    My mind went back to the tounge I saw in a vision….. was this discernment?

    1. Hi Amy,
      Yes it could be discernment if what is taking place is spiritual warfare, I think it is also prophetic intercession, Holy Spirit showing you what is taking place either ahead of time or behind the scenes so you can pray. Wonderful gift either way, ask Him for direction when you see something me that.
      🙂 Helen

    2. I have all of the gifts, but in different ways. I have powers, but I can’t perform miracles like Moses or Jesus. I have some prophecy but i am sometimes wrong. I see things but they can not be fully there. I can heal, but my powers don’t allow me to physically heal, only to spiritually heal and to ease pain. What does it mean? Why do I have all of these? I’m just a kid. Why?

  2. When I was twelve I started having a distinct feeling of déjà vu. Having a strong feeling the event happening I had thought about weeks and sometimes years before. At twelve I accepted Christ, and shortly after I started seeing shadowy figures. In the doorway if my room, at the top of the stairs. Always in my home, I was afraid at first. But once I no longer allowed it to be a distraction I no longer saw them. I can remember speaking and saying I am not afraid. I never saw a ” spirit” again. Years later I became distinctly aware that the events currently happening I envisioned prior. I remembered. However in the past these visions were few and far in between. Now I not only remember but they happen often. So often that I don’t know if the vision is my wishful thinking, my imagination, or visions from The Lord. Does this sound like discernment?

    1. I feel like I’m going to a lukewarm church and that they just sing happy praises over and over and it’s like really repetitive and I’m not trying to be disrespectful but something isn’t right with that church it’s the same or similar things over and over and over and what they really need to do is take out those counterfeit Bibles and get the real deal one which is the King James Bible if you like The pastors only preaching words that people want to hear he’s not preaching the King James Bible
      I know is that he gets caught up in telling the congregation his life stories and he gets way off topic in church and don’t want to be disrespectful but I think I’m not going to assume and I don’t want to assume but something tells me that he might be a wolves in sheep’s clothing only preaching the good not what he should really be preaching what he really should be preaching is the King James Bible if you’re not reading the King James Bible then you’re probably reading from a counterfeit I would be very careful what kind of bible will you read all the new Bible they have all nowadays are counterfeit normal is that the words have been messed with and that some of the Scriptures are missing avoid the NIV and avoid the new King James version and avoid any Bible with strange initials that don’t seem quite right I think people need to get back on the right path with God and that if they really want to get back on the right path I highly suggest the King James version Bible because with the reading and churches nowadays isn’t the real deal Bible they read counterfeits and is most likely an NIV or something like
      that if you want the real deal Bible then that would be the King James Bible do not read the New King James Bible
      The new King James Bible is just a knock off of the real deal King James Bible the real King James Bible has all of the Scriptures and all of the correct words and it’s perfect well I did is I want to I want there around my house and I found a lot of counterfeit Bibles and I read them once and I know it’s a lot of stuff was missing and like hey somethings not right here so I shut those Bibles and and stopped reading them because a lot of the scripture was missing and the words were out of place and there was an incorrect capitalize station in the words Holy Spirit and words like those Avoid the NIV at all cost and Bibles just like it yes even the new American Standard version Bible because if you knows the word no they tweak the Bible it’s disrespectful against God to mess around with the Bible it’s an abomination against God to add or take away from his holy word order to change the words or whatever the evil bad people do if you really want an authentic true word Bible that’s completely true then I highly suggest the King James version

      Here’s a really useful website

      Jesus is Savior.com
      You’ll find a lot of shocking truth there and I hope you find the King James Bible it’s the real deal people

      All the counterfeit Bibles are trying to trick you the ones are missing verses or have the words incorrect don’t read the counterfeits if you have a Bible in your house check to make sure it’s the King James version if it’s not the King James version then it’s probably a counterfeit and if I were you I’d throw out the counterfeit Bibles and get the King James one

      You tube sight to go to
      dockidds you will find what you need to know there he is a real deal preacher

  3. I think I have the gift of decerning spirits … I remember as a small child talking to spirits and knowing it was a bad spirit ..almost every house or apartment I stayed it I felt when there was a presence … I also felt like a stranger and misunderstood at Church many a time including when I was young ..I always could somehow feel and sense death on people since I was a small child … I can sense phony people in the Church all the time and it drives me crazy .. I’m always telling my Pastor that someone is not right .. I can’t stand injustice in the Church .. If someone is in some kind of pain weather it be physical or mental I can feel it .. I just recently moved out of a apartment that I sensed had spirits … I seen a demon hovering in a corner of my bedroom that had a strange Odor in and the next night I seen something that aluminated the corner of the room and then a series of numbers in the same spot … I feel I have a gift but really don’t know what it is ..

    1. Hi Cassie,
      I hope you have been able to receive some helpful information from the article above. See the list of ‘hall marks of a spiritual gift’ – these are the things to aim for as you explore the possibility of a spiritual gift. Have a look around at the other discernment articles on this website, too. (Select ‘Discernment’ in the list of categories on the right hand side.’)

  4. I am a young Christian and I believe I have the gift of discernment. As a child ive always been able to see things such as demons and such… I have been prayed over many times and been told this could be my gift.. Im beginning to think it is..i just dont really want to admit it I guess.

    1. Hi Rachel, rest assured that God is good and all of His gifts, including discernment, are good 🙂
      ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’ (James 1:17)
      I know it can be hard to navigate in the area of discernment in the early years, it certainly helps strengthen the prayer life!

  5. Hi Helen. I really don’t know specifically what gift I have still. I pray for Gods guidance. Since I was a child I used to see things and I thought something was wrong with me(looking back). As the yrs past my first encounter was I had a dream of a house fire days later it was on the news. Helen I believe The Lord is working through me. I can be standing by someone and The Lord would reveal to me for example: if the person was depressed, stressed, lonely, if the person is battling with a sickness or even if a person has a heart condition. Resently The Lord showed me specifics of where pain was on someone’s body and it came to pass. Just to mention a few things. Helen I just pray for these people as I am revealed things to me. Im still in prayer about how to use, when to use, and where to use my gift. God has blessed me with a gift and I want to give it back by helping others.

    1. Hi Vicky, it does sound as though you are ministering in discernment and prophetic intercession – a precious ministry.
      (I have written about prophetic intercession here: http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2012/08/06/prophetic-intercession-its-power-and-pitfalls/
      The main thing is loving and helping others through the gift and ministry God has given you. It can still be helpful to identify a gift so you can focus on investing into and growing it, and true to the nature of our creative God, everybody is wired differently even within the different gift ‘groups’ so sometimes it isn’t easy to identify a gift we have, more a journey!

  6. Felicia Mendoza

    When I was younger I dreamed of my cousins casket before he passed and have constant deja vu.. about 2 years ago I was not living with god and being taunted by demonic activity such as a man, black cats, items flying around my house.. now I am completely with god inside and out but I have a strong feeling of discernment mostly with demonic activity, my appliances keep going out just last night I was dreaming of my 8 month old receiving something spiritually and was woken up by my alarm clock making zapping sounds. When I was pregnant I was dreaming about casting out demons of everybody I prayed for . I am now wondering if this is a gift of discernment or an open doorway from either my past are ancestral?

Comments are closed.