Discernment_of_SpiritsMy 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. [1]

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. [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 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.


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

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

  1. Hi Felicia, yes I understand your concerns, sometimes it is not easy to find our pathway forwards in this area. It is a walk of faith and prayer. Ultimately a gift will produce good fruit, fruit that sees atmospheres changed for good, people helped, set free and brought closer to God and the church blessed and grown. If you are having struggles, receiving prayer about generational/ancestral issues could be helpful, see http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2012/09/11/prayer-ministry-ideas-and-guidelines/
    Receive His peace.

  2. Hi Helen,
    I So Gratefull of reading the book unlocking the gift of discernment
    As A Child I could see evil spirits on the faces of 2xfamily friends
    who in later years developed severe mental illnesses
    when they visiited our house I would cry and cover my eye as the spirits were so disgusting to see
    everynight other spirits would come and torment me in my room
    it was clear even at that age that they knew I could see them
    and used that to try and terrify me, I would wet the bed rather than get out of bed into the images I saw in my room,
    Other odd thing, mirrors used to scare me
    I would see things in them like at the barbers
    would see spirits on poeple in the mirror or in a shop window
    but not when looking directly at them
    Up until the Very Night I was saved I could not sleep with my door closed
    The First Night of the best sleep ever was had the night I committed my life to christ
    as un unsaved teenager I discovered I could find other kids
    lost items
    As Soon as I was saved and started in an excellent church under leadership and in fellowship, I began to experience the spiritual
    in a very different way, it was as if God himself had gone in my tool shed, chucked out everything I had, and replaced them with shiny new tools that worked Properly
    But boy oh Boy, talk about a “cow with a gun”
    The first thing that happened was I noticed that being short sighted that when I took off my glasses I could very easily see
    angelic/demonic forms/shadows , I was with my fellowship group
    and one of my new friends thought they should hide my glasses
    we were expecting a pizza delivery ,
    I looked at the open front door (without my glasses) and saw someone standing there, Hi I said in a loud voice, bring it in here
    The others stopped talking and the leader said ‘Who are you talking to”. they guy at the front door I said, there was further silence, “But theres no-one there” “what?”, just then the lady (who dabbled in witchcraft unbenogst to us )who owned the house we were in started howling and crying, we all then realised something was up,
    as a group we sprang into action and went all round the house praying whilst a female leader consoled the lady
    I went with another friend into the basement laundry to pray over house
    and immediately heard the word “nightmare” in my spirit plus also felt just a we bit freaked out – this being that the cat was now out of the bag about what I could see
    we prayed and my friend ordered the spirit to leave and
    ask for angels to come to the house and guard the lady
    Boy were my friends a bit scare of me after that
    I suggested it would be better if the refrain from stealing my glasses in future
    And thats my first gung ho experience with discernment as a brand new christian 18 years ago

  3. my own since I was a child I see strange people stoning me when am asleep I notice DAT does people cannot be seen with physical eye
    naw DAT am twenty I can see beyond igimation I can hear someone calling my name I usually see my self casting out demon in my dream I can since someone emotions and felling

  4. Hi hi guys nd thanks 2 KING JESUS 4 this wonderful article nd guys I’m also having the gift of discerning I’m usually sensing the present of GOD like wind nd when a devil worship is at church I sense them is like nd even the ather spirits nd GOD is bein great bcs I even see coloures nd I knw the mind of ppl when they think gud or bad about me nd when their angry or being hurt I sense it in my spirit nd GOD is great nd trust us the most important thing is 2 b closer 2 GOD through prayer nd worship John 15v3 GOD is strong than anything in this world nd GOD live in us so Greater is GOD within us that all evil spirit nd Satan in the world. GOD bless guys nd GOD love ya

  5. Hi and thanks for your blog.
    I have recently been told by an associate that I have the gift of discernment and they were told in a dream to tell me. I am 31 and became a Christian when I was about 12. I really didn’t know a lot about spiritual gifts, but since being told that I have this gift I have been researching. I have had visions of dark things since I was young and have at times found them very scary and have not understood it. More recently in life I feel connected to people in a way that I can read them before I really even know them…also at times I can sense when something bad is going to happen- especially when it involves my own family. Late last year after seeing a hooded figure in my driveway God visited me and it was the most overwhelming experience. I really do feel that I have this gift and really would like to learn more about how I can use it positively and manage it so it’s a happy experience for me and my family. Any advice is appreciated. Blessings to you.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, yes a gift from God is for good (Luke 11:11-13), He will honour your journey to steward the gift well! Have a look at the articles in he discernment category (right hand side of this page) as you will find some more information. Be blessed!

  6. Helen,
    I am reading on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and I believe I have the spirit of discernment. In my teens I was able to read people for who they really are without them having to say a word to me just be visual. So far I am always correct. At times I have a tendency to give people a second chance but as always I find out they are no good(evil). I can tell if someone is in the spirit or not.
    Also, when I travel I pick up on negative energy that would make me sick or depress that I will have to leave the area or if I am driving I will be in a hurry to get far away from the area. Once I leave the area I can breathe easy. Is this a gift?

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