6 Keys to Unlocking Your Gift of Discernment

The gift of discernment is powerful, because by it, we’re enlightened. Discernment brings ‘aha!’ moments when we have insight into what is going on behind the scenes. This enables us (and others) to bring God’s will—His rule, His Kingdom—into every situation.

The Apostle Paul wrote,
‘the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit,
to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit…to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits’
(1 Cor 12:7-10, NKJV)


6 Keys to Unlocking the Gift of Discernment

Discernment is a gift that honours God. Yet many who experience the spiritual gift of discernment have difficulty knowing what to do with what they are sensing. I understand this, because it is a challenge I’ve faced throughout my life! Here are my top 6 keys to help you unlock the gift of discernment, from a Biblical perspective:

1. Be Assured the Gift of Discerning of Spirits is a Good Gift

The word used in the Bible for gift, charisma means ‘a gift of Divine grace’ [Strongs G5486], and Paul tells us discerning of spirits is given for a purpose—to benefit the church: ‘for the profit of all’ or ‘for the common good’ (1 Cor 12:7).

We sometimes need to be reminded of this, because discernment can bring challenges. Know that your Father’s gifts are good in nature, just as He is. (James 1:17) Remember Jesus said:

‘If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
(Luke 11:11-13, NIV)

The spiritual gift of discernment has the ability to help the church, set people free, protect the integrity of what God is doing, and help us overcome in spiritual warfare.

This kind of discernment is a good gift! It is of the Holy Spirit. And you can ask God for it, knowing what your Father has to give you is good.


2. Make Discerning What the Holy Spirit is doing Your Main Focus

There’s a misconception that discernment has to do primarily with seeing what’s happening in the demonic realm. But the highest and best use of the gift of discernment is to see what God is doing.

In 1 Corinthians 12:10, the Greek word translated discerning is ‘diakrisis’ [Strongs G1253] from ‘diakrino’ [G1252] which means to separate thoroughly.

A person operating in a gift of discernment of spirits may have the ability to perceive:

  • What the Spirit of God is doing, or in other words, where His anointing is
  • The angelic realm
  • Demonic presence and activity—and at times, to describe this by name and nature
  • Discernment can also perceive what is sourced in human desire or thought (and this is not necessarily negative, unless it is presented as being of the Holy Spirit but isn’t)

That’s a very broad range of discernment!

If we’re only ever seeing and talking about demonic activity, there’s an imbalance. Because the highest use of discernment, and our greatest honour as discerners, is always to see what God is doing.


3. Make Prayer your First Response

If you are interested in discernment that is sourced in the Holy Spirit, here are my top 6 keys to help you unlock the gift of discernment, from a Biblical perspective.When we have an insight about what is taking place in the spiritual realm, our first response should always be prayer. This is as simple as being in touch with the Holy Spirit in the moment, for He is the source of this gift.

Something things we can pray about include:

a. Checking our insight is based on something we’ve received from the Holy Spirit and not from our personal feelings or suspicions
b. If the discernment relates to spiritual warfare, we can begin to pray for God’s intervention, in Jesus’ Name
c. Asking for more insight about the bigger picture of what we are perceiving

This thought of seeing the bigger picture leads us to the next key:


4. Seek God for His Redemptive Plan

Even when there’s spiritual warfare happening, we are under pressure, or threats are being directed at us, our Father’s up to something good.

God has a plan to overturn demonic strategies and extend His Kingdom.

So when you perceive the enemy is at work, you can go back to God and ask Him – ‘Father, what are YOU up to?’

Something that’s helpful if you are experiencing discernment, is to activate the Holy Spirit’s gift of prophecy as well (even if this is at a basic level of encouragement) and team the two gifts up. As Paul said:

‘Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.’ (1 Cor 14:1, NIV)

You can also surround yourself with others who have complementary gifts.


5. Stay in Community

Discernment can have unusual manifestations and be difficult to understand. It can be a temptation for discerners to withdraw and become isolated. But the Bible places this gift in the context of the church body.
We need others who have gifts such as:

  • Wisdom, who can bring the practical guidance
  • Prophecy, to encourage, comfort and see ahead
  • Leadership, to bring oversight.
  • Others who are also discerners to confirm our insights

We were never meant to go it alone.


6. Don’t let Fear Rob You of Your Gift.

Finally, no matter what you are discerning, remember the Bible tells us this: ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’ (2 Tim 1:7, NKJV)


Unlocking the Gift of Discernment eBook, 3rd Edition

Just updated! In this third edition, I have added a chapter on 5 specific spiritual attacks discerners face and how to overcome each one. I have revised other chapters, added new content and finished with an inspirational chapter on how the gift of discernment can propel you into an encounter with God’s glory!

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 wisdom from Enliven Blog as well as additional valuable material on how to be protected as a discerner in times of spiritual warfare.

New Chapter List:

1. Introducing the Spiritual Gift of Discernment
2. Signs You may have the Gift of Discernment
3. Your Heart as a Discerner
4. How to Grow Your Gift of Discernment
5. Ministry Areas that Benefit from the Discernment Gift
6. Tips on Exercising Discernment in Church Life
7. Focus on the Spirit, Feed on God’s Word
8. Freedom from Fear of Evil
9. Protection for the Discerner
10. How to Overcome Spiritual Attack
11. Encounter God’s Glory

To view and purchase the eBook ‘Unlocking The Gift Of Discernment’ in our e-store, click here

Note: All transactions are secure using PayPal and we do not pass your information on to third parties. Our store will convert to your currency.

Available for download in PDF (114 pages) and ePub


© 2018 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family

Prophetic Word: ‘Rise Up, Go and Anoint’

Have you ever had an expectation—one you wholeheartedly believed was from God—but it didn’t work out as you imagined?

It may have been a prophecy, a role or assignment, a relationship or a ministry opportunity.

Perhaps you dreamed about the way God was going to answer a prayer, release your destiny or fulfil His promise—but it didn’t take place the way you expected.

‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life’. (Prov 13:12, NKJV)

Today, I believe God is saying to many:

‘Let go of what you perceive to be unfinished business. Release those things to Me, for I have a fresh anointing and a new assignment for you.’


The Prophet Samuel Was Crushed and Disappointed—But God had a Plan

God gave Samuel the task to anoint Saul as king, but it didn’t work out as the prophet expected.

The new king rebelled and disobeyed God. And Samuel faced the painful task of delivering God’s message to Saul: ‘You’ve rejected God’s word—and now God has rejected you as king’. (See 1 Sam 15)

After that, Samuel withdrew and we read, ‘Samuel mourned for Saul…’ (1 Sam 15:35, NKJV) Think about this:

  • Samuel himself had publicly identified and anointed Saul as king
  • Afterwards, he discovered the very instrument he had anointed was rotten to the core!

This was a situation that touched Samuel’s identity as a prophet. It impacted his life’s calling as a revivalist; to lead Israel to serve and worship God.

Samuel saw years stretched in front of him, in which an ungodly king ruled the nation he loved.

The prophet was stricken with grief over the loss of what could have been—and the young man he had seen potential in.

But the God Who loved and called Samuel had a plan. And God’s next instructions to Samuel are fresh and relevant to us today.


1. It’s Time to Rise Up

‘The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” (1 Sam 16:1, NIV)

God gave Samuel time to grieve—and He acknowledged the validity of those feelings. But there came a day when God said, ‘How long will you mourn?’

The Hebrew word for mourn, abal, means to bewail, lament, mourn [Strongs H56].

Samuel had strong feelings about what was lost. But God was saying, ‘I have a new plan! You cannot enter into it until you recognize what time it is. It is time to rise up and move on.’

Hear your Father say,

‘In order to move into the new assignment I have for you, let go of what is behind. Release those regrets and disappointments relating to the past.’

You can move forward free and unencumbered!

This principle does not only apply to good things that turned bad. It also applies to good things; even great things, that have had their time. 

  • That day is over and the Spirit is moving in a new direction.

An opportunity may have been good and anointed of God in the past—but if it is not His purpose in this current season, it can become a ‘Saul’.

You have been hankering after it, but that day, that opportunity is gone.

God’s Presence and anointing has left it! Release it, move forward, discover and anoint the new thing He is doing.


2. Receive Your Anointing and Fresh Commissioning

‘Fill your horn with oil and be on your way…’

Samuel was mourning over someone he had anointed—and it seemed that anointing oil had been wasted. Now God was saying, ‘Stop looking back where the past anointing was unfruitful, and look ahead to where I am appointing a new king!’

  • Anoint the new thing God is anointing
  • Prophesy about what He is appointing
  • Bless what He is doing and about to do

See life, speak and declare life.

Notice God’s instructions to Samuel were, ‘fill first’!  You can’t move ahead without a fresh anointing.

‘Anointing’ speaks to us of being filled with the Spirit~both for refreshing and for a purpose~and having a fresh encounter with God.

Hear Him say, ‘Lift up your head and your hands! Receive a touch of refreshing, a fresh outpouring from My Throne. I am for you and not against you! My Spirit is coming upon you and filling you.’


3. Launch Out in Faith

‘I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’ (1 Sam 16:1, NIV)

Samuel went to the household of Jesse. Jesse means ‘wealthy’ or ‘gift’. As you begin to move, know all of Heaven’s resources are available to you for your God-given assignment. Nothing is too difficult for Him to accomplish, as you surrender to Him.

Notice God didn’t give Samuel a complete instruction. He said, ‘I have chosen ‘one of his sons’.

Like Samuel did, God calls us to live by faith.

There is always an element of mystery; some things the Holy Spirit will only show you when you reach your Divine appointment.

There was also something else; a message that God wanted to highlight:

‘The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ (1 Sam 16:7, NIV)

What God has ahead for you, may not look as you or others expect it to.

Just as those close to David were surprised at God’s choice of him, many will be surprised at the ways in which God is about to use you.

For your Father is revealing plans that have previously been ‘under wraps’.

‘Let go of what you perceive to be unfinished business. Release those things to Me, for I have a fresh anointing and a new assignment for you.’


Unlocking the Gift of Discernment eBook, 3rd Edition

Just updated! In this third edition, I have added a chapter on 5 specific spiritual attacks discerners face and how to overcome each one. I have revised other chapters, added new content and finished with an inspirational chapter on how the gift of discernment can propel you into an encounter with God’s glory!

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 wisdom from Enliven Blog as well as additional valuable material on how to be protected as a discerner in times of spiritual warfare.

New Chapter List:

1. Introducing the Spiritual Gift of Discernment
2. Signs You may have the Gift of Discernment
3. Your Heart as a Discerner
4. How to Grow Your Gift of Discernment
5. Ministry Areas that Benefit from the Discernment Gift
6. Tips on Exercising Discernment in Church Life
7. Focus on the Spirit, Feed on God’s Word
8. Freedom from Fear of Evil
9. Protection for the Discerner
10. How to Overcome Spiritual Attack
11. Encounter God’s Glory

To view and purchase the eBook ‘Unlocking The Gift Of Discernment’ in our e-store, click here

Note: All transactions are secure using PayPal and we do not pass your information on to third parties. Our store will convert to your currency.

Available for download in PDF (114 pages) and ePub


© 2018 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family