7 Keys to Using Your Gift of Discernment With Love

Love Overcomes FearThe spiritual gift of discernment is the Holy Spirit-given ability to perceive whether an atmosphere, word or action is sourced in God, a person or something demonic. (1 Cor 12:10)

One of the challenges faced by those of us who have a spiritual gift of discernment is to be able to continue to express God’s love to someone, regardless of what we are discerning.

Jesus showed great love to the Gadarene man who was affected by demons.

Firstly, He went by boat to the location specifically to minister to the demonized man. Jesus not only set the man free, He also commissioned him to testify—releasing him into his destiny as a worshipper and witness to God’s love and saving power. (Mark 5:1-20)

If we are going to operate in discernment as a spiritual gift, then like Jesus, we need to be able to look past the bondage or the issue and see the soul of a person loved by the Father.

We need to see an individual who has a God-given identity and destiny.

If this is an area that you would like to grow in, here are some keys to help you operate your gift of discernment out of God’s love.

1. Place a High Value on Love—Because God does

‘If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.’ 1 Corinthians 13:2

Love is vital to operating in our spiritual gifts, including discernment. It is so significant that an absence of love disqualifies the gift in God’s sight.

Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so every spiritual gift sourced in Him will manifest in love. (Gal 5:22)

2. Have a Revelation of Father’s Love and Intent

‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.’ 1 John 3:1 NIV

‘Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.’ 1 John 4:11

When you know the heart of the Father towards you, it transforms and releases you to love others as He does. Love flows naturally. Continually seek a greater understanding and experience of the Father’s love.

Pray for the person and ask God to help you see as He sees.

The Holy Spirit may give you prophetic insight as to Father’s intent for the person’s life. The prophetic eye sees past what is currently going on, to the God-given destiny of a person.

3. Receive Freedom from Fear

‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.’ 1 John 4:18

Fear will always get in the way of your ability to love a person. Conversely, fear cannot operate when love is at work, for love overcomes fear. Prize and protect freedom from fear, so that you gift of discernment always remains untainted by it.

4. Develop Compassion for People

‘When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ (Matt 9:36)

When the Holy Spirit enables you to discern an issue in a person’s life, look past the problem. See a person loved by God who is in need of help. It may help to realise that there could be some trauma, hurt or experience in his or her life that has contributed to the problem.

5. Don’t Allow Judgments to Distort your Perspective

‘ Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.’ (Romans 14:4)

It can be tempting to judge or be critical of someone who is being influenced by something demonic. Don’t let any judgments (negative opinions) affect your perspective of the individual.

If you find yourself becoming judgmental, you can break free by renouncing negative opinions and seeking for Father’s perspective on the person.

6. Express Forgiveness

‘ Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ Colossians 3:12-13

Someone who has a problem or issue of a demonic nature operating in his or her life is likely to hurt others. As it has been said, ‘hurting people hurt people.’

There may be some personal reason why you need to forgive someone. Forgiving someone does not mean that you need to trust him or her, if they have broken trust before. However, forgiveness is vital to your own wellbeing, essential to keeping your gift pure, and it is obedience to God’s command.

7. Remember that Love is Active and Strong

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

If you want to have a pure gift submitted to the Holy Spirit, and be used by Him, all of the above things are vital.

However, loving someone does not mean that you put up with bad behaviour. The most loving thing you do may be to be honest with the person, address the problem and face it squarely. It may mean involving spiritual oversight.

Finally, to love someone is to desire God’s best for them. And God’s best is healing and freedom. After all, Jesus came to set captives free.

Related Posts:

What is the Spiritual Gift of Discernment?

9 Ways to Banish Fear of Evil

8 Signs You May Have The Spiritual Gift Of Discernment


DISCERNMENT Front Cover Small$5.95 AUD e-Book

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.

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

Can you think of some others keys to using discernment in love? Leave a message in the comments section, on Facebook or check out our new Instagram account. If the blog comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.

© 2015 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

22 thoughts on “7 Keys to Using Your Gift of Discernment With Love

  1. Jazz

    From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)

    Where are your articles about repentance?

    The prophetic gift is primarily about sharing the Gospel, which is based on bringing people into repentance. The gift of discernment is for seeing the spiritual condition of a person to effectively minister to them.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Jazz, thanks for your very good question.
      I probably differ from you in that I believe the prophetic gift is not primarily about evangelism, but on building the church through exhortation and encouragement (based on 1 Cor 14:3). Having said that, Paul in the same chapter does talk about repentance coming to the unbeliever as through prophecy ‘the secrets of the hearts are laid bare.’ This is an outcome we should all desire.
      Although I don’t cover repentance as a specific topic, it is in the heartbeat of all that I teach. For example through this article it is my earnest desire that christians repent of operating out of a judgmental attitude, by having a revelation of Father’s love for individuals.

      1. Jazz

        Thanks for your timely and kind response, Helen. We agree that the prophetic gift is for exhortation and encouragement. I encourage people to repent (smile). That’s not exclusive to evangelism.

        I’m looking for articles on how to deal with unrepentant people who profess to be Christians. You deal a lot with the delivery of the prophetic message (e.g., unblocking judgmentalism), but I’m looking for articles for people who need to examine themselves when they can’t receive a prophetic word given in love.

        “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5

        1. Helen Calder Post author

          Hi Jazz, thank you for sharing that. I’m always looking for the questions and difficulties my readers are encountering, as they often give me the ideas for future articles. 🙂

          1. Jazz

            You’re welcome. Thank you. I will stay tuned. I love your blog, by the way. It’s very encouraging and helpful.

  2. Gretiana

    There is always the temptation to judge others based on the revelation God gives us about them. This can become a hindrance to God using us more.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      That is so true, Gretiana! And not only the revelation, but any foreknowledge you have about the person, or even their appearance. I’m constantly praying, ‘Father help me to see as You see.’

  3. Nancy

    Thank you, Helen, for this timely word. I have been thinking about love lately… after reading 1 Cor. 13 and realizing… how much I do not love as the Father loves. I am far from the 1 Cor 13 love. I really feel undone. I just need more… more of His love… and less of “mine”. Actually, i think I just need a heart transplant. His heart for mine.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      That’s beautiful, Nancy. Thank God a ‘heart transplant’ is a part of our inheritance. (Ezek 36:26)
      Be richly blessed.

  4. Steve McCracken

    Thanks Helen for your faithfulness in speaking the truth so clearly. You are a gift of God to the Body of Christ and I am blessed to call you friend 🙂

  5. Julio saucedo

    I read this article because I have been experiencing alot and yet no one has never trained on how to develop this gift. Til now that read this for this gift it makes more sense than before. The church that I’m attending to they don’t want me to tell them about the discernments that I’m having about them. They call it hallucinations.

    1. Jazz

      Julio, often times God gifts us with what is lacking in a church. If you’re placed in a church with low discernment, then they will “gather” against what you see. Try holding off on telling them what you discern and just praying about it. The Holy Spirit may be training you in prophetic intercession. I went through something similar at my church. God uses me to pray and teach my church into spiritual maturity.

      Remember to check your insights against the Bible. Nothing sharpens our discernment like Bible Study, prayer, and fasting all together.

      May God bless you!

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Moses, the best way to ask questions is to leave a question here in the blog comments, on Facebook, or if you are subscribed to receive the blog posts by email, you can send an email reply which I can respond to.

  6. I need help

    Hi! I’ve been a christian my whole life, and I’ve lived in a very spiritual family. Not just going to the church in sundays, but God speaks to my mother, God heals people through her, everyone in my family can speak in tongues, I have been able to since I was a small child etc.

    And apparently I have the Gift of Discernment and I’m very scared. I’m just a teenager and I don’t know if I’m able to handle seeing demonic spirits. My teen years I’ve been extremely good at “reading people”, I thought it was just seeing facial expressions and tones, but lately it’s been something else. A few months ago a prophet talked to me about discerning of spirits, but I didn’t know what it meant.

    I’ve seen the school social worker a few times about my fears, and I’ve felt uncomfortable, a little scared with her, but I didn’t know why, she is really nice. Last time she wanted me to do simething I didn’t want to, I said no, and something bad happened. I didn’t see it instantly, but I had this vision. She got furious, her eyes turned black and it’s like she had little horns. I know that may sound silly, but I just need someone to understand.

    I’ve been terrified for days, I’ve had to sleep next to my mother. I’ve kept praying. After that, she even broke confidentiality, and I have to see her again in a few days. I’m thinking of changing schools, I’ve thought about changing schools before, so I probably will. I’m just a kid, I don’t know what to do. Please answer me, I’ve been teary eyed since I found out I have to meet her again. Someone has to understand and believe me.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      So sorry to hear about your troubles! I do know that any gift from God is just that – a gift of love, and fear is not from Him. So never equate ‘discernment a gift from God’ with fear – they are two separate things and fear is an enemy to be banished!
      Re the social worker – seeing a picture (black eyes etc) such as you have does not necessarily mean that it is true – fear wants to keep us away from the very things and people that will help and heal us. So don’t feel that just because you ‘see’ something that it is real, sometimes it is just fear having a go at you.
      Having said that, if you feel uncomfortable with her, there may be someone else who can better help you.
      Here is a list of things that can help you break free of the fear – I pray you find some keys to help you. https://www.enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2014/11/11/discernment-9-ways-to-banish-fear-of-evil/

      You are loved by God. I’m glad to hear you are in a Christian family and environment. You don’t need to let fear bully you around, you have a confident, bright future as a young woman of God who will stand up and be fully alive, gifted and graced by Him. Let me know if you have any more questions. 🙂 – Helen

      1. Pamela

        It will be ok dont be scared ive had this gift for 21 years now i felt the same as you at first but just remember that this is a gift from god and very few choosen individuals receive this very special gift over time you learn how to gain the wisdom in acknowledging how to channel those demonic spirits into the spiritual realms closing the door behind them pretty soon it will become natural. My first demonic spirit was that of a challenge i casted the (little guy) is what i named it out of a friend of mine and it hung around me for quite some time moving my things around turning off and on the lights ect…. it knew i wasnt afraid of it i was just mad cuz it wouldnt leave. Finally after several years it went upon its merry way everyonce in a while it would come back and see if i was ok or whatnot and now a couple of months ago i don’t know why or what it wants but its came back it knocked my shelf off the wall opened all my dresser drawers it knows that i CAN’T be possessed so i don’t know its baffling.

  7. Pamela

    My story was on my spiritual gift of discernment in the spirit realms. Even though I have survived Two Marriages 3 children and medical issues of my own i manage to take care of both my parents who have been married for 50 years. My Legacy is to write a Novel for my children’s children children in order that im not forgotten in years to come. I have to tell all of the unhappy individuals that suffer from spiritual warfare that Even though i have lost two marriages i care for both my parents ive got serious medical issues of my own no income of my own i have recently graduated from medical coding and billing college earning a degree that im unable to act upon because i am right where i need to be taking care of my parents. Once i realized that God’s will in on his timings not mine. Sometimes its not enough to just pray i began a series of bible studies through the bible crossroad institute Four years ago and i do bible studies through the 7th day Adventist church every single day God wants us to do more than just pray or go to church he wants us to really get to know him through his word and if there is something that you don’t understand find someone who will mentor you through prayer. Thats what i did and god has giving me peace and serenity acceptence joy happiness contentment he provides me with all of the basic necessities of life which is all that i really need for now i have faith in knowing that he knows what is best for my life and i humbley accept whatever life has to throw at me he has giving me the gift of discernment that is worth a lifetime of fulfilment.

  8. susana montoya

    I just wanted to share my story of discernment. When I was 18 my grandpa got run over by a drunk driver. Around 2 years after he passed I kept having the same dream. Night after night. Probably for a month or longer.one day my father went to go visit his mother. My grandpa’s wife. And that day I was outside with my dog. It was around noun. A beautiful sunny day. As soon as I came inside the house I heard a knock. I said who is it but no one answered. I looked outside and I saw my grandpa. He just kept on knocking at the door. I was afraid so I called everybody I knew and no one answered. I eventually got brave and told myself that this is my grandpa he isn’t going to hurt me. So I opened up the door. When I opened the door no one was there. This experience has made me stronger with God.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Wow what an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing, Susana

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