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.

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

Note: All transactions are secure 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


Related Posts:

8 Signs You May Have the Spiritual Gift of Discernment


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

18 thoughts on “6 Keys to Unlocking Your Gift of Discernment

  1. Jeba

    Thank you very much for the mail. For Evangelists , this gift is essential . Jesus has blessed us with all these gifts in Him. He is so precious. Wonderful!
    Amen. Thank you Prophetess.

    Reply
  2. Iyakino P. Akpan

    Thank you very much for your insightful teaching on the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits. Your point number two is a much needed inclusion in teaching on this gift. By not limiting the manifestation of this gift to discerning demons and their activities, but expanding it to include the whole range of what we see, hear, feel, taste or perceive in the spirit realm and seeking the redemptive purpose of the discernment from Our Father makes me love this teaching so much. This teaching contributes towards correcting the present practice worldwide in which discernment in the spiritual realm is interpreted as a call for immediate warfare against demons. Be blessed my sister.

    Reply
    1. Helen Calder Post author

      You put that so well, Iyakino. Let’s dream and believe for that glorious rebalancing to continue taking place. We say, let it be Lord!

      Reply
  3. Tracy

    Helen, this speaks to me so much and I needed an answer from God concerning what I have been discerning when I go out into grocery stores or retail stores and just recently when I took my daughter and my niece bowling that I am be watched and followed as I shop. And i admit that I have gotten so discourage to the point that at times I dread going out to go get what I need. When I address this to my husband he responds “I didn’t notice anything”. So it has been very frustrating for me.

    Reply
    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Tracy, never forget there is authority in Jesus’ Name to command such ‘presences’ to go and not return. I encourage you to pray through each of the above points and see which ones can be put into action for you.

      Reply
        1. Helen Calder Post author

          Hello Tracy, my suggestion was a general one, for you to pray through all of these aspects.
          I always recommend having local pastoral care (i.e. church leaders) to help process your discernment, and to pray with you (agree for/command what’s happening to cease) – point 5 – so you’re not going it alone.

          Reply
  4. Iyakino P. Akpan

    Tracy,
    By your testimony I understand that you are enabled by the Holy Spirit to discern the presence of evil personalities. It is a good gift. Your capacity to see them should not generate fear in you “because greater is he who is in you, than he that is in the world” (1John 4:4b).

    Reply
  5. Uduak

    I so much appreciate this article. Pls i want you to explain point no. 2… Where you mentioned (knowing where the anionting is). There’s one side of my head that whenever i focus on it while praying i experience a breakthrough, could that be the position of the anionting or mantle? I always feel a ring on my index finger, something on my forehead, something like a belt around my waist. I do perceive the presence of spirit around us, at times people around believe am lying. Who am i? Pls help me.

    Reply
    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Thanks Uduak, re explaining number 2, that’s a very good question, and one I will go back and clarify this within the article too.
      By ‘discerning where the anointing is’ I am not referring to manifestations, but ‘where God is moving and what He is up to.’
      For example, in the Gospels Jesus was sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s purpose in the moment. He knew anointing had been released for healing when the woman with the issue of blood had touched Him. We read that when Jesus was in a room one time, ‘the power of the Lord was present to heal’.
      As far as physical sensations or manifestations, I personally treat these in the same way as prophetic insights – they need to be tested, i.e. are they bearing good fruit, honouring God and affirmed as being of the Holy Spirit by other leaders in the church. Hope this helps

      Reply
      1. Uduak

        Thank you so much my sister. Pls do you have any article on mantle? My spirit often whispers “mantle” to me. I don’t seems to understand what it is all about? And how to receive and use it.
        Concerning meeting my church leaders, non of them is ready to open up to me. One of them adviced me to enroll in a prophetic school. Maybe that is exactly what i need, but which school is actually recommendable? Thanks.

        Reply
  6. Ranu

    What about people who have occultism background and in the process of being delivered in deliverance ministries? For instance, there are people who start to be able to see demonic entities or feel their presence after they are being ministered. Whereas before they couldn’t do that. It’s like the deliverance is activating something they don’t know they have.

    Do you have any suggestions about it, Helen? Let’s say they have been praying to God to remove the abilities if it’s not from Him. What should these people do while they are waiting for God’s answer? Are there anything they should do in the waiting process?

    Reply
  7. Eva

    this work has really helped me a lot. please i wish to know the difference between discernment, vision, dream and prophesy

    Reply

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