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

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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

Seer or Discerner: What is the Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference between the gift and ministry of a seer, and a gift of discernment is? 

This is a great question—because many discerners are gifted visually and see a lot in the spiritual realm. And many seers are encountering things they recognise are demonic—so there can be some cross-over in the manifestations and experiences of the two gifts.

I’ve answered this in depth in the Enliven Prophetic School this week, but following is a brief summary:

The Seer Gift and Ministry

When we use the term ‘Seer’ we are describing one type, or strand of the prophetic gift and ministry. [1]

We are describing those who have prophetic gifts and ministries, or who are prophets, who operate primarily in the realm of seeing—that is, in visions, pictures and visual impressions, and even dreams, from the Holy Spirit.

The key points we need to remember about the seer gift and ministry are:
1. It is a prophetic gift and ministry (1 Sam 9:19)
2. Being prophetic, the primary focus is on seeing God’s intended purpose
3. Throughout the Bible, seers were given visions from God concerning the past, present and future, they saw symbolic pictures and visions that were prophetic in nature, they had Heavenly encounters and were enabled by the Holy Spirit to see in the spiritual realm for God’s purpose in that moment.

The Discernment Gift

Our definition for the gift of discernment comes from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, where he says,
‘But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: …to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.’ (1 Cor 12:7-11, NKJV)

The 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.

The key points about the discernment gift are:
1. Its primary focus is on distinguishing the source of something.
2. Whilst some discerners do operate in the realm of sight (visions, visual impressions and pictures from the Spirit) many discern in other ways, including a ‘knowing’ (recognition) by the Spirit, feeling, sensing atmospheres and even physical responses

A Different Focus

So, to sum up, the seer gift and ministry and the discernment gift have different purposes and a different focus.

  • The seer gift is a prophetic gift and its main focus is on seeing and declaring God’s intended outcome
  • The focus of the discernment gift is to perceive the source of something

Note that Paul identifies the gift of prophecy and the gift of discernment separately in his list of gifts of the Spirit—they are not one and the same. And one is not more important than the other. They’re both needed.

Having said that, there is very good reason for those who operate in one or other of these primarily to see their need for the other:

  • Someone who operates in the seer gift of prophetic ministry needs discernment, to help weigh up whether or not a vision, encounter or visionary experience is of the Holy Spirit.
  • Likewise, someone who has a gift of discernment needs the encouragement and perspective that the prophetic ministry and gift brings. When we perceive the enemy at work, for example, the prophetic gift sees past what is currently going on, to God’s intended outcome. And that is a game-changer!

So, whichever gift you identify most with, pray to be strengthened in the other. And always ensure that you have those with complementary gifts of prophecy wisdom, leadership and so on, around your life to bring the balance and complete your gift and ministry.

Being in community and having team, a spiritual family, a church body around you, and leadership oversight is the most important thing you can do, to stay on track, reach your fullest potential and honour God in your gift and calling.

We were never meant to journey alone.

Gifted as both Seer and Discerner

It is certainly possible to be gifted strongly in both ministries. Seers of the Old Testament were also discerners.

My own story is that I had a gift and ability to discern from a very young age. But while growing in the gift of discernment, the primary calling on my life was ultimately to prophetic ministry, where I operate mainly as a seer. So, whilst I personally identify with both ministries, I’ve learned not to take either of them for granted.

Both gifts need sharpening, both are significant, and each one shines at different times, depending on the need and what Father is doing.

[1] See my Biblical references here: 8 Ways to Grow in Prophetic Visions and Pictures

Enliven Prophetic School: Seer Master Class

This week, I’m thrilled to let you know that after a few months hard work, the Enliven Prophetic School is now open!

This school is for anyone who would like to learn and grow in the gift and ministry of prophecy and includes classes for discerners as well.

Modules currently include:

  • Foundations of prophetic ministry
  • How to hear God’s voice, begin and grow in prophecy
  • The Seer gift: how to grow in pictures and visions
  • Discernment and prophetic warnings: how to respond and share a prophetic warning

This is the best mentoring I can give, all rolled into one place! You can currently join the school for as little as $6.95 USD (monthly subscription) or make a single payment to join with no end date.

I will be adding more master classes regularly. Visit the Enliven Prophetic School here.

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