Discerning whether the good spirit (the influence of God, the Church, one’s soul) or the bad spirit (the influence of Satan, the world, the flesh) is at work requires calm, rational reflection.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
In this verse, believers are commanded to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” This same command is echoed in other parts of Scripture as well. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 we find Paul exhorting the Christians do not “despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
Who is able and qualified to do this, according to the Word of God?
The answer is that only an individual who is truly a regenerated believer in Christ, only a person who is therefore indwelled by the Holy Spirit, can exercise true spiritual discernment.
The spiritual gift of discernment is also known as the gift of “discernment of spirits” or “distinguishing between spirits.” The Greek word for the gift of discernment is Diakrisis. The word describes being able to distinguish, discern, judge or appraise a person, statement, situation, or environment. In the New Testament it describes the ability to distinguish between spirits as in 1 Corinthians 12:10, and to discern good and evil as in Hebrews 5:14.
The Holy Spirit gives the gift of discernment to enable certain Christians to clearly recognize and distinguish between the influence of God, Satan, the world, and
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