Spiritual Discernment

Spiritual Discernment 

Kathie Walters Tuesday, September 5, 2000

I walked past the small group of people who were gathered in my kitchen. We had had a good meeting – God sent His Spirit, and many people were healed and delivered. As usual there were visitors who had come to “check us out” and see for themselves the reported manifestations of the presence of God. A small group were gathered around a first time guest. As I passed I overheard the newcomer telling of how he had lost his wages on the way home from work ( in those days many manual workers were paid weekly, in cash). Two thoughts crossed my mind when I heard the unhappy words, 1) “They are fixing to give him some money to make up for the loss,” and, 2), “He’s lying!”

I walked away and began to rebuke myself inwardly. “You are so suspicious, you just don’t love people.” But still inwardly my heart felt uneasy and I couldn’t shake it off for a while.

I eventually just put it out of my mind.

The following week that same visitor came again to the house meeting. One of the local elders from another church in our town also attended the meeting. Before people left that night, they spent some time fellowshipping over a cup of coffee. The elder called me aside into another room. He was hesitant but finally said, “I feel I need to tell you something about the man who was here tonight.” He described out visitor. The elder continued, “The man has made a habit of going to various churches, he tells the people that he has lost his wages, so that they take up offerings for him, but in actual fact, he spends his money in the betting shop!”

I thanked the elder and then went straight out into my yard and sat down. I felt that God and I needed to have a talk. “God I am sorry – I believe you tried to tell me about this, and I ignored your Spirit and pushed His voice aside.” Immediately, The Holy Spirit gave me a striking vision -one that I have never forgotten. I saw in the picture/vision a gigantic fir tree. It reminded me of the big tree that is sent to Times Square every year. The tree was beautiful and lush, with branches spreading out like a huge Crinoline dress. Then I saw little ornaments sticking on the end of the branches. The branches were so huge and the ornaments so small, it didn’t even look funny, it just looked pathetic. Then the Lord spoke to me,”Kathie, that’s what you do to my Spirit with all your little niceties and politnesses- they are not in the truth and they are not of my Spirit. My truth does not need “decorating with your ‘niceties.’”

The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Truth and reality – He does not enter into pretense – He does not act, He does not witness to a lie. And if you are born-again that same Holy Spirit is in YOU. The Bible says, “But the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you do not need that any man teach ( or tell you) you; but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him,” (1 John 2:27). How does this work for us? The Holy Spirit witnesses to the truth, and so we have to learn to listen to the witness of the Spirit within us – the witness of the Spirit is there for a reason and a purpose – in order that we may walk and live in the truth of God and consequently live in the Spirit.

When Jesus died on the cross for us, He died that we would have eternal security, but He also died that we would be able to live in the realm that He lived in – the realm of the Spirit. One of the keys to walking in this spiritual place is learning to listen and be loyal to the voice and witness of the Holy Spirit within us.

Jesus did not make judgments and assessments according to what He saw with His eyes, or heard with His ears. He was led by the Spirit – He listened to the voice of His Father. “As He was, so are we in this world,” ( 1 John 4:17) Why are we so insecure about being Spirit-Led? Why do we not have the confidence that we should have? Most of us have not given attention to the witness of the Spirit when He is telling us something.

God wants us to grow spiritually – we are not meant to stay babies – In Hebrews 5:12-14, we are told that we should know how to be conformed to the will and purposes of God, and we should have our (spiritual) senses exercised, and we should know how to discern good and evil. We are meant to exercise discernment. How do you exercise in the natural? By using our muscles of course! Well in the spiritual realm we are also supposed to exercise our spiritual abilities. The gifts of the spirit, Prophecy, the discerning of Spirits, are meant to be exercised! We often want to be able to operate in the gifts and functions of the Spirit, but we don’t want to bother to exercise them. Why? Well we have to get into faith – and sometimes we don’t want to make that effort. It’s easier to receive whatever is said, rather than make the effort to listen to the spirit with us – especially if He’s saying something different from what we are hearing with our (natural) ears.

Did you realize that we have a responsibility to discern between that which is good and that which is God? You can hear some good things, even scriptures, but that does not mean that that is what God is saying to you. If you need a word form the Lord for yourself in a given situation – it is not use my picking up a Bible and reading the first scripture I see. I have to listen to the Holy Spirit and discern what He is saying to you right now. When there are prophetic words in a meeting we have to discern – “Is this word truly from God?” “Is it for me?” People can say good and well-meaning, even scriptural things, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that God is speaking.

The Holy Spirit will teach us if we will pay attention to Him. We are going to learn how to discern in the Holy Spirit – what is of God and what is not. For an example, in a church gathering there may be a great sermon, lots of great songs, testimonies, prophecies etc. They may all sound good – but we have to learn to discern what God is saying and doing in that meeting.

Someone may sing a song – it may sound good, it may have great words, the singer may have a beautiful voice – but it may not be really anointed of the spirit – in which case it is “good” but it is not God. Most of us mistake a good atmosphere – which can easily be created by good music – for the anointing! But, a good atmosphere is not necessarily the anointing! If the anointing is there it will bring the glory of God and you will see it on the faces of the people. If people are just caught up in a soulish, “happy” atmosphere – there will not be any real fruit, they will just feel a little better for a while. If the songs are anointed and the power of God is in it, there is real deliverance.

In Hebrews chapter 4 V12 the Bible says, “For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than a two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit…… and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Pretty heavy I would say – it means that not everything is acceptable – if it were, there would be no need to discern the thoughts and intents etc. So then we are meant to discern the word – not every word is a sword – not every word has the ability to divide the soul and spirit, only the word that is coming by the Spirit of God.

When Jesus met the women at Jacob’s well (John chapter 4), she wanted to have a religious discussion! Jesus brought a sword to her and cut through all her religious understanding, and her half truths. She told Jesus that she had no husband but His response was, “You have had five husbands and the man you now have is not your husband.” She acknowledge that He was prophet and right away reverted to her religious conversation – which was really a red herring to keep the word away from her – it was getting too close to home. “Where do
think is the right place to worship? In the mountains, where our fathers worshiped, or here in Jerusalem?” she asked.

Jesus could have quoted many scriptures – but He didn’t – He DISCERNED where she was and what her situation really was – by the Spirit, and when He spoke, He spoke right into that arena of her life ( which she was trying to keep hidden from Him). The word cut through all the religious talk – it was a sword -it divided the soul – it divided the motives. It got to the truth! And, consequently it brought her to the truth -JESUS.

One time a young lady came to our house. She wanted counseling – she had received a healing some weeks previously from diabetes. Unfortunately, the Diabetes had returned and she wanted to know why. We waited n the Lord and my husband, David, said, “I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me that you have anger in your heart – and it left an open door for this infirmity to return.

The women was very indignant and insisted that she had no anger. We sat around for a while – and talked about other things. My husband would not pray for her, and she would not admit to any anger – so it was kind of spiritual stale-mate. We presently went to another home around the block for a meeting. As the meeting was about to start, David looked across the room at the young lady and said, “Who’s fault was it that brought about this situation with the diabetes?”

“My Mother, she dropped me when I was small and I fell down some steps – that brought on these symptoms.” Her tone of voice was ugly and angry! It spoke for itself – she saw it, repented, David prayed for her, and was healed again – this time for keeps.

David used his discernment, which is an ability of the Spirit in us – for all of us. He will tell us the truth – not “a” truth – the woman at the well told “a” truth (she said she had no husband)- but not THE truth ( she had had five husbands).

Some people get confused with the exhortations to discern spiritually – and the gift of discerning of spirits as in 1 Corinthians 12:10. The discerning of Spirits operates when there are evil spirits attempting to represent God, as in False prophecy ( divination). You do not need the gift of discerning of Spirits to know that a Satanist is not speaking by the Holy Spirit!

We are all meant to grow up in Christ and learn to discern between the soul and the Spirit –
Hebrews 5:14 – We have to learn to be in agreement with the Holy Spirit. If someone is speaking, or singing, or acting under religious or soulish mode – it does not mean that you have to be unkind or judgmental – you have to stay in the anointing yourself and discern what is happening – and then discern what God is saying to you. He may tell you to do something about it- but then on the other hand, He may tell you to leave it alone. If you try to correct something or someone when the love of God is not in your heart – your “discernment” will become a judgment – which is a big “No no,” according to Jesus words in Matthew 7:1.
Kathie Walters