Friday, June 2, 2017

Discernment in the Spiritual Realm

Seeing into the spiritual realm is a gift from the Lord that His people can pursue and grow in. However, once you see into this realm, it's important to realize that not everything here is to be embraced. Just because something is spiritual, or supernatural, doesn't mean it should be accepted. It depends on the spirit it originates from. Ask yourself, is this from the Spirit of God, or another spirit?

The two trees in the Garden of Eden were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Notice it was good and evil. Even though this second tree had a certain amount of knowledge of good, it was still contrary to the will of God for them to eat of that tree. He wanted them to partake of the tree of life instead. Something, or someone in the spiritual realm, may appear to be O.K. or even good, but is it God? All that glitters is not gold, and even Satan himself appears as an angel of light. There are counterfeits in the spirit that try and present themselves as "good" so you will accept them, giving power to them in the earth.

Not only is it important to discern where this thing you're seeing originates from, but the desire and pursuit of your heart is important as well. Is it your desire to encounter God and to hear from His heart, His Spirit; or are you so fascinated by the fact that you have an encounter with the spiritual realm that you don't really care, or think about, whether this thing is from God or not? Don't be so "wowed" by the spiritual realm that you accept something that is not from the Spirit of God. There is both good and evil there. This is the difference between the "second" and "third" heaven. The second heaven is used to refer to that realm where the devil and his cohorts hang out, and the third heaven is the heavenly realm where God is. Ask the Lord to give you discernment into the difference so you will not be impressed by the supernatural nature of things, and as a result deceived into selling out to something that is not from the Spirit of God.

We see a more common example of this when someone first begins to develop in spiritual discernment. They become aware of a spiritual influence in a situation, but stop short of responding according to the Holy Spirit themselves. For example, let's say you see a person who seems to be sincere in encouraging someone, but it becomes obvious to you that he is more interested in drawing attention to himself. You see this, and recognize the ungodly influence over him, but become critical of him in your heart, maybe even verbalizing that criticism to him, or someone else, rather than asking the Lord what you should do about it. If your discerning "revelation" about that person prompts you to respond in a way that is contrary to the Spirit of God, then something is off--either the origin of your discernment, or the attitude of your heart, or both.

To check out your heart-motivations, ask the questions:
  • Is my love and passion for the Lord at such a point where I will reject what is not from Him, even if it appears impressive?
  • Is my desire to be like the Lord, and to flow with Him by His Spirit only?
  • Is my desire to honor the Lord, worship and glorify Him, rather than draw attention to myself and my gift?
  • Is my desire to build His kingdom, not a ministry for myself?
  • Does what I am seeing align with His nature, which is His Spirit?
  • Does what I am seeing align with His Word?
We should all pursue spiritual gifts, and seek to grow in what the Lord has called us to, but we must stay sincere in our hearts so we stay in sync with His Holy Spirit. This is for God's glory, and our protection, so we are not led astray by seductive and flattering spirits.

Genesis 2:9, 2 Corinthians 11:14, 2 Corinthians 12:2, Ephesians 6:12, 1 Timothy 4:1