The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wonderful! We can have access to the most wonderful supernatural abilities such as: words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues and interpretation of tongues as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12: 8 -10.
Today I want to take a look at discernment and in particular how this gift has affected me in the area of depression. It will make sense in the end when it all ties together, so please read to the end.
Discernment comes from the Greek word diakrisis meaning judicial estimation or disputation and debate or argument. Judicial estimation is 'expressing careful judgment' or 'making fine distinctions'. So the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to make a careful judgement between spirits.
Diakrisis is only used three times in the Bible.
"Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things."
- Romans 14:1
As mentioned above in the list of the gifts of the Spirit"...to another discerning of spirits"
- 1 Corinthians 12: 10
"But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
- Hebrews 5:14
Now the Hebrews verse shows that there is a level of maturity that comes with discernment as well as exercise. I believe that all the gifts of the Spirit can be practiced and exercised so that they can grow stronger - it's not that the Spirit gets stronger as he is all powerful but it's that we get more experienced in using the gifts. This applies to all the gifts of course but we are focusing in discernment of Spirits today.
Discernment is a gift I believe I have. It didn't really occur to me until I noticed a pattern. After spending time with people I would feel certain feelings. One example was when someone came over to visit Eric and I and after he left I felt a great sense of hopelessness and despair. I really felt awful and didn't understand why. On another occasion someone came to visit and after they left I felt suicidal. Not that I was going to do anything silly but had the strong urge that life was not worth living. On both occasions it was completely random and I had not felt that way before the visitors. On other occasions I have felt headaches and nausea during a visit and after the visit felt fine
I was concerned about how I was all over the place and seemed to experience extreme emotions at times so I spoke to my husband. Eric very wisely pointed out that I may have the gift of discernment and that I wasn't really feeling those things but was picking up on how the visitors were feeling. And in the case of the nausea and headaches I will having a reaction to a demon. He suggested that I test it next time and pray for the person afterwards until the feeling went away.
As mentioned in my previous post that many times we may feel a certain emotion but have the freedom to choose what to do with our feelings. We are not slaves to our feelings, we can choose what to do with them and how to respond. There was a time when I was spending time with several people suffering depression on different occasions. It's no secret that I have had my fair share of depression so I am often drawn to women with similar struggles and have a real compassion for them.
Depression can be contagious! What I mean by that is that because I sometime feel how people feel I can feel when someone is depressed. Sadly this was a feeling all too familiar to me and so I found myself getting more and more depressed. The more I felt depressed the more I believed I was struggling with depression again. Looking back, what happened was that I started to discern depression but instead of using it to pray and fight for the people I was seeing I absorbed it and almost claimed it as my own. It sounds ridiculous I know but that is exactly what happened. I wasn't depressed I merely discerned depression but because I was feeling such real, raw feelings I became depressed!
I now know the difference and have also learned to talk to Eric when I feel a certain way so that I can figure out if I am absorbing someone else's spirit. This applies to any spirit not only depression, I am using depression as an example as this is the one that has the greatest affect on me.
Do you have the gift of discernment perhaps? Do you often pick up on how people are feeling? Discernment can operate in many ways. You can sense something or see something and at times, like me you can feel what people are feeling.
May I remind you of the armour of God. We need to remember that we are in a spiritual battle constantly until the day Jesus returns and takes us home. He has given us the gifts of the Spirit but we need to be wise, on guard and in full armour or we could end up hurt in battle.