“What if the discerning of spirits was more about discerning your spirit, rather than discerning someone else’s?” – Danny Silk (Bethel Church, Redding, CA)

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brothers eye but do not notice or consider the beam (of timber) that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, allow me to take out the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself do not see the beam that is in your own eye?” – Jesus the Christ (Luke 6:41-42 AMP)

Being in the church for over 20 years now, I have never heard anyone even question what the discerning of spirits meant, so when I was posed with this question by Danny Silk, it caused me to stop and think about it. After pondering the idea, I agree with what Danny is proposing that we need to discern our own spirit, before we can even begin to think we have the ability to discern the spirit in someone else.

People have claimed to discern spirits in other people for years and even to this day they are doing it to people in their congregations, family and even friendships. Some believe they are so good at this discerning of spirits in others that they keep you out of ministry positions, stop you from speaking truth into their lives and even push others away so they are contaminated by the spirit you carry. Unfortunately, these same people are not able to discern the spirit they are of.

Another way of saying the discerning of your own spirit is being self-aware. When we are self-aware, we slow down and think about our motive behind what we say and said; we evaluate how others perceive us; we look at things through the eyes of others, knowing that measuring ourselves by ourselves is not wise. Before we confront someone on their actions, we ask ourselves why does what they said or did bother me? We search our hearts and seek to discover if what I want to say is for their building up or their tearing down? Discerning our own spirit, will help us to pay more attention to the plank in our own eye, so that when we are given the opportunity to speak to the speck in our brother or sister’s eye, we do it out of love, grace and truth.

Discerning our own spirit puts the responsibility back on us to manage our own life well, so we can lead from love; we can pray from faith; we can worship from authenticity; we can preach from purity; and we can give from abundance. Whether we realize it or not, there is a lot of work to be done in our own lives and if we would be courageous enough to discern our own spirit, we would be less critical, less judgmental, less offended, and more loving, more truthful, more accepting of correction and more alive.

Being presented with a different view on discerning of spirits, has opened my eyes, slowed down my speech and taught me to keep my love on, even when others are not wanting or willing to do the same. Discerning my own spirit reminds me, that I cannot control anyone but myself.

What do you think about this view of the discerning of spirits?

What have you understood discerning of spirits to be?

Can you see the freedom in this definition?

What would you add to this conversation?

I hope you wrestle with this thought as I have and that it challenges you to consider a new view on the discerning of spirits.