Discerning the Spirits

Discerning the spirits

Written by: Charisse Graves

Vanity FairWe live in an era marked by an aggressive pursuit of “spirituality”. All one has to do is drive by the local market and you will find a Yoga center conveniently located beside a health and wellness holistic foods distributor. Equally plentiful are the Spas that supply Reiki massage therapies and any New Age practice you can imagine. People pay top dollar to find out their futures, daily reading horoscopes, Dr. Oz and Oprah. Due to the deluge of spiritual stimulation that we are being assaulted with it is no wonder many are unwittingly succumbing to deceiving spirits.

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…” 1 Timothy 4:1

How are Christians to guard themselves against the onslaught of demonic influences entering the church? It always begins with God’s precious Word.

“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to rest in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:13-17

 The Bibles graciously supplies us with wisdom to guide our feet.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

We know that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.[1] So, the first question we should ask ourselves is:

Number 1

1. Does ____ bring glory to God? Is it reverent and done in fear of the Lord?

Our God is NOT a God of confusion.

 “for God is not a God of confusion but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33

Number 2

2. Is ____ done in order and in self-control?

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22&23

“For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” Titus 1:7-9

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moralexcellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7

Number 3

3. Does ___ reflect a sober mind waiting on Christ’s imminent return?

“So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8

“But the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires ,and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.  But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:3-5

“teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age.” Titus 2:12

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13

“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” 1 Peter 4:7

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

 Number 44. Have you prayed to God and asked for wisdom and discernment about ___?

“For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding;if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,  guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones.Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course.For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;  Discretion will guard you ,Understanding will watch over you,To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things;” Proverbs 2:3-11

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5&6

Beloved, Christ warned us to be:

“shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16

Heed His caution and test the spirits to see if it is truly from the Lord.

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every             circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

[1] Jon J. Cardwell, A Puritan Family Devotional, Vayahiy Press & CreateSpace, 2011; pg.6

NOTE: I have been wanting to write something with regard to discernment for a few weeks now but have not had the time. In God’s typical bounty, He has provided this article from my friend, Charisse Graves.


About Jon J. Cardwell

"The Spirited Speaker" - Pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama. Nationally recognized speaker and publisher. Author of several books, including the bestseller, Christ and Him Crucified.


  1. Pingback: Discerning the Spirits | Preaching Christ Crucified

  2. Dear Pastor Cardwell,

    Hope you and your family had a blessed Easter!

    Thank you for posting (and artistically enhancing:) my article. I was concerned when I heard on the radio that Jesus Culture would be in Birmingham during the month of April. I pray that people considering seeing this controversial group at the very least put on their spiritual armor in Christ.
    Blessings, charisse

    • Thank you for the article, dear sister. It was viewed and read by many people on FaceBook, as well as a few other venues. I pray that it ministers to many souls unto renewed minds and joyful hearts.

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