Purpose of Discerning of Spirits

So what exactly is the “discerning of spirits?”

It is one of the Gifts of the Spirit.  The King James Version translates it as “discerning of spirits.”  The English Standard Version translates it as “distinguish between spirits.”

I think that both are true.

Purpose of Discerning of Spirits

As with all of the spiritual gifts, the purpose is to build up the body of Christ.  Each person is given a gift that is meant to work in coordination of another.  Because of that, Paul instructs the church:

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People Like Us

Most of the time when I’m in the car I’m either listening to my theme CD or KSBJ, but the other day I had the radio on a regular station and “People Like Us” by Kelly Clarkson came on.  Even though I know it is a completely secular song, it struck me how closely the words reflected the battle that the Christian walk is.

Just as C.S. Lewis pointed out in his essay “Myth Became Fact” (God in the Dock) that we have a certain yearnings built into our DNA that were expressed in myth and fulfilled in Christ, many songs . . . the good ones anyway . . . are a cry out for the gifts God has promised us:  love, peace, and joy.

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What is Discerning of Spirits?

You often hear people say:

“They give me the willies”

“You look depressed.”

“It was a very tense situation.”

“I felt someone looking at me.”

When someone talks about picking up on the emotion of a person or the spirit/atmosphere in a situation, we understand what they mean. Ninety-three percent of communication is communication by something other than words.

Discerning of Spirits Meaning

But many times the concept of “discerning of spirits” is foreign, or a little uncomfortable for people.

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Build Your Kingdom Here

This album has been my “wake up” music lately.  KSBJ  plays “Build Your Kingdom Here” on the radio fairly often and I ended up buying the whole album.

It repeats the conviction that the change, and the Kingdom of God, is supposed to start with each one us.

Bringing the Kingdom

A little over a year ago, a friend, Rozalie ,  called me and said “we” were doing a march in memory of the Holocaust in Kingwood.

At first, I didn’t realize that “we” included me.  I used to organize a community event  which was pretty big and people who were thinking about starting one would call me asking for advice.

That is what I what I thought she was doing . . . just asking for advice.

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Renting Lacy Summary Score 93%

Renting Lacy Summary

One part of the Holocaust March of Remembrance memorial service, at least here in Houston, is the testimony of Nazi descendants telling the story of what their parents or grandparents did, expressing their repentance, and seeking forgiveness from Holocaust survivors and their descendants.  It is a very powerful moment. It is also one that gets some people a little agitated.  The concept of identificational repentance really bothers some Christians who think that we’re saved by grace that we don’t have to deal with any other baggage. Not only is the testimony of the Germans one of forgiveness, but there story is also one of how exposing and repenting of those actions not only set them free personally, but it has transformed their city.  (Here is an article on the power of identificational repentance.)

Unclean Hands

So what does this have to do with this book? This past year, we had seven marches in two days in Houston.  Six on Saturday in communities around the city in the formation of the Star of David and one in Central Houston on Sunday.  Eleven Nazi descendants flew in on Friday to speak at the different locations.  On Saturday night, the planning team had dinner with the Germans. We know their story.  They are warring for change in their community by breaking the silence, exposing what really happened, and repenting. One of them asked Mitch, “So what does your city have to repent of?” He replied, “Well, we have the largest abortion mill in the nation, we are a major hub for human and sex trafficking . . . ” and went on with a list of other things.

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It Starts With Me

I go through kicks where I’ll listen to certain songs over and over, and “It Starts With Me” by Tim Timmons is one of them.

Part of what I love about it is that it is really what the Christian life is about. It’s so easy to read directives in the Bible and think about how other people need to change. But really, God is talking to us.

One of my favorite passages is Psalm 51:10-13:

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Thankful for Normal

What I am really thankful for this week is normalcy.

Someone contacted me that I hadn’t spoken to in years. My memory of them and the situation surrounding them is not positive. But I had worked through forgiving them for their actions. I didn’t feel that my response had anything in it that would be throwing the situation up in their face.

However unbeknownst to me, during the intervening years, this person has created this alternate version of reality in their head about what happened and their role in it. Something I said in my response was not in line with their story, and it ticked them off. I guess that’s what it was. I also told them that I had forgiven them, because they had said a couple of times, “I know you can never forgive me.”

I thought they’d want to know that I had.

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