Thursday, August 18, 2016

Keys to Discerning Spirits

You Will Recognize the Presence of Spirits by Discerning their Fruits

Where would you most expect to encounter the devil? If someone were to ask you to pinpoint the most likely location for a spiritual warfare confrontation with the forces of Hell, where would it be? Of all the dark and seedy dives most likely coming to your mind just now, does a Christian church or fellowship group even make the list?  Yet the enemy of souls does come after the spiritual “flock” of believers from within. This is why the apostle Peter warned us to be sober and vigilant, because our adversary the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).

Like ill-prepared hens when a fox gets inside the hen-house, many times we are blind-sided both by the ferocity of the devil’s attack and by the unexpectedness of it being launched from within “God’s House.” But the same devil, who appeared to Eve in perfect Eden, comes against Christians in even the most sanctified of venues.

I didn’t realize this several years ago. I had bought into the commonly held myth that demons stayed in night clubs, bars, and other obvious “hot beds” of sinfulness. This is a myth which leaves Christians ill-prepared for the day Hell walks through the door.

•  Christian churches and homes are the places where we are most likely to be attacked by the enemy. This is because God’s people are the greatest threats to the forces of darkness. There is no physical place where the Christian is impervious to the devouring attempts of the enemy. This is why Scripture warns us to always be alert and wary (1 Peter 5:8-9).

•  People were designed by God to be spiritual temples. A temple is the “house” which a spirit inhabits. God intends for us to be spiritually inhabited by the Holy Spirit, of course. But, if we do not choose for the Spirit of God to reign in our soul-temples, demonic spirits will inhabit the soul in varying degrees. Never is a human soul-temple empty. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:16)

•  We may discern the spirits at work in a person’s life or in a place by their fruits, not by the claims of the person or place in which we encounter them (Matthew 7:20).

•  When the Holy Spirit is at work in a person’s life, the Fruits of the Holy Spirit will be evident in the attitudes and behaviors of the individual. The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal. 5:22-23).

•  Demonic spirits may even temporarily reign in the soul-temple of a Christian. Consider the example of the apostle Peter. Peter was a good guy—and was obviously a true follower of Christ­—yet there was a moment when he must have let “self” take over. We know this because Jesus spoke directly to the evil spirit, which was speaking out of Peter’s mouth (Matthew 16:21-23). This is a strong warning to us all. We need to be constantly submitted to God, with His Spirit in control of our lives.

(Escaping from the Dragon's Jaws, by Shauna Manfredine pp 8, 11)