Christians are Commanded to Discern both the Times and the Spirits!

Commentary By:  Gordon King

The world looks at Christians who discern the times and relate them to bible prophecy as crazy, as over the top, as conspiracy theorists.  They think that we haven’t a clue as to what is really going on in this world, when in reality it is them who are lost and confused!

As believers in Jesus Christ it is our God given duty, a command by God Himself for us to be able to discern the signs of the times and the spirits!

Luke 12:56

Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?

God gave us signs to watch for which indicate both the closeness of the rapture of the church and His second coming, for the end of the age, the last days, the end times!  If He didn’t care if we knew it or not then He wouldn’t have told us in the first place.  But He commands us to watch and be ready at all times!

Matthew 24:42-44

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

As Christians we are also told and commanded to discern the spirits.

1 John 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone our into the world.”

Not all believers can discern the spirits, it is a gift from God, not all have been given this gift, however, if a believer practices to discern the spirits then he or she can become adept at it, it takes practice, it takes exercise.  

Hebrews 5:14

“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.”

All believers in Jesus Christ have the ability to test the spirits, to discern both good and evil.  However, not all believers can do it, and not all to the same degree!

Why is it that some Christians cannot discern the signs of the times or spirits?  There are many reasons for this, here are just a few that I see:

  • Lack of belief – They just don’t want to or cannot for some reason believe that we can or should.  Not all Christians believe all of the bible or take it all as the whole truth, they don’t take it literally when it is meant to be, and this is a shame my friends.
  • Ignorance / Lack of Faith – They are ignorant of the fact that we can or should; they don’t have the knowledge; they are still babes in Christ eating only milk and unable to digest solid food.  Many Christians cannot digest much of what I write, much of what I discern to be the truth in the world today because they are still babes in Christ, they have not grown in their faith.  Some of these believers just don’t have enough faith in God and His word.
  • Intentional Ignorance – There are many believers that intentionally refuse to study all of the bible.  For instance, many will not read from the book of Revelation, and most of these people will not even try to study bible prophecy let alone relate it to what is happening the world today.
  • Apostasy – Its very sad to say but I believe that there are many Christians who have fallen away from the truth of God’s word.  Many have become anti-Semitic, and others have incorporated world views with scripture, making up their own religion and serving other gods whether they know it or not, such as believing that there is more than one way to heaven other than through Jesus Christ, or that we all believe in the same God!
  • Laziness – Christians who are just too lazy to exercise.  They don’t put the time into exercising the gift of discernment, it takes exercise and practice to become proficient at it.
  • Walking in the flesh –  There are more than likely more Christians than I would like to imagine that are not walking in the spirit but in the flesh!  I don’t know about you, but if I try to talk with other Christians that I know about bible prophecy and the signs of the times they just don’t really know what to say, the conversation doesn’t get very far.  In fact, most of them don’t really even seem interested.  On the other hand, Christians that are walking in the spirit know exactly what I am saying and show a genuine interest in the subject.  You can actually feel the difference, you can discern who is close to the Lord and who is not.

So we can discern the times by the signs that Jesus and the apostles gave us, this seems much easier than discerning the spirits, its much more tangible, but how are we supposed to discern the spirits if we haven’t been given the gift?

First of all I am no expert on the gifts from God, second, I truly believe that the gifts from God as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12 are just as relevant today as they were when it was written.  God gave us gifts and I don’t believe for one minute that He ever took them from us!  However, there are many Christians who believe that the gifts are not relevant today, including speaking in tongues, but I beg to differ my friends.  If He did take them from us then why are we told to discern the spirits if it is in fact one of the gifts?  It makes no sense whatsoever.

Like I said, I don’t know everything nor do I try to, but I can tell you how I see it.  There is a gift from God called “discerning of spirits”.  I believe that if a Christian has this gift then he or she is already proficient in using it, but it must be used just as anything else or you become rusty at it.  By the same token, I believe that all Christians are able to discern the spirits with practice, and that the more we practice the better we get at it.

So how then do we discern the spirits if we have not been given the gift?

We must first be in God’s word, we must read it, we must study it, and we must believe it!  We must take His word literally and not allegorically unless it is meant to be.  We must build our relationship with the Lord daily.  We must not shy away from bible prophecy, but read it, study it, and meditate upon it just as with the rest of God’s word.  We must repent of our sins daily.  We must thank God for all that He does for us, in every situation each and everyday.  We must be walking in the spirit and not the flesh.  Once we do these things then we will begin to discern the spirits, the more we do it the better we get at it, it becomes natural to us, like muscle memory, and just for the record it is still a gift from God!

This is how I see it my friends, this is what I know believe it or not!  The truth is that I believe it is not actually us who discerns the spirits but the Holy Spirit within us!  We must not grieve the Holy Spirit but follow His lead, this is how we discern the spirits!

1 John 4:2-3

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Discerning the spirits is not only testing the spirits but being able to discern both good and evil, and that my friends comes from practice!

Hebrews 5:14

“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.”

It may not make much sense to some of you, it may even sound like a contradiction that the Holy Spirit discerns for us but that we also must practice or exercise the gift.  But I believe that this is how it is, the closer we are to God the better we get at true discernment.  The stronger our faith in God the better we get at discerning the spirits and of discerning both good and evil.  We all have some gifts from God, some of us are good at music or art, while others are good at mathematics, it just seems natural to us.  On the other hand we can all do these things and the more we practice the better we become whether or not we have been given that particular gift.  It’s God that works through us to enable us to do these things, we couldn’t do any of them without Him, and it’s the same with the discernment of spirits and of good and evil, it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit of God!

1 Corinthians 12:11

“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

It’s the Spirit of God that works these things through us and in us, it’s not of ourselves but of God, as long as we do not hinder the workings of the Spirit. 

Romans 8:28

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

God bless my friends!  Maranatha!

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