The ability to perceive spiritual truth is in every born again child of God, who is being properly trained in handling the Word of Truth. Paul told Timothy:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

The ability of any believer to perceive spiritual truth, is emboldened by that believer’s ability to correctly handle the Word of God. Spiritual boldness comes from a heart, that is full of faith towards God and is not ashamed of God’s Word. 

Our ability to make use of the Word of God, in discerning spiritual truth is empowered by the faith, that comes from God’s Word into our hearts. Boldness in this way helps us, not only to apply what is perceived in the spirit. But spiritual boldness also helps us, in annexing spiritual discernment into what is being perceived. We are able to properly handle the power of God, when we are bold and not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16).

A believer in Christ Jesus can perceive spiritual truth, when that believer is in the spirit. The spirit of a believer who has trained himself in God’s Word can do this, without having necessarily to rely on the Holy Spirit. It is not everything that the Holy Spirit will reveal to us at once. There are many things that we do learn about and do know about, by training our born again spirit man in the Word of God. As we grow by correctly handling the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will reveal things to our hearts for us to perceive. Such spiritual truth flows from our redeemed spirit man. 

Paul said again:

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 2:13-14 NIV

In other words when we are rooted and grounded in God’s Word, the gift of spiritual discernments from the Holy Spirit, flows through our lives as we minister the gospel of Jesus under the anointing from God. For us to be able to flow with the Spirit of God, Paul mentioned clearly here that, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.

But for us to be grounded in the Word of God, we’ll have to stay steadfast and focused on the Word of God at all times. We should never allow the words of the world, to take us away from staying on the Word of God. If we do allow the words of the world to affect us, it will make us unfruitful in perceiving spiritual truths.

It is just as the Prophet Jeremiah once said:

“This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.”

Jeremiah 17:5-6 NIV

In other words a man who pays no attention, or who does not dwell on God’s Word is not only cursed. That man does not have the ability to perceive prosperity, even when it is so close to him. He is blessed, but yet living like a cursed man; because his spiritual perception is weak on the will of God for him to prosper. And because his spiritual perception is weak, he cannot discern the prosperity from God, even though it has been handed to him. 

Jesus also said:

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

John 15:4 NIV

When we are staying on the Word of God, then we are practicing the word of God. We are not only fruitful with it, but we are being made perfect as we practice what it says. Our spiritual eyes of perception becomes stronger and stronger, just as the Holy Spirit begins to help us with the gifts of the discernment of spirits as we pray.  


Now, just because a believer is able to perceive spiritual truth, does not necessarily means that he or she can discern the spirit behind it. The ability in a believer to discern a spirit comes as a gift of the Holy Spirit, when that believer is in the spirit.

In the same way, just because one can perceive an evil spirit in ministering deliverance, does not necessarily means that the evil spirit can be discerned by just perceiving it. 

As powerful as that perception may be, we will not be effective in ministering deliverance to people, without the manifestation of the gift of the discernment of spirits by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows all things, and it is His job to bring the truth about everything to us. Every evil spirit that is perceived, needs a proper and correct discernment; which is a function of one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In Matthew 17:14-21; we can see an example of this in the ministry of Jesus. The disciples of Jesus could perceive an evil spirit tormenting a little boy, that they tried unsuccessfully in ministering deliverance to. Even though they could perceive the evil spirit, they still needed their faith to be put to work, in discerning what they were perceiving and confronting. When Jesus showed up on the scene, we could see Him questioning the parents of the boy, in order to be able to properly discern the evil spirit itself. The disciples of Christ did not use their faith in seeking more by discernment, in getting to the root of the problem with the boy. This today is a function of the gift of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit. There are many who often do try to minister deliverance to people, without a proper discernment of the evil spirit that they are perceiving. 

The gift of the discernment of spirits, opens us up into the spiritual realm of evil spirits. The gift enables us to be able to exercise spiritual authority, over those spirits in that realm as they are being discerned. The Holy Spirit is always right. He knows all things, and His job is to help us by exposing the enemy to us in spiritual warfare. 

Discernment of spirits is never the same as the perception of spirits. Discernment of spirits is a gift of the Holy Spirit; while perception of spirits is not a gift. Perception of spirits is something that manifests in us, as we grow up into spiritual maturity. It is something that comes through the Christian life experience. And God wants to use all of our Christian experiences in this life. He wants to be glorified through all of them. 

Evil spirits or demons cannot be seen with our physical eyes. We need our spiritual eyes of understanding into their operations, to be able to perceive them around us. The Holy Spirit is the One who opens our spiritual eyes to see them, and to be effective in discerning their activities. If we are unable to discern them properly, we will be ineffective in dealing with them as we bind them. This is very important because the demons or evil spirits are very deceptive in their operations. They do have the ability to conceal their identity; but if we command them they will always have to reveal themselves. They will do this because we carry the name of Jesus inside us. The name of Jesus is the authority, that a believer in Christ carries and makes the demons or evil spirits to obey us. That is why our boldness is very important against them in exercising spiritual authority over them. 

When we walk in the Spirit of the gift of discernment with caution, we cannot be ignorant of the devices of the Devil against us in spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 2:11).

The gift of the discernment of spirits is therefore important, for an intercessor or spiritual warrior to be effective in prayer and intercession. The Devil has to be exposed, so that the body of Christ may walk in constant victory.  


Spiritual Perception is therefore different from spiritual discernment. Spiritual perception stems from our ability to be led from the inside of our hearts, to evaluate things and situations which will apparently lead us into taking decisions on the outside. Every one does have the ability to be able to perceive certain things. But for us as the children of God, our perception of things and situations is different from that of the world. 

Our spirit man is primarily being led by the inner witness within us, to hear the voice of God sometimes, in both discernment and spiritual perception (Romans 8:16). But the gift of the discernment of spirits, enables us to see through what our enemy is doing against us; so that we may be able to use the gift of the word of wisdom and the gift of faith in spiritual warfare against him. Spiritual perception cannot see through to the root of situations, as the gift of the discernment of spirits does. 

Jesus said of the Holy Spirit:

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

John 16:13 NIV

The Holy Spirit brings the gift of discernment to us in guiding us to all the truth. He will always tell us what he knows from God, and what He sees and hears the Devil planning against us. We always have inside information about everything going on in the spirit realm, in the function of this gift together with the gifts of faith, word of wisdom and the word of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8-11). 


The gift of the discernment of spirits is all about seeing into the future. It exposes the plans of the enemy for the future to us. But as we exercise spiritual authority over him, we are also able to make a declaration of the plan of God for the future. We cannot exercise spiritual authority over the enemy effectively, without a declaration of the plan of God to replace the plan of the enemy in the realm of the spirit. This is why the gift of prophecy is very important. This gift helps us to enforce the kingdom of God, to replace the plan of the kingdom of the Devil. 

Jesus warned us about the activities of the enemy in this when He said:

““When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.””

Luke 11:24-26 NLT

The gift of the spirit of prophecy helps us in enforcing God’s kingdom, to keep the enemy away from where we had casted him away from. The prophetic is the declaration of the future, in as much as the gift of discernment of spirits reveals the spiritual truth to us.  


It is our ability to be able to discern a spirit, that exposes to us what motivates human beings to do what they do. The spirit of rebellion for example, will motivate a person against every form of godliness. But in casting out that spirit, as it is discerned, the gift of the spirit of prophecy declares the spirit of obedience towards God into that life. On the other hand, the believer who loves to witness about Christ to people, is being motivated by the Spirit of evangelism or soul winning. When we are able to discern a spirit in the life of a person, we will know what motivates them to behave in certain ways, and what motivates them to do what they are doing. It is the spirit that is discerned in people, which motivates people to do what they do. That is why the gift of the discernment of spirits, is important in helping us to minister effectively to people. 

God never sees as we see. God is a Spirit, and He relates with us only in that realm of the spirit. When He looks at us, He looks at the spirit which motivates us to do what we do. 

Apostle Paul once wrote to the Colossians:

For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.”

Colossians 2:5 NET

Paul was letting the Colossians know here that, he knew none of them in the flesh, but by the spirit within the Church. He knew by discernment the spirit that motivates each one of them to do what they do in the kingdom. He refused to remember or identify them in the flesh, because he knew the flesh to be deceptive and not trust worthy in discernment. 

And in dealing with us also, God looks inside of us to see the spirit, which motivates us to do what we do in His kingdom also. He can turn that spirit around in us, to fulfill His purpose on earth for us. 

This is one reason why the gift of the discernment of spirits, prophecy and other gifts of the Holy Spirit, can never function in a carnal or worldly Church. They are not meant for a Church that is full of all filthiness and ungodliness. The gifts of the Holy Spirit cannot function in churches like that. 

The Devil will always keep people in darkness, as long as he wants. But God is the God of light (1 John 1:5-7). The Devil is the master of all deceptions in the life of a sinner. He does this through them, so as to keep them in the bondage of sin. 

But the gift of the discernment of spirits helps us in discerning what is in the heart of people. This is not about the Devil at all, but about what makes people to do what they do. We already know that the Devil is full of every forms of evil. There can never be any good in him. 

This gift is also not about a clash of human personalities, as the social scientists will want us to believe. In most cases all that the psychologists and counselors, often see in us is our personalities. They see the clashes of personalities in people, that are contrary to who they were created to be. This is the major difference between what they do, and what a believer does in ministering deliverance to people.

 But as believers in Christ, we can see  more than what the social scientists can see. We see deeper into the hearts of men, in discerning the spirit which motivates them, in taking the actions that they often take in life. Psychologists (as an example) do not ever believe that human beings are spirit beings. This is at the root of the problem with the social sciences. It never goes beyond the natural, to the root of human problems which are often spiritual. 

Thanks be to God for the Holy Spirit. We have been called by God to bind the evil spirits, and cast them out of peoples’ lives. It is something that every believer has been called by Christ to do always in proclaiming the good news.

The scriptures says according to Jesus:

“…, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation…

…And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;”

Mark 16:15, 17 NIV

It is very important for us to note that the gift of the discernment of spirits, is what separates the soul and spirit in man (Hebrews 4:12). We are able to separate a soulish believer from the born again spirit in a believer, with the help of this spiritual gift and the Word of God. 

Our ability to discern spirits and not only perceive them, helps us in separating a man’s real self from the spirit, that may be motivating him to do certain things. 

Jesus said of Nathanael:

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Here is an Israelite indeed [a true descendant of Jacob], in whom there is no guile nor deceit nor duplicity!” Nathanael said to Jesus, “How do You know [these things about] me?” Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, when you were still under the fig tree, I saw you.””

JOHN 1:47-48 AMP

Jesus was able to discern the spirit motivating Nathanael to live the lifestyle that he lived. Nathanael was surprised that Jesus could perceive and discern the spirit that motivates him, even before they met for the first time. 

Discernment of spirits functioned in the life and ministry of Jesus, in helping Him to pick the disciples who were later designated as Apostles. Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, when He called him. He discerned the spirit in Judas, that was perfect in fulfilling the purpose of God for Jesus.

We can see the same in Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. The scriptures says:

“At this, Jesus said, “Go, call your husband and come back.” The woman answered, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I do not have a husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the man you are now living with is not your husband. You have said this truthfully.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I see that You are a prophet.”

JOHN 4:16-19 AMP

The spirit that motivated this woman in marrying five times, were perceived and rightly discerned by Jesus. The deceptions in her were exposed by Jesus to the woman; and immediately the woman recognized not the gift of discernment in Jesus. But she referred to Jesus as a prophet, because in discerning the spirit which motivated this woman, Jesus was also prophesying into her life. The woman knew it was the complete truth about her life, and she was immediately able to recognize the plan of God for her life, as she went about telling people about Jesus.

The gift of the discernment of spirits works with the gift of prophecy, in bringing inspiration to the body of Christ. The Church is inspired and built up in this way into maturity.

The gift also serves as a vehicle of spiritual protection for the believers within a congregation. Peter said of the Spirit of holiness which motivates the Church:

“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A CONSECRATED NATION, A [special] PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”


But in identifying the spirit of holiness in the Church; Peter was also prophesying to the Church, about the things which the motivating spirit of holiness, can accomplish on earth through the Church’s ability to walk in that same spirit of holiness – to “proclaim the excellences [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”.  

The gift of the discernment of spirits gives us also, the ability to see the spirit motivating a city, a nation state or any community on earth. It helps us to be more effective in prayer and intercession for them. And as we pray for the nations, we can speak the prophetic to the nations as well. The prophetic works in this way to change the destiny of nations, for the things that God designed them to be. 

Paul told Timothy:

“First of all, then, I urge that petitions (specific requests), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in [positions of] high authority, so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This [kind of praying] is good and acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who wishes all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge and recognition of the [divine] truth.”


The Holy Spirit guides us to pray in this way to change lives, as we perceive and discern the spirit over any nation; we will be more effective in praying for that nation.

Paul told the Philippians:

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

Philippians 1:9-11 NIV

As we pray in the spirit for the nations and our communities, the increase in love, knowledge and insight of God impacts our ability, to be able to perceive and discern the spirit that controls each community and each nation. God leads us in this way to be triumphant through prayer and intercession for them. 


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