The No. 1 question I receive in my ministry is how to increase in discernment and see into the spiritual realm. When people ask this question, I often ask them why they want to see in the spiritual realm and what they will do with the information they receive through discernment. Seeing into the spiritual atmosphere is a blessing; however, seeing in the spiritual realm can also be one of the greatest challenges you will encounter.
It comes down to what you are going to do with the information you receive. I've seen into the spiritual realm for years. The challenge is that when you see a demon on someone's back in a store, you can't go up to the person and say, "Excuse me. I see a demon on you. Can I kick it off you quickly?"
I don't regret at all being able to see into the spiritual realm. It has set many captives free and has been a blessing to tell people when I see angels around them. However, it can also be a distraction and make something you once enjoyed challenging to experience. It can make you extra cautious and prayerful about where you go and when. So yes, it is an honor to be in warfare on behalf of the King, but you need to count the cost going in.
Discernment comes in two forms: general discernment, which anyone can function in, and the gift of discernment.
Natural discernment can come from our knowledge, our wisdom and the indicators we note of what will happen next. We may be able to predict a person's actions or motives, such as when moms know their children so well that they can predict what they are about to do. By becoming familiar with people, we can anticipate their next move or what they may or may not say or do. General discernment can come from what we know about a situation, the information we have gained or a perception of what is going to happen. Common sense can also be a factor in discernment. Not all discernment is from the Spirit of the Lord; some of it is logical.
The Gift of Discernment
Discerning of spirits is a gift according to 1 Corinthians 12. It is the ability to discern whether something is being initiated by the Holy Spirit, evil spirits or the human spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives gifts, but it is possible for us to increase in and stir up the gifts (2 Tim. 1:6). As we utilize a gift, we can grow in it. With the gift of discerning of spirits, you have the ability to discern true and false intentions in a person, sense demonic activity or evil spirits in a person and receive direction from the Holy Spirit for how to proceed in a ministry meeting or natural situation. Additionally you may also have the ability to see both angels and demons in the spiritual realm.
It's encouraging to realize that we can increase our discernment and receive spiritual guidance and understanding. One of the ways we can grow in natural discernment is by people-watching. Go to the mall or a busy public place, and people-watch. Focus on what people are doing and occasionally see whether you can predict their next moves. Hone in on them with your eyes, not physically making eye contact but focusing your eyes on them, and see if you can discern anything about them. You can also do this with people you know at a dinner table or in a Bible study. While focusing on them, concentrate.
There are two ways you can proceed after you focus on them. The first way is to stay in tune with what you are focusing on but not think about it. In other words, don't try to figure it out. Focus. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you about them. The second way is to ponder, think and try to figure it out. Put different scenarios forth and see what resonates with you and what your spirit witnesses to. Both of these exercises will increase your discernment and activate the prophetic inside you.
Let the Holy Spirit be your guide, and follow His leading as you seek to go from inward activation to outward activation. When you are out running errands or people-watching, ask the Holy Spirit to give you a prophetic assignment. Then be ready to speak out when you sense His leading.
For example, if I am clothes shopping and feel led to pray, prophesy or minister via prophetic evangelism, I position myself near a person flipping through a rack of clothes and use the clothing as a conversation starter. As the person responds, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me discern her response.
The leap of faith is trusting that after you step out and open your mouth in the natural, the Holy Spirit will do something in the supernatural and give you the words to speak as well as prophetic insight about the person's situation. This outward activation of your spiritual senses starts with stepping out in faith and boldness. You do something in the natural and expect the Holy Spirit to show up and show off, in a good way, by downloading to you information only He knows about the person to get their attention and cause them to focus on Him.
Try listening during prayer, and then act on the words of knowledge you receive. This is a great test to increase your discernment and tune your ear to the voice of the Lord. By yourself or with a group of friends, pray and expect to receive words of knowledge to release to people. The Holy Spirit can tell you what store to go to and what the person will be wearing. Sit and receive from the Spirit by praying in tongues, calling forth words of knowledge, or by sitting in silence and waiting for Him to impart something.
Take the information you receive and act on it. Go to the place and look for the person the Spirit described. Approach the person as led by the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to deposit further instructions into your spirit.
Downloads of Discernment
Building a relationship with the Holy Spirit and recognizing His voice is instrumental in receiving downloads, or what I call "spiritual drops." As we tune our spiritual ears to His voice and build a relationship with Him, He will begin to drop things into our spirits, even when we are not in prayer. There are times I am walking around the house, and I will get an instruction deposited within my spirit. The Holy Spirit will speak to us clearly and quickly as we enhance our relationships with Him.
In the same way, He can deposit prophetic words and revelation. When you are praying and seeking Him, He will pour out revelation about something He wants you to do, or He can give you a prophetic word. You can increase the specific revelation you receive, as well as your ability to discern spiritually, by spending time in His presence, studying His Word and getting to know His characteristics and the way He speaks to you.
Excerpted from Chapter 12 of Prophetic Spiritual Warfare by Kathy DeGraw (Charisma House 2021).
Kathy DeGraw is a prophetic deliverance minister releasing the love and power of God to ignite and activate people, release prophetic destinies and deliver people from the bondage of the enemy. She is the founder of Kathy DeGraw Ministries and K Advancement LLC. Kathy hosts a weekly podcast show called Prophetic Spiritual Warfare on the Charisma Podcast Network. She, additionally, has several online empowerment courses at charismacourses.com. She is the author of several books, including: Speak Out, Discerning and Destroying the Works of Satan, Unshackled and Warfare Declarations. You can connect with Kathy on Facebook or visit kathydegrawministries.org.
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