Today, I want to talk about something along the lines of building on Spiritual Discernment by learning to test the spirit of a person. What do I mean when I say that we should test the spirit of a person? Before I even tell you what I mean by that, let’s look at this verse of Scripture from the book of 1 John:
4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that[a] 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.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
As you can see, a person who does not confess nor believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and is God is NOT a Christian. Such people are labeled as having the spirit of the Antichrist.
Now going back to what I was talking about with respect to spiritual discernment, how can we tell if someone is a “True Believer of Jesus Christ” (a Christian) and when someone is masquerading as one?
You can only know this by testing a person’s spirit with the Word of God (The BIBLE) as your Standard and also by assessing their FRUITS. There are people who come into churches as wolves in sheep’s clothing, and therefore, it is imperative that as Christians we learn to discern and identify the characters of individuals that are pretentious in their conduct, who also try to target innocent and unsuspecting believers to stray from the path that God wants them to go.
[ You Will Know Them by Their Fruits ] “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
Even in The Book of Timothy, we are forewarned to be aware of such characters that creep into our lives and into the Church if you take a look at this scripture:
Perilous Times and Perilous Men
3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
These days, we really have to learn to become vigilant and seek to increase our knowledge of The WORD for ourselves rather than relying on a Sunday service to get our Bible fix. How can one increase in DISCERNMENT if you don’t feed your spirit with the TRUTH that is found in God’s Word (THE BIBLE)? Discernment doesn’t just happen. You can only discern the difference between what is True and what is False when you have acquired enough knowledge and life experience to be able to distinguish the difference between a fake versus the genuine article. That’s why it is so important that as Christians, we are not complacent and that we are active in our faith by reading and meditating on the Word (The Bible) for ourselves. Even the Bible instructs us to do this in The Book of Joshua:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Now going back to the topic of testing the spirit of a person…what exactly do I mean by that? You now know that discernment is definitely required in order to do this. When you sense that someone is off, that gut feeling you get is most likely the Holy Spirit convicting your spirit (the inner man) to be aware of something that you would not otherwise have been aware of by your own level of understanding and experience. People can be conniving and pretentious around you, and the only way to be able to discern when someone is off is by Testing their spirit.
You must be wondering what does “testing the spirit” mean and how does one go about testing the “spirit” of a person? Let me change the phrase to make you understand what it is that I’m talking about…. “testing the spirit of a person” is the same thing as “testing the personality and character of a person”.
Now that you understand what I mean, how does one go about “testing the spirit of a person” you must be wondering? Well, I will only talk about this based on my personal experience. For me, when I notice that someone is off, I watch and observe them for a long long period of time to assess whether they are consistent in their conduct, deeds, actions, and also watch to see if they remain consistent with the things that they say and confess out of their mouths. The Holy Spirit has always alerted/prompted me to when someone is off by making me notice things that I would not have otherwise picked up if I had relied on my general senses.
The Holy Spirit prompts me to notice the following when assessing a person’s Character and behavioural patterns:
- Does a person’s words match their actions? If they do not…then are they not dishonest and/or untrustworthy? Why stand for wishy washy behaviour?
- Does a person give you a half-baked answer or half-truth when asking them a direct question? You’ve got to ask yourself: What are they trying to conceal or hide if they aren’t telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? It should be identified that a half-truth is a lie…period.
- If a person uses flattery in their speech, are they being genuine with their words or are they being pretentious and disingenuous with their answers? Why flatter you with sweet nothing with their words? What is the purpose of their flattery? Is the purpose of their flattery to gain unfair advantage or favour over another person (i.e. sucking up)? Is it honest admiration or is the intention to flatter you with sweet-nothings in their words to boost your ego and pride in order to gain advantage or receive favour from you? Must someone suck up to you just in order to make it in the world? Ask yourself these questions people!
- When a person is crafty (key word here people), they appeal to the emotions of an unsuspecting person who lacks the discernment to figure out that they’re being played and toyed around with. If you are a “needy” person as an individual, you will be vulnerable to such a person that knows how to manipulate you into doing something you would not otherwise do if you had decided to remain in your “right mind”.
- When a person operates with double-standards… You’ve got to ask yourself: “how can a person be one way in one instance, and then be a completely different person in another instance?” These are tell-tale signs of a “Double-minded man/woman”.
he is a double–minded man, unstable in all his ways.
- When a person is self-seeking and self-serving for attention, favour, benefits without character; they will be the kinds of people that are quick to betray your confidence in them if it means that they can move up the ladder in the world regardless of the consequences for their actions. Some people in the workplace will even take credit for work that they didn’t even do in order to satisfy their selfish ambition, all because of their self-seeking and selfish behaviour. Do you know someone with these types of character traits in your life?
- If a person loves money over people…believe me when I say that they are untrustworthy in all the things that they do. They are the people that most likely would have a seared conscience with respect to how they obtain their wealth if greed is a strong motivating factor for doing the things that they do in order to obtain their lust for money, wealth, prestige and anything attached to that lust.
The Holy Spirit provides us with the ability to discern individuals and their characters; however, we can only increase in discernment when we learn from our experiences when relating to different types of individuals that we encounter during our walk in life.
I have met a lot of people in my life from a young age where many were either diplomats, business people from Fortune 500 companies etc, including just regular folk in my day-to-day life, and can tell you that when you seek God to grant you the discernment to be able to tell the difference between someone who is for you from someone who is against you, you’ll be surprised with what you can live through. When I got saved at the age of 16, my discernment level was extremely sharpened to the degree that I could identify who was coming against my family, and I would always forewarn my family members to not trust certain individuals nor entertain some crazy characters that would come to the house as “family friends”. The Lord even opened up my eyes to such a degree in that I could immediately tell who was operating with a spirit of witchcraft. When such individuals could identify that they were not fooling either me or my twin sister with their shenanigans, they found it difficult to operate with the devices that they tried to use to harm my family in some way.
When you seek God to open up your eyes to see things beyond “Face Value” and ask Him to sharpen your spiritual discernment, the Lord will grant you your request; however, I should say this as a disclaimer: you should keep in mind that once the Lord opens your spiritual and physical eyes to see things, be prepared to handle that which you do see. Some people want discernment but don’t understand what will happen once they receive it. Your entire world view and perspective will drastically change; however, you will become a wiser person in the long run when it comes to dealing with all types of people that exhibit various types of personalities. The best book that I’ve ever read regarding the topic of discernment is by Roberts Liardon called Sharpening Your Discernment. I still recommend that book today if anybody wants to grow stronger in this area of their lives. That book is the best book I’ve ever read regarding this topic of Spiritual Discernment. You will learn so much from it and I guarantee that you’ll grow stronger and wiser in terms of your relationships with other people after reading it. As Christians, especially those who experience Spiritual Warfare, this is one area in your life that you must seek to grow strong in if you want to be successful with dealing with people you encounter in your life. Spiritual Discernment will enable you to make wise decisions and life choices as you go about your everyday business, Amen!
To end this post I’m posting this song by Zoe Grace called Blowing Kisses. I pray that it blesses your spirit today. God Bless You Everybody! 😀