Is this real?Could it be that prophet or healer is fake? Did that word of exhortation come from God or was it crafted in the mind of man? Is that person actually speaking in tongues or just babbling nonsense in the flesh? How many times have you asked yourself those questions? I think if we are honest, all of us have asked similar questions at some point in our Christian walk.
1 Corinthians 12:10-11
Knowing the answer to the question "Is this real?" is only made possible through a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit and through His gift of discernment.
Our Lord often allows us to know and see His good work through His body and to discern when He is operating and when He is not. Today I am compelled to write this post because I discern that someone who reads this blog is struggling with doubt and confusion because of gifts of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is you or someone you know, so please take time to read (including linked scripture references), reflect and share with your friends as you are led by the Lord.
Here are a series of questions you should ask when you are in doubt about a spiritual gift...
- Is the person glorifying themselves instead of God?
- Are people being manipulated?
- Is there a spirit of condemnation?
- Is there an appeal to the lust of the flesh?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it is likely the person is not operating in a gift of the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:1 "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 "And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light; So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds." [Amplified Bible]
The gifts are given to edify and to minister to the needs of the body of Christ and to glorify God. If those three things are not occuring, you may be witnessing someone operating in the flesh or worse; they may be operating in a spirit of witchcraft. Acts 16:16 When this happens, pray and ask the Lord about how He would have you handle the situation. Seek counsel from the Word and from a spiritual mentor who is grounded in the Word. Consult your pastor, and continue to pray for direction from the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 4:11 - 16 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."God has given us spiritual gifts to accomplish His work on this earth and in His body. We should not forsake the gifts, and we should be good stewards of the gifts He has given to His church.