I want to start part two of discerning of human spirits by clarifying that there is a difference between your spirit and the spirit of God in you. You can think of Him as the fourth man joining your spirit, soul, and body. The bible says “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12. I had previously shared that initially, God had two elements when He created man, the breath of life (spirit) and the body made of the dust of the earth. It was when this breath of life came into contact with this body that a third element called the soul came about. It is the spirit that carries the nature of God and controls the body, through the soul.
And it is thus usually difficult to practically separate the spirit from the soul. But the bible says that the word of God is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, making it possible to create a space of distinction between the spirit and the soul. See that? There is a gap between the spirit and the soul, which the word of God can expose.
Where that space between the spirit and the soul is, is where the spirit of God takes residence. That is exactly where His dwelling place is in a person. For those who are possessed by other disembodied spirits, that is also where they take residence. That is a position from which God can move information between your spirit and your soul, empowering the spirit to be dominant over your soul and body. A person whose spirit is controlled by the spirit of God from this position we say He is under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is no longer Him that lives, but God lives through them, you can read Galatians 2:20 to hear what the apostle has to say about this.
Perhaps it would be prudent if I mention at this point that a born again Christian’s spirit is regenerate, in a sense of being completely new in nature and essence. If a disembodied spirit were to come in as a fourth man, it is illegal for such a spirit to possess the spirit of such a man. It can only oppress the person’s spirit so that they can no longer hear clearly from God or so that they are unable to overcome the evil commands of such a fourth man. But if a person is not born again, a disembodied spirit can legally possess the spirit of such a person, and this is what we would call a possession. In a nutshell, there is a difference between oppression and possession by a disembodied spirit such as a demon.
You can think of possession as having a title deed of that spirit-soul gap, and oppression as having a lease. At any point, a Christian can decide that the evil spirit’s lease has lapsed and it is time for it to check out, and it will have no choice but to check out! In the book of Luke 11:24 we find a perfect illustration of this, it reads “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’” The Bible here uses the same comparison of a house to explain the spirit-soul gap where the spirit resides.
When we deal with casting out of disembodied spirits such as impure spirits, you will see how as a landlord you can make the environment uncomfortable for such a spirit, and have it check out and cancel the lease agreement on its own, without ‘calling fire’ or ‘the name of Jesus three times’. If the demon was cast out of a dry place because it was dry, it means a demon, just like a tenant, cannot stay in an environment that is unfavourable for it. Here’s my sermon within a sermon “May you create an uncomfortable environment for any contrary spirit in your life through the word of God!”
When we are discerning human spirits we are not just trying to understand the status of the spirit in as far as its regenerate nature, but we are also trying to understand the nature of the spirit that is occupying the spirit-soul gap within an individual. Immediately you hear things like “He only does this when He is drunk, he is not like this when he is sober”, “She is out of control when she is angry”, “My kids are well behaved when they do not hang around those other kids”, then you need to realise that you are supposed to look at two spirits at the same time, the nature of the spirit of this person. And the nature of the fourth spirit controlling their spirit.
You might have to deal with the spirit of this person, lead them to a place where they can have their spirit born again. This will take away the title-deed from the strongman in their life. Moving them from possession to oppression. The last bit is to help them to transform their life into an uncomfortable environment for evil by renewing their mind with the word of God. Just as the bible says “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2.
You may ask HOW? How do we distinguish spirits? That is where I will start my next article. But for now, the same letter to the Romans gives us a bit of an understanding of the HOW if we read it in full, it says in the CSB version, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Discernment requires the renewal of the mind through the Word of God. This will enable you to think the way God thinks, love what He loves, hate what He hates, see the way He sees. In the absence of this renewal of the mind and the lens of God’s love covering your eyes, everything will seem suspect to you. The bible says “To the pure, all things are pure; but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. Indeed, both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” Titus 1:15.
Discerning of spirits has been wrongly perceived as discerning of evil spirits for the longest of time, precisely because if your mind is only filled with teachings on evil spirits, that is all you will be able to see. You will see the fingerprints of an evil spirit everywhere you look. Instead of seeing the magnitude of heavenly creatures on your side. Teaching on casting out of demons, must be overwhelmingly outweighed by teachings on sending angels and discerning the presence of angels for example. The same goes for those who think discerning of human spirits is only for discerning false prophets. All that does is help them spot the elements of the false prophetic in everyone, and they cannot list more than ten genuine prophets. That is a serious problem! This is when you are trying to discern through a lens (mind) that is not renewed.
If your discernment is wholesome, it should be able to point out the genuine and the fake with the same level of clarity. I have read a lot and listened to a lot of teachings talking about “the gift of discernment” but true discernment cannot even be classified as a gift, because how do we call a renewed mind a gift? The real gift here is the Holy Spirit in your spirit-soul gap empowering you to renew your mind, the result of which is being able to distinguish between that which is of God and that which is not.
Love and Blessings to you!!