Open Heavens Daily Devotional
20th April, 2014
DISCERNMENT – HOW VITAL!
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.1 Corinthians 2:14
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
One of the methods Satan and his agents use in deceiving people is the act of camouflage. The Holy Spirit has put us on notice concerning this in2 Corinthians 11:14-15:
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
From the time of the early church, the agents of darkness have sought to come into the church without being noticed, so that from within, they could carry out the mission of their master, which is to steal, to kill and to destroy. If they could attempt this in the earliest days of the church (as was the case of Simon the sorcerer -Acts 8:9-24), what should one expect in the end-times, when without doubt the devil knows that he has but a short time before his destruction (Revelation 12:12)?
By the nefarious activities of these nice looking, seemingly harmless, active and warmth-exuding evil geniuses, not a small number of promising ministries and ministers have been cut short. Some bright stars of the kingdom have been dimmed by the enemy’s deep penetration into the centre of operation and into the life of the undiscerning leadership of the church. The world will say “unsuspecting leadership” because they exist in the realm of the senses where suspicion is used in fishing out “suspects”. In the kingdom of God however, we should not think that mere suspicions would enable us to identify fake brethren who are working as agents of darkness. This is tantamount to operating by the arm of flesh (1 Samuel 2:9). We are bound to make mistakes if we rely on our sensory observations rather than on the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in discernment.
In our Bible reading of today, a young lady had been following Paul and his team for several days, announcing them to be servants of the Most High God. No human intelligence would have identified her as a devil (which she truly was); in fact, she would have been considered a potential minister (a prophetess) whom Paul (a missionary) could entrust the leadership of the church to at his departure. Thank God that was not to be. I guess Paul by himself did not know who she really was until the day the gift of discernment of the Holy Spirit manifested.
Pray that God will make his ministers recognise the need for the gift of discernment to be in operation in our churches and that God will graciously pour this gift on His church.
Bible in a Year:
Micah 5-7; Psalm 87