Discernment of Spirits

The discernment of spirits is important in each Christian’s day-to-day walk with God. It is important for each follower of Jesus to pray every day and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in all our decision making. St. Paul says “[t]he Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings (Romans 8:26).” The discernment of spirits is part of the expression of our relationship to God.

If I go to Mass once a month and never pray or think about God it will be nearly impossible to understand the world around me in a spiritual way. However, for the Christian who spends time each day in prayer, there comes an openness to the voice of the Holy Spirit and an increased awareness of Good and Evil in the world around us. Taking time to pray and reflect upon Sacred Scripture allows a person to notice God’s action in the world and in our lives.

In our quiet time with God we can notice our thoughts, feelings, and desires. Taking prayerful time to notice what is happening inside of ourselves leads to opportunities to acknowledge what is happening in our lives to Jesus, relate the truth of our thoughts, feelings, and desires to Jesus, receive the words of blessing or guidance from Jesus, and to respond with love and honesty for the truth He invites us to embrace.

When we pray in this transparent way each day, our eyes and hearts begin to see the work of the Holy Spirit and the Evil Spirit in our lives and in the world around us. This increased awareness helps us to become more aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit and our need for daily prayer and reflection. Over time, as the discerning Christian understands the ways that Holy Spirit guides, counsels, and corrects, they also begin to understand the ways that the Evil Spirit confuses, lies, and promotes sinful behaviors. Through the help of the Holy Spirit a person can then practically discern the realities around them through the discernment of spirits by accepting the movements of the Holy Spirit and rejecting the enticements of the Evil Spirit.

Taking time daily to slow down and be still before the Lord opens our hearts and minds to the truth of the discernment of spirits. Making prayer a priority in our life can assist us in our journey to eternity. Are you taking time this summer to pray and be still before the Lord? If not, why not? If so, go, go, go to the Lord!