Discerning of Spirits

What is the Biblical way to “test the spirits” to know when someone is saying something true, or if they are using a gift that is truly of the Holy Spirit? Some people claim to have the gift of prophesy or discernment but sometimes I question where it comes from. A guy I worked with claimed to have the spiritual gift of discernment. He told me a bunch of stuff about myself. Most of his beliefs were true. Some weren’t. He seemed to be self-motivated. He to,ld me he had also told a bunch of his buddies from his church about themselves. Apparently they were ticked off at him and eventually told him to back off.
Another lady was counselling me for abuse issues. When I said I had been abused by one person, she said she already “knew” that. God had told her. Then it turned out those memories weren’t quite right. She said I had schizophrenia and thats why her therapy didn’t work right. I have been in the health system for two years. No docotrs claim I have schizophrenia. And apparently God told her i had it. Any thoughts?

Whenever I am in a situation like you, I always follow what my priest told me. He said to judge a tree by its fruits.

The Bible says that a good tree will produce good fruits, and a bad tree will produce bad fruits. If someone claims to have a gift of the Holy Spirit, and through that gift, is genuinely drawing others to Jesus Christ…if he is building up the body of Christ through his gift…then I would say that he does have that gift. People that I have met that truly have a gift of the Holy Spirit, they are very humble! They realize that they have no “power” of their own! And that this gift is purely for the good of the Church, not for the glory of himself!

If the individual is claiming to have a gift, but is drawing people away from the faith, or if the fruits of his gifts produce deception or falsehood, then I would say that he does not have that gift.

We can’t judge the desposition of anothers heart, but we can look at the facts and prayerfully come to a conclusion. If you feel that a person is using “gifts” for personal glory, then I would pray for that person!

I’d recommend reading Fr Thomas Dubay’s Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment .

This book by Fr. Thomas Dubay explores biblical teaching about the gift of discernment, the capacity to determine whether one is being led by the Holy Spirit or by his or her own unredeemed inclinations and desires.

More info from the publisher, Ignatius Press …

Most people assume that the way to mend divisions and factions in our world - marriages, parishes, dioceses, religious orders - is to engage in civil discussions, attend local, regional or national meetings, draw up committee reports and recommendations. To a point this may help, but sad experience makes clear that these approaches alone never heal the polarization problems which plague our civil and ecclesial life.

The Biblical therapy is radically different - and it achieves results. This book explores the divine strategy in detail. Research discovers in Scripture 40 or 50 themes that bear on discovering truth and recognizing that it has been solidly found. We learn how we discern whether we are being led by the Holy Spirit or by our own unredeemed inclinations and desires, whether it is the spirit of God or the prince of darkness that is operating in our disagreements and programs. We find in these themes clear responses to key questions:

• Why are there divisions and factions in the Church?

• How are these polarizations to be healed?

• What are the sure signs that some people have truth, while others are in error?

• What are the conditions for finding and maintaining a shared vision in marriage,

parishes, dioceses, religious orders, the universal Church?

What the CC does to judge a claim of an apparition, whether it is from the divine or not…is if it does not contradict any Church teaching, and most importantly (at least my opinion)…obedience to the Church…or a Catholic Bishop…or their representative…a priest.

from 1John 4…6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Bishops are the successors of the Apostles.

Is this what you were looking for?

What if people are calling other Chrisitians “bad” or strange because they don’t “follow the norms?” And I’m not talking about wicked stuff. What if a 16 year old likes to wear long modest skirts instead of jeans? Should other Christians suggest that it is a “sin” for her to dress differently than everyone else? Why is she more righteous if she wears a t-shirt and jeans?

Or just plain shunning them because they are different than anyone else. The truth is, i don’t think you should judge people by how they dress. I’ve done it before myself. But some Christians do judge and it’s not so great. My brother got fired from a job at a Chrisitian school. It was later discovered that they were discriminating against him for having A.D.D. That’s not right either.

Sorry to say this but I think that lady is who has the problems not you.

But it seems to me, when People like you who are truly searching for God, and when people find this out they come out of the wood work to Help.

To begin with God does not work that way, he does not come up to us and tell us things like that. the way that lady said.

Please be very carefull. You are at a stage in your life when you are searching, and many cults could fool you very easy.

You seem sweet and young, and ripe for the picking as they say.

To begin with, stay on this site for awhile. Listen to People as they ask questions on this and that. Then check out why they said what they did and why. Right now it safe to be hear and listen to others help and ask oneanother questions.

The most important thing is to pray everyday to God. Do it alone in your room or where you can be alone. Don’t expect to hear or see anything. Just pray and ask the Holy Spirit to come nto your heart and guide your soul. Then just hold on and read up on the Early Fathers of the Church.

Scott Hahn has many books that you can relate to also.

Unfortunately People always pick on others who are different. All Christians do this, and it is wrong.

It is not a sin to dress differently then others. But it is a sin to make fun of others.

Well, this particular church pretty much “fell apart.” They originally had at least 500 people attending regularly. Now they might have 150. People left the church after 20 or 30 years of attending. Some of them had parents that were members years before.
I don’t know about the majority of the people that left. Some are attending different churches.
I remember sitting through sermons and thinking, “This sounds like the total opposite of what the scripture says to do.” They only wanted only certain people in the church, so they would only accept certain people there. Others would walk through the door and it seemed as if they were invisible. Made you wonder if you really mattered to God.
I’m not attending a church right now. Trying to really get into Christ’s word, so I don’t make the mistake of going to a church that treats me the same as this one, or worse.

Sounds something akin to a Holy Spirit I experienced with seniors in college…‘oh, you have the Lord…or you don’t have the Lord…’

It is better to go to a priest. I told one of some of these judgmental attitudes and when talking to him, everything just left and I could see I was being pulled into that…they all left the Catholic Church, only one returning.

Our pastor told us 150 Catholics left the church because of a similar movement of ‘the Holy Spirit’ this in the early 70’s.

Just follow the Holy Spirit where you are free and not under bondage of someone else’s issues and control.

It reminds me of a story from The Sayings of the Desert Saints (paraphrased)…

A group of men had been having strange dreams that came true, and they decided to ask Fr. Anthony whether they were from God, or from the demons.

On their way to the abbot their donkey died.

When they reached Fr. Anthony he immediately asked them how it was that their donkey had died on the way.
Shocked, the men asked him how he had known about the donkey, to which Fr. Anthony replied, “The demons told me,”

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