One of the Spiritual gifts I have is giving. I was inspired this summer to give my sister’s family an ice cream maker – so I saved that to my gift ideas spreadsheet for this Christmas. I did not talk with them about it, other than surreptitiously making sure they didn’t have one already. This Christmas, they asked my sister’s mother in law for one of several gifts including a specific ice cream maker, but she chose to give a different gift. I sent them not only the exact model they were looking for, but the exact color they requested.
What a cool divine bit of inspiration to get to participate in!
Over Thanksgiving week God chose to do that thing he does where he has multiple people come and tell you something to make sure you actually get the point. And what he was telling me was that I fundamentally misunderstood the gift of Spiritual Discernment. I always understood Discernment as the practice of acting with Wisdom, but Spiritual Discernment is a different gift altogether, and is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10:
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:10
Spiritual Discernment is that ability to distinguish between spirits, and it seems to be one of the most commonly misunderstood gifts. And I most definitely have this gift. I’m not sure to what extent, and I probably has a lot of honing and work to do, but I can definitely feel the spiritual atmosphere of certain places, and some of my previous blog posts are about what I’ve been experiencing are directly on this topic. What was driving me a little bit crazy was how few Christians seemed to be seeing the same thing I was and how they didn’t feel the same way I did about certain environments, and now I understand that it’s like the majority of the world is colorblind – I’m not crazy for being able to see these things. This also helps me realize that some of the things I feel are an external atmosphere pushing against me, and it is my duty to resist – in particular in this vein, I’ve had several other people with discernment tell me that Boston has a relatively well known atmosphere of glumness that I’m not the only one who feels as soon as I land at Logan. Knowing its an external force gives me a much easier stance to resist it over thinking it’s an internal depression.
I’m still searching for resources on this, but here’s one ebook I found that seems to be both practical and biblically solid.
I’ve also discovered that my father has the same gift, and one of my sisters does not. And for her, not having it lets her go into places that I might have trouble doing.