Chapter 17 - The Discerning of Spirits - Smith Wigglesworth
The Discerning of Spirits
"To another discerning of spirits" (1 Cor. 12:10). There is a vast difference between natural discernment and spiritual. When it comes to natural discernment you will find many people loaded with it, and they can see so many faults in others. To such the words of Christ in the sixth chapter of Luke surely apply, "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" If you want to manifest natural discernment, focus the same on yourself for at least twelve months and you will see so many faults in yourself that you will never want to fuss about the faults of another. In the sixth of Isaiah we read of the prophet being in the presence of God and he found that even his lips were unclean and everything was unclean. But praise God, there is the same live coal for us today, the baptism of fire, the perfecting of the heart, the purifying of the mind, the regeneration of the spirit. How important it is that the fire of God shall touch our tongues.
In 1 John 4:1 we are told, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God." We are further told, "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already it is in the world." From time to time as I have seen a person under the power of evil, or having a fit, I have said to the power of evil, or satanic force that is within the possessed person, "Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh?" And straightway they have answered "No." They either say "No," or hold their tongues, refusing altogether to acknowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ came in the flesh. It is then, remembering that further statement of John's, "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world," that you can in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ deal with the evil powers and command them to come out. We as Pentecostal people must know the tactics of the evil one and must be able to displace and dislodge him from his position.
I was preaching in Doncaster, England, at one time on the line of faith and a number of people were delivered. There was a man present who was greatly interested and moved by what he saw. He was suffering himself with a stiff knee and had yards and yards of flannel wound around it. After he got home he said to his wife, "I have taken in Wigglesworth's message and now I am going to act on it and get deliverance. Wife, I want you to be the audience." He took hold of his knee and said, "Come out, you devil, in the name of Jesus." Then he said, "It is all right, wife." He took the yards and yards of flannel off and found he was all right without the bandage. The next night he went to the little Primitive Methodist Church where he worshiped. There were a lot of young people who were in bad plight there and Jack had a tremendous business delivering his friends through the name of Jesus. He had been given to see that a great many ills to which flesh is heir are nothing else but the operation of the enemy, but his faith had risen and he saw that in the name of Jesus there was a power that was more than a match for the enemy.
I arrived one night at Gottenberg in Sweden and was asked to hold a meeting there. In the midst of the meeting a man fell full length in the doorway. The evil spirit drew him down, manifesting itself and disturbing the whole meeting. I rushed to the door and laid hold of this man and cried out to the evil spirit within him, "Come out, you devil! In the name of Jesus we cast you out as an evil spirit." I lifted him up and said, "Stand on your feet and walk in the name of Jesus." I don't know whether anybody in the meeting understood me except the interpreter, but the devils knew what I said. I talked in English but these devils in Sweden cleared out. A similar thing happened in Christiania.
The devil will endeavor to fascinate through the eyes and through the mind. At one time there was brought to me a beautiful young woman who had been fascinated with some preacher, and just because he had not given her satisfaction on the line of courtship and marriage the devil took advantage and made her fanatical and mad. They brought her 250 miles in that condition. She had previously received the Baptism in the Spirit. You ask, "Is there any place for the enemy in one that has been baptized in the Holy Ghost?" Our only safety is in going on with God and in constantly being filled with the Holy Ghost. You must not forget Demas. He must have been baptized with the Holy Ghost for he appears to have been a right-hand worker with Paul, but the enemy got him to the place where he loved this present world and he dropped off. When they brought this young woman to me the evil power was immediately discerned and immediately I cast the thing out in the name of Jesus. It was a great joy to present her before all the people in her right mind again.
There is a life of perfect deliverance, and this is where God wants you to be. If I find my peace is disturbed on any line, I know it is the enemy who is trying to work. How do I know this? Because the Lord has promised to keep your mind in perfect peace when it is stayed on Him. Paul tells us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service; the Holy Spirit breathes through him, "And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." He further tells us in Phil. 4, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things." As we think about that which is pure, we become pure. As we think about that which is holy, we become holy. And as we think about our Lord Jesus Christ, we become like Him. We are changed into the likeness of the object on which our gaze is fixed.
To discern spirits we must dwell with Him who is holy, and He will give the revelation and unveil the mask of satanic power on all lines. In Australia I went to one place where there were disrupted and broken homes. The people were so deluded by the evil power of satan that men had left their wives, and wives had left their husbands, and had gotten into spiritual affinity with one another. That is the devil! May God deliver us from such evils in these days. There is no one better than the companion God has given you. I have seen so many broken hearts and so many homes that have been wrecked. We need a real revelation of these evil seducing spirits which come in and facinate by the eye and destroy lives, and bring the work of God into disrepute. But there is always flesh behind it. It is never clean; it is unholy, impure, satanic, devilish, and hell is behind it. If the enemy comes in to tempt you on any line like this, I beseech you to look instantly to the Lord Jesus. He can deliver you from any such satanic power. You must be separated on all lines if you are going to have faith.
The Holy Ghost will give us this gift of discerning of spirits if we desire it so that we may perceive by revelation this evil power which comes in to destroy. We can reach out and get this unction of the Spirit that will reveal these things unto us.
You will have people come to meetings who are spiritists. You must be able to deal with spiritist conditions. You can so deal with them that they will not have any power in the meetings. If you ever have Theosophists or Christian Scientist, you must be able to discern them and settle them. Never play with them; always clear them out. They are better with their own company always unless they are willing to be delivered from the delusion they are in. Remember the warning of the Lord Jesus, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy."
Before satan can bring his evil spirits there has to be an open door. Hear what the scriptures say: "That wicked one toucheth him not: (1 John 5:18). "The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul" (Psa. 121:7). how does satan get an opening? When the saint ceases to seek after holiness, purity, righteousness, truth; when he ceases to pray, stops reading the Word and gives way to carnal appetites, then it is that satan comes. So often sickness comes as a result of disobedience. David said, "Before I was afflicted, I went astray." Seek the Lord and He will sanctify every thought, every act, till your whole being is ablaze with holy purity and your one desire will be for Him who has created you in holiness. Oh, this holiness! Can we be made pure? We can. Every inbred sin must go. God can cleanse away every evil thought. Can we have a hatred for sin and a love for righteousness? Yes, God will create within thee a pure heart. He will take away the stony heart out of the flesh. He will sprinkle thee with clean water and thou shalt be cleansed from all thy filthiness. When will He do it? When you seek Him for such inward purity.