Grace and peace be unto you.
The journey continues.
God presents regular opportunities for us to help people or testify about his goodness. The question therefore arises, how do we make use of these opportunities? Spiritual discernment is knowing what God wants us to do in any given situation. Our powers of discernment are developed from having a close relationship with Christ and through constant practice in distinguishing good from evil (Hebrews 5:14).
The apostle Matthew wrote that on one occasion, Jesus was talking to John’s disciples and a certain ruler came and knelt before him. He told Jesus that his daughter was dead and he wanted him to bring her back to life. Jesus ended the conversation and immediately left with his disciples and followed the ruler (Matthew 9:18). In another instance, the apostle John recorded that Jesus received information that Lazarus was sick and he said, ‘the sickness will not end in death, it is for God’s glory, so that God’s Son will be glorified through it.’ As such, he stayed where he was for two days before starting the journey to Lazarus’s home town. When he finally arrived, he found that Lazarus was in the tomb for four days (John 11:1-17).
Both situations were opportunities for Jesus to help someone and he responded favorably. Nonetheless, he responded immediately to the ruler’s request and waited a few days before visiting Lazarus. How do we determine how quickly to respond to an assignment? Our earthly wisdom which is grounded in morality can only guide us in dealing with worldly matters. We need spiritual discernment to do our divine assignments.
Scripture says that Jesus is in unity with his Father, and so he knows his desires and always does what pleases him (John 8:29). Therefore, through communicating with his Father, he knew that his assignment was to raise Lazarus after he was buried. As a result, he allowed the time to pass for Lazarus’s death and burial before visiting his hometown. Effective communication and obedience to God helped Jesus decide when and how to respond to the assignment.
Similarly, when we are in unity with Christ, we know his desires and find pleasure in doing them. Unity with Christ occurs through study and obedience to his commands and having an intimate relationship with him. When we communicate with him frequently, he tells us how and when to respond to assignments, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).