Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series, where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek further insight into the discernment of the divine will.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Discernment of the Divine Will
"And he said, ““the God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see the Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.’’" Acts, Chapter 22, Verse 14
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we share some further insights into discerning the divine will. As we become dedicated to doing the divine will, it is only natural that we would like to gain greater insight into doing the divine will. We know that if we truly desire to do the divine will, that desire is proof that we are unconsciously doing the divine will. We shall delve more into this truth for the purpose of further inspiring and comforting us as well as gaining assurance that we are indeed pleasing the heavenly Father. We shall also explore the question of how was it that John the Baptist and Jesus knew when it was time to began their missions. To set the stage and to further the grasp of our insight into doing the Father’’s will, we shall use some material analogies.
The members of a basketball team spend a lot of time together. They practice different plays under different scenarios. And they practice and practice these plays until they have perfected them. So skilled do they become in anticipating each other’’s moves that words are not needed to communicate. It all happens unconsciously. That is, they have learned to execute a particular play under a certain set of circumstances that no conscious thought goes into executing the play. Indeed, when the situation is so fluid and the opportunity presents itself to execute a particular play, there are no time for words--attempting to communicate with words would derail the play.
Sometimes after years and years of living together, couples begin to take on similar looks. As times goes by, they seem to resemble each other more and more. They have come to know each other intimately and can communicate almost perfectly without words. They can anticipate what the other partner desires. And this analogy along with the analogy of the basketball team also has spiritual parallels.
In discerning the Father’’s will, we must spend some time getting to know the Father. And the way we get to know him is through our prayers and worship. When we communicate with the Father, similar to the basketball team, we come to know him so well that we can anticipate what His attitude is towards a given situation. As we pray, communicating about various ups and downs, seeking his guidance, we eventually go through all of the scenarios that are likely to happen in our lives. This does not mean that we have to experience every single event in order to know the Father’’s attitude towards a given situation, but there are patterns of events that occur in our lives that we come to know. We learn the appropriate response to these patterns when we spend time with the heavenly Father. In our communion with the Father, we get to rehearse all of these patterns of his attitude towards a given situation. So that when the time comes to act, we are prepared to act.
And like the couple who has lived so intimately together, who have come to really know each other, we can accurately discern the Father’’s will because we have learned to know Him so intimately, so well. In any given spiritual situation, we know exactly what spiritual quality the Father would have us to choose. It is obvious to those who have gotten to know the Father when mercy is required. We know when patience is required. And we know when forgiveness is required. And since we have spent so much time under His spiritual influence, His spiritual influence pervades our soul, so that love is always our attitude towards our brothers and sisters. Now that we have covered the character reactions of doing the divine will, let us return to the questions concerning John and Jesus.
John the Baptist had been trained for his mission from an early age. His parents were instructed that he was to become the herald of Jesus. As John got older, this mission incubated in his soul, gradually maturing. And he thought much about the nature of his mission, how and when he was to begin it. From the spirit’’s point of view, the mission was rehearsed in John’’s soul. From John’’s perspective, he prayed and fasted according to the light that he had, in reality spending time in intimate contact with the Father. In spending time with the Father, John discerned when the time was right for him to launch forth on his mission. And when that time came, all doubts were swept aside. The subsequent events of meeting Jesus in the Jordan validated his timing.
Jesus also underwent a similar process. He was told that he was a child of promise and that he would inaugurate the kingdom of heaven on earth and among men. Thus the work was identified. Next followed the long period of training to do the work. This training on Jesus’’ part was accompanied by prayer, worship, and meditation where Jesus tried to ascertain the nature of the work and how to accomplish it. This was a long period of training and was paralleled by responsibilities that had to be discharged before he could complete the final training phase and begin the work. Finally after all the training was completed, the nature of the work understood, and the method of the work identified, he launched forth with his work. Jesus knew that John was to announce the beginning of his work, and as John drew near to where Jesus was working, Jesus knew the time had come. He went to meet John in the Jordan, and subsequent events proved that his hour had indeed come.
How do we know when it is time to begin?
In carrying out some identified work for the heavenly Father, from the human side, there are some principles that must be followed: first, the work must be identified. This usually appears in the mind at an early age, though the person at that time may not recognize it as the work as such. This work may incubate in the soul for a long time. But every so often, the spirit will bring this work to the conscious mind, so that the individual never really forgets it. This is the identification process.
Next follows the long training period necessary to complete the work. From the human point of view, this usually presents responsibilities that must be carried out until the work is to begin. This is the training process.
Next, circumstances, timing, and the actors all have to be in place for the work to be successful. This is the opportunity process. The opportunity to do the work only appears after the identification process, the training process, after all responsibilities that may interfere with the work have been successfully discharged. To attempt to act before these processes are completed can only end in failure. Finally there follows that process where all doubts are overcome and the individual launches forward with the work.
During this long period of training, the individual receives guidance. As he looks forward to the future, his guidance is of faith, for we must always remember that "without faith, it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." By exercising faith in the Father, we receive his guidance. When he looks back to the past, he sees the results of this guidance, and this guidance is true, beautiful, and good. The realization of this guidance becomes the assurance to continue to stay the course, realizing that when the training period is over, the door of opportunity will open, demonstrating the discernment and revelation of the Father’’s will.
This concludes today's message on the discernment of the divine will. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.