Acts 12 gives us some insight about the difference between zeal with desire and faith with discernment. Herod Agrippa had the Apostle James killed and saw how it pleased the Jewish people. So he imprisoned the Apostle Peter and had him under heavy guard awaiting trial. Verse 5 tells us that while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him. An angel of The Lord was sent to help him miraculously escape. Peter immediately went to where the church was praying. Notice what happened in the following verses:
Peter knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!” “You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.” Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. (Acts 12:13-16 NLT).
Notice that they had the zeal and desire to see Peter freed, but where was the faith and discernment? They were so shocked that they couldn’t even think straight.
We must be careful never to confuse the difference between zeal with desire and faith with discernment. I have seen the heartache that pastors, evangelists, and fellow christians have inflicted on people when they speak out in zeal with desire in the place of faith with discernment. They boldly declared as fact, as if from the Holy Spirit, that people would be healed on this earth of cancer or disease, but instead those people died a horrible death. The by-standers are then left with much confusion.
Whoever declares such statements must ensure that it is by faith with discernment it will take place. That it is by direct revelation from the Holy Spirit. Otherwise they must make it plain and clear that their zeal and desire rests in the will of The Lord. The danger is if they try to lead the Holy Spirit, rather than being led by the Holy Spirit. Their message must not be mis-understood so that false hope is planted, only to be uprooted later. Some people’s faith has been shipwrecked because of it. As powerful a man of God can be with the gift of healing, there are times the Holy Spirit does not reveal things (see 2 Kings 4:27).
For more on the subject of discernment see: