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How do I learn to Discern the WILL OF GOD ? /

Hoe leer ek om die WIL VAN GOD te onderskei ?

Most people say from time to time, “I’d like to know God’s will for me in regard to this particular situation.” Is such knowledge possible? We should first ask, “Does God want us to know His will?” The answer is “yes!” In the most basic sense, that’s why He has given us His Word, the Bible. Furthermore, obedience hinges on knowledge. How can we obey Him if we don’t know what He wants us to do?

Paul taught that we can discern the will of God: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Colossians 1:9, emphasis added; cf. Colossians 4:12). Elsewhere, Paul commands his readers to understand God’s will: “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:17). And we are “to test and approve what God’s will is” (Romans 12:2). Seeking to know God’s will is a good pursuit.

Below are some general principles we can use in seeking to discover the particulars of God’s will. (The content has been adapted from various sources, particularly Charles Stanley’s The Will of God: Understanding and Pursuing His Ultimate Plan for Your Life, Howard Books, 2019.)

1. The Comprehensive Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16–17; Psalm 119:105; Isaiah 8:20). The Bible reveals God’s general will for us and His will regarding certain specific matters (such as loving others, speaking truth, maintaining sexual purity, etc.). In any given situation, we should first determine if the Bible addresses the issue either specifically or in principle. If so, we have God’s will in the matter. This is a “screen out” criterion because God will never lead us to do something that contradicts His Word.

2. Complete Consecration (Psalm 37:3–4; John 7:17; Romans 12:1–2; 2 Corinthians 8:5). God calls us to full commitment to Him. If we are only looking for guidance in one area, disregarding God’s will in the rest of our lives, we are missing the point. God’s will involves more than just what type of employment to pursue or which car to buy; it covers holiness and consecration in every area of life.

3. Commitment in Advance to Do God’s Will (Luke 22:42; Psalm 40:8; Hebrews 10:7–9; John 4:34; 5:30). When seeking God’s will, we must be willing to do His will when we discover what it is—even if we don’t particularly like it. Of course, we have our inclinations and preferences. But we need to be willing to set aside preference in favor of God’s perfect (and thus best) choice. Nineteenth-century evangelist George Müller had this testimony of how he sought God’s will: “I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is” (Answers to Prayer: from George Müller’s Narratives, compiled by A.E.C. Brooks, Lector House, 2020). Do we begrudgingly deign to do His will, more fully desire to do His will, or genuinely delight to do His will?

4. Call upon the Lord (Pray) (Matthew 6:10; Luke 6:12–13; James 1:5). To know God’s will, we should ask Him for wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). The asking needs to be done in faith, with no doubting (James 1:6).

5. Circumstances (Acts 15:36–41; 1 Corinthians 16:9; Philippians 1:12–13). God often sovereignly arranges circumstances to align in such a way that they point us a certain direction. God works in us; He also works around us (see Acts 16:6–10). Circumstances can be misinterpreted, so caution is advised and prayer is needed, but events can indeed help confirm and guide us in God’s will.

6. Counsel (Proverbs 7:24; 15:22; 24:6; 28:26; Acts 13:2–3; 15:1–41). Godly counsel from mature Christians can be invaluable in discovering God’s will. A wise counselor, knowing the counselee and the details of the situation, will provide perspective. The advice will be based on solid biblical truth and tailored to the individual.

7. Common Sense (Proverbs 23:19; Titus 2:11–12). Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “Common sense is something everyone needs, few have, and none think they lack.” Common sense plays a part in much of what we do. We should not trust intuition or native sagacity to the exclusion of other things, but neither should we ignore our God-given ability to analyze and reason. God often works through ordinary means. There are times when God’s will may be contrary to common sense—feeding the 5,000 with a boy’s lunch did not make sense to the disciples—but most of the time taking a reasoned, sensible approach is befitting godliness.

8. Consider the Leading of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:7–13; Romans 8:27; 1 John 2:20). The Holy Spirit leads children of God seeking to walk in His will. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14). The Holy Spirit can lead in a particular direction over days, years, or even decades to prepare us for His purposes (see Romans 8:28–30; Hebrews 11). He has also gifted each believer in a specific way (1 Peter 4:10). One’s giftedness could be another indicator for or against a specific course of action.

9. Contentment (Philippians 4:6–7; Colossians 3:15–17). Generally speaking, if we don’t have peace about something, we shouldn’t do it. This doesn’t mean we won’t have any concerns, but we will have a confidence that we are moving in the direction of God’s choosing and a sense of peace that we undertake the path at God’s direction. “Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves” (Romans 14:22).

10. Gospel Consciousness and Overall Consequences (1 Corinthians 3:12–15; 9:19–23; Philippians 2:3–4; Colossians 3:17, 23–24). Paul looked at “the big picture” in discovering the will of God for himself. He evaluated situations and decisions in terms of how they would impact the proclamation and ministry of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:19–23). And he gives us this principle: “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). Considering the situation in light of God’s character and His overarching plan can provide clarity. Will this decision honor God, or will it grieve His heart?

11. Stewardship Considerations (Luke 19:11–26; 1 Corinthians 4:1–2; 2 Timothy 2:4). We are stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. This includes our time, talents, treasures, health, and spiritual gifting. And we must discern proper priorities: the good is often the enemy of the best. Will this course of action enhance our effectiveness for the Lord or lessen it?

12. Do God’s Will as You Discover It (Psalm 143:10; Mark 3:35; John 13:17; Philippians 2:12–13; James 4:13–17). God doesn’t show us His will as an academic exercise or to satisfy our curiosity. He shows us His will so that we may do it. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Conclusion and Summary. God wants us to know His will. The details of His plan become apparent as we study His Word and follow Him. The twelve principles listed above should help the process. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Die meeste mense sê van tyd tot tyd: “Ek wil graag weet wat God se wil vir my is met betrekking tot hierdie spesifieke situasie.” Is sulke kennis moontlik? Ons moet eers vra: “Wil God hê ons moet Sy wil ken?” Die antwoord is “ja!” In die mees basiese sin is dit hoekom Hy Sy Woord, die Bybel, aan ons gegee het. Verder hang gehoorsaamheid af van kennis. Hoe kan ons Hom gehoorsaam as ons nie weet wat Hy wil hê ons moet doen nie?

Paulus het geleer dat ons die wil van God kan onderskei: “Om hierdie rede, van die dag af dat ons van jou gehoor het, hou ons nie op om vir jou te bid nie. Ons vra God voortdurend om julle te vervul met die kennis van sy wil deur al die wysheid en insig wat die Gees gee” (Kolossense 1:9, beklemtoning bygevoeg; vgl. Kolossense 4:12). Elders beveel Paulus sy lesers om God se wil te verstaan: “Daarom moet julle nie dwaas wees nie, maar verstaan ​​wat die wil van die Here is” (Efesiërs 5:17). En ons moet “toets en goedkeur wat God se wil is” (Romeine 12:2). Om God se wil te ken is ‘n goeie strewe.

Hieronder is ‘n paar algemene beginsels wat ons kan gebruik om die besonderhede van God se wil te ontdek. (Die inhoud is aangepas uit verskeie bronne, veral Charles Stanley se The Will of God: Understanding and Pursuing His Ultimate Plan for Your Life, Howard Books, 2019.)

1. Die Omvattende Woord van God (2 Timoteus 3:16–17; Psalm 119:105; Jesaja 8:20). Die Bybel openbaar God se algemene wil vir ons en Sy wil met betrekking tot sekere spesifieke sake (soos om ander lief te hê, waarheid te praat, seksuele reinheid te handhaaf, ens.). In enige gegewe situasie moet ons eers bepaal of die Bybel die kwessie óf spesifiek óf in beginsel aanspreek. Indien wel, het ons God se wil in die saak. Dit is ‘n “screen out”-kriterium want God sal ons nooit lei om iets te doen wat Sy Woord weerspreek nie.

2. Volledige toewyding (Psalm 37:3–4; Johannes 7:17; Romeine 12:1–2; 2 Korinthiërs 8:5). God roep ons tot volle toewyding aan Hom. As ons net op een gebied leiding soek, en God se wil in die res van ons lewens verontagsaam, mis ons die punt. God se wil behels meer as net watter tipe werk om na te streef of watter motor om te koop; dit dek heiligheid en toewyding op elke terrein van die lewe.

3. Toewyding vooraf om God se wil te doen (Luk. 22:42; Psalm 40:8; Hebreërs 10:7–9; Johannes 4:34; 5:30). Wanneer ons God se wil soek, moet ons bereid wees om Sy wil te doen wanneer ons ontdek wat dit is – al hou ons nie juis daarvan nie. Natuurlik het ons ons neigings en voorkeure. Maar ons moet bereid wees om voorkeur tersyde te stel ten gunste van God se perfekte (en dus beste) keuse. Die negentiende-eeuse evangelis George Müller het hierdie getuienis gehad van hoe hy God se wil gesoek het: “Ek soek aan die begin om my hart in so ‘n toestand te kry dat dit geen wil van sy eie het met betrekking tot ‘n gegewe saak nie. Nege tiendes van die moeilikheid met mense is net hier. Nege-tiendes van die probleme word oorkom wanneer ons harte gereed is om die Here se wil te doen, wat dit ook al mag wees. Wanneer ‘n mens werklik in hierdie toestand is, is dit gewoonlik maar ‘n bietjie weg na die kennis van wat Sy wil is” (Answers to Prayer: from George Müller’s Narratives, saamgestel deur A.E.C. Brooks, Lector House, 2020). Vermag ons ons teësinnig om Sy wil te doen, begeer ons meer volledig om Sy wil te doen, of verheug ons ons om Sy wil te doen?

4. Roep die Here aan (Bid) (Matteus 6:10; Lukas 6:12–13; Jakobus 1:5). Om God se wil te ken, moet ons Hom vir wysheid vra: “As een van julle wysheid kortkom, moet julle God vra, wat aan almal mildelik gee sonder om skuld te vind, en dit sal aan julle gegee word” (Jakobus 1:5). Die vra moet in geloof gedoen word, sonder twyfel (Jakobus 1:6).

5. Omstandighede (Handelinge 15:36–41; 1 Korintiërs 16:9; Filippense 1:12–13). God reël dikwels soewerein omstandighede om so in lyn te kom dat dit vir ons ‘n sekere rigting aandui. God werk in ons; Hy werk ook rondom ons (sien Handelinge 16:6–10). Omstandighede kan verkeerd geïnterpreteer word, daarom word versigtigheid aangeraai en gebed is nodig, maar gebeure kan ons inderdaad help om God se wil te bevestig en te lei.

6. Raad (Spreuke 7:24; 15:22; 24:6; 28:26; Handelinge 13:2–3; 15:1–41). Goddelike raad van volwasse Christene kan van onskatbare waarde wees om God se wil te ontdek. ‘n Wyse berader, wat die beradene en die besonderhede van die situasie ken, sal perspektief verskaf. Die advies sal gebaseer wees op vaste Bybelse waarheid en aangepas vir die individu.

7. Gesonde verstand (Spreuke 23:19; Titus 2:11–12). Benjamin Franklin word gekrediteer deur te sê: “Gesonde verstand is iets wat almal nodig het, min het, en niemand dink hulle kort nie.” Gesonde verstand speel ‘n rol in baie van wat ons doen. Ons moet nie intuïsie of inheemse verstandigheid vertrou met die uitsluiting van ander dinge nie, maar ons moet ook nie ons Godgegewe vermoë om te ontleed en redeneer, ignoreer nie. God werk dikwels deur gewone maniere. Daar is tye wanneer God se wil dalk in stryd is met gesonde verstand – om die 5 000 met ‘n seun se middagete te voed het nie sin gemaak vir die dissipels nie – maar die meeste van die tyd om ‘n beredeneerde, verstandige benadering te volg pas by godsaligheid.

8. Oorweeg die Leiding van die Heilige Gees (Johannes 14:26; 16:7–13; Romeine 8:27; 1 Johannes 2:20). Die Heilige Gees lei kinders van God wat soek om in Sy wil te wandel. “Want hulle wat deur die Gees van God gelei word, is kinders van God” (Romeine 8:14). Die Heilige Gees kan oor dae, jare of selfs dekades in ‘n bepaalde rigting lei om ons vir Sy doeleindes voor te berei (sien Romeine 8:28–30; Hebreërs 11). Hy het ook elke gelowige op ‘n spesifieke manier geskenk (1 Petrus 4:10). ‘n Mens se begaafdheid kan nog ‘n aanduiding vir of teen ‘n spesifieke aksie wees.

9. Tevredenheid (Filippense 4:6–7; Kolossense 3:15–17). Oor die algemeen, as ons nie vrede oor iets het nie, moet ons dit nie doen nie. Dit beteken nie dat ons geen bekommernisse sal hê nie, maar ons sal die vertroue hê dat ons in die rigting van God se keuse beweeg en ‘n gevoel van vrede dat ons die pad in God se rigting aanpak. “Geseënd is hy wat homself nie veroordeel deur wat hy goedkeur nie” (Romeine 14:22).

10. Evangeliebewustheid en algehele gevolge (1 Korintiërs 3:12–15; 9:19–23; Filippense 2:3–4; Kolossense 3:17, 23–24). Paulus het na “die groot prentjie” gekyk deur die wil van God vir homself te ontdek. Hy het situasies en besluite geëvalueer in terme van hoe dit die verkondiging en bediening van die evangelie sou beïnvloed (1 Korintiërs 9:19–23). En hy gee vir ons hierdie beginsel: “Wat julle ook al doen, hetsy in woord of in daad, doen dit alles in die Naam van die Here Jesus en dank God die Vader deur Hom” (Kolossense 3:17). Om die situasie in die lig van God se karakter en Sy oorkoepelende plan te oorweeg, kan duidelikheid verskaf. Sal hierdie besluit God eer, of sal dit Sy hart bedroef?

11. Rentmeesterskapoorwegings (Luk. 19:11–26; 1 Korintiërs 4:1–2; 2 Timoteus 2:4). Ons is rentmeesters van alles wat God aan ons toevertrou het. Dit sluit ons tyd, talente, skatte, gesondheid en geestelike gawes in. En ons moet behoorlike prioriteite onderskei: die goeie is dikwels die vyand van die bestes. Sal hierdie optrede ons doeltreffendheid vir die Here verbeter of dit verminder?

12. Doen God se wil soos jy dit ontdek (Psalm 143:10; Markus 3:35; Johannes 13:17; Filippense 2:12–13; Jakobus 4:13–17). God wys nie vir ons Sy wil as ‘n akademiese oefening of om ons nuuskierigheid te bevredig nie. Hy wys ons Sy wil sodat ons dit kan doen. Jakobus 1:22 sê: “Moenie net na die woord luister nie, en mislei julleself so. Doen wat dit sê.”

Gevolgtrekking en Opsomming. God wil hê dat ons Sy wil moet ken. Die besonderhede van Sy plan word duidelik namate ons Sy Woord bestudeer en Hom volg. Die twaalf beginsels hierbo gelys behoort die proses te help.

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