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查明上帝的旨意

作者:道格•巴契勒牧师日期:2013-03-05 10:28:23浏览数:17226
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奇妙真相:1692年,一场大地震袭击了牙买加的罗亚尔港市,整个城市沉入海底。在此之前,许多人曾预言这个腐败的海盗与杀手之城终必遭受上帝的审判。因此,任何人都未因这场灾难感到惊讶,尤其是那些与恶人同遭厄运的为数不多的虔诚人,其中有个人名叫刘易斯•加第。第一波强烈的地震将加第深埋地下。奇妙的是,他当时神志清醒并意识到发生了何事,藉着祷告,他将自己交托于上帝的旨意之中。然而片刻后,另一波地震将他高高抛至翻腾的海洋上空。加第安然无恙地落入水中畅游,直到一只小船将他救起。

世界上最安全的地方就是行在上帝的旨意之中。无论你身陷战争、台风、龙卷风、火山爆发还是地震,只要行在上帝的旨意之中就无须担忧。圣经说:“这世界和其上的情欲都要过去,惟独遵行上帝旨意的,是永远常存。”(约一2:17)你若遵循上帝的旨意,就有永生。

身为牧师,我常听到这样的问题:“怎样才能知道自己在做上帝要我做的事呢?如何查明上帝对我人生的旨意?”这些问题都非常好。实际上,这是你能提出的最重要的问题。为什么?因为耶稣曾教导我们,像祂一样对上帝说:“愿袮的旨意成就。”

当然,我们必须遵守上帝旨意的总则,它们普遍适用。圣洁、仁爱、真实是上帝对每一个人的旨意。但就像形状各异、独一无二的雪花一般,主对每个人都有各自的计划。

若要明白上帝的旨意,我们当从何开始?

人一生中要面对许多重大的抉择。高中毕业时,年轻人必须要问:“我要去哪所大学?学什么专业?要不要去?”接下来还得选择工作和伴侣。“我要从事哪种工作?要不要结婚?和谁结婚?”

要想知道上帝在各种情形中对我们的旨意,先要解决一些基本问题。

首先,也是最重要的,就是上帝对你的旨意是“得救”。主“不愿有一人沉沦,乃愿人人都悔改。”(彼后3:9)倘若你没有与基督建立救赎的关系,那么请你将生活中正从事的,如工作,置于次要地位。

第二,当自然灾害来袭时,保险公司往往将其归究为“上帝的作为”。事实并非总是如此。不是所有事情的发生都是上帝的旨意。尽管上帝不愿任何人沉沦,但还是有人正走向灭亡。显然,你我都曾在生活中违背上帝的旨意。

此外,若上帝的旨意总能成就,祂为何还教导我们为此祷告呢?因此我们必须在生活中寻求上帝的旨意。由于祂的旨意并非总能成就,为了上帝之国的缘故,我们必须竭尽全力去寻求并遵行主的旨意。

以下简列几点,可以帮助你在生活中查明上帝的旨意。这几点乃是出自我最为尊敬的群体:圣灵通过圣经的宣讲,伟大的圣经学者和释经家,以及我的朋友和同道牧师。我相信每点都是基于上帝的圣言和常识。

乐意与降服

第一步最为重要,往往也是最困难的:乐意与降服。约翰福音7章17节:“人若立志遵着祂的旨意行,就必晓得这教训或是出于上帝,或是我凭着自己说的。”倘若你一晓得祂的旨意就愿真心去行,那么上帝就必会让你明白祂的旨意。因此,请祈求上帝赐你一颗乐意顺服的心!

此外,在希望主带领你到某个彰显祂的地步之前,你先要降服于祂。如果你的心处于叛逆的状态,不愿降服,那上帝怎么会向你显明祂的旨意呢?祂这样做只能加强你千丝万缕的负罪感。

我特别喜欢这样简单的祷告:“主啊,袮是针,我是线,袮在前面行,无论领我到何方,我都愿意跟随。”这正是辨明上帝旨意所需的谦虚态度(见诗25:9)。你或许不喜欢祂要显明的旨意,但是在你还不晓得之前,就要下此决心——靠着主的恩典,无论这旨意是什么,我都愿意遵行。

接受上帝话语的引导

“袮的话是我脚前的灯,是我路上的光。”(诗119:105)在寻求上帝的旨意时,你需要比平日更加殷勤地查考圣经。祈求上帝帮助你在祂的圣言中寻得对你生命具体的指南。

关于你正在考虑的某些具体的选择,有时可以在圣经中找到相关的论述。圣经中的确有许多实例论到上帝的旨意。对于初信之人而言,上帝的律法可以帮你辨明祂对你的旨意。也就是说你可以在诫命中找到明确的答案。

作为牧师,许多已婚基督徒的问题仍使我感到惊讶,“我是否该离开自己的配偶和另一个人一起生活?”他们或许会说:“这种感觉不错,我们能看到上帝的赐福。这应该就是上帝对我们的旨意。”你根本无需为此祈求,因为答案就在十诫中。上帝已经清晰地告诉祂的百姓切不可如此行。“我乐意照袮的旨意行,袮的律法在我心里。”(诗40:8)

考虑基督徒的劝告

“无智谋,民就败落;谋士多,人便安居。”(箴11:14)当寻求上帝的旨意时,可以请教那些判断力健全并会对你开诚布公的人。

什么样的谋士?“你们不要自欺,滥交是败坏善行。”(林前15:33)换句话说,不要请教那些连自己的生活都一团糟的人;他们大概不是给你忠告的最佳人选。

然而,虔诚的朋友可以帮助你对自身进行切合实际的评估,并发现你的恩赐和才干。他们可以指出某个你从未考虑过的方向。成长岁月中,谁都没想过我会成为一名牧师,我也没想到自己会成为一名信徒。但当我开始带领朋友学习圣经时,越来越多我所尊敬的人对我说:“道格,考虑过当一名牧师吗?我们认为你有那方面的恩赐。”由于这些虔诚之人都这样建议,我便朝这个方向发展。你若求问上帝,祂也会为你行同样的事。

祷告(并且禁食)

“我们若照祂的旨意求什么,祂就听我们,这是我们向祂所存坦然无惧的心。既然知道祂听我们一切所求的,就知道我们所求于祂的,无不得着。”(约一5:14,15)若想明白上帝的旨意,就当祈求祂的带领。但你也要照着祂的旨意求。

在约翰福音15章15节,耶稣说:“以后我不再称你们为仆人,因仆人不知道主人所做的事;我乃称你们为朋友,因我从我父所听见的,已经都告诉你们了。”如果你想知道上帝的旨意,就当成为祂的朋友。如何成为祂的朋友呢?要和祂交谈。朋友们总是一起讨论他们的计划,因此要花时间祈祷,向主倾心吐意。上帝会向祂的朋友和仆人显明其旨意。

除祷告之外,为更加清晰地明了上帝的旨意,你还需要禁食。历代志下20章记载以色列人被仇敌围困,约沙法王命令百姓禁食祷告。上帝回应了他们的顺从,引导并拯救了这个民族。禁食往往使人头脑清醒,帮助我们除去掺杂在属灵原则中的肉体的情欲。简单地说,就是改善上帝与人之间的“无线电接收器”。

荣耀上帝,切勿自私

“所以,你们或吃或喝,无论作什么,都要为荣耀上帝而行。”(林前10:31)在寻求上帝的旨意时,务必要避开那些不能荣耀祂的选择。倘若你的某一项选择会危害到你或他人进入祂的国度,那一定是错误的选项。(见太6:33)

在做每一个决定时都当问:“主啊,这是否能为袮接触到更多的人?如何行才会为袮的国度做出最大的贡献?”这是你决定过程中至关重要的因素,也是尽心、尽意、尽性、尽力爱上帝的一部分。

就像在我们的决定中要考虑上帝的荣耀一样,我们须牢记我们的该决定对于邻舍——不管是自己的伴侣、双亲、儿女还是其他人——的影响。“我们没有一个人为自己活,也没有一个人为自己死。”(罗14:7)

当听到人们试图为自己的一生做出决定时,我总是感到悲哀,因为他们只是说:“这对我意味着什么?”然而,他们应该考虑自己的家庭以及这个决定会对周围的人产生什么影响。加拉太书5章14节说:“因为全律法都包在‘爱人如己’这一句话之内了。”一个不问“这对我有什么好处”的人乃是其真悔改的印记。

忍耐和忠心

“那先前忍耐的人,我们称他们是有福的。你们听见过约伯的忍耐,也知道主给他的结局,明显主是满心怜悯,大有慈悲。”(雅5:11)在确定上帝的旨意时,你必须忍耐。

有时候我们会变得焦躁不安,跃跃欲试,不断猜测自己该做什么。我们觉得该趁早行动,宜早不宜迟,但有时上帝希望我们等待。相信我,等待上帝的旨意而获得合适的工作,美好的伴侣,正确的学校,要比冲在主前面却找到不合适的工作、糟糕的伴侣或不对口的学校好得多。你若没有耐心,便会经历很多痛苦。

实际上,明显的延迟可能意味着自己不选择。而上帝的旨意将会以特快专递临到你。此时你需要做的就是静观其变。上帝可能会说:“待在这儿别动,我会改变一切,无需你动手。”

“无论作什么,都要从心里作,像是给主作的,不是给人作的。”(西3:23)当你耐心等候新的指示之时,请继续尽心从事手头的工作。许多人因为太急于渴求新鲜事物,而无法成全此刻上帝对他们生活的美好旨意。

数算凭据

“凭两三个人的口作见证,句句都要定准。”(林后13:1)当你刚刚开启全球定位系统GPS装置时,它不会立刻告诉你所处的方位和当走的路线。你需要稍等片刻,让装置获取卫星信号。然而你会发现即使它已经提供了某条路线,往往还会说:“等待连接更多卫星”或“等待更为精确的定位”。当连接上另一颗卫星时,它会为你提供更为精准的方位,因为它已经对你的位置做了“三角测量”。

在探索上帝的旨意时也须如此。到此,有关如何确定上帝在你生活中各个方面的旨意,我们已经查考了许多经文准则。在真正明白上帝对你的指示之前,有时你需要将许多此类准则相互配搭,进行“三角测量”。

列一个表。自问:“上帝的圣言对此有何说法?”如果答案不够明确,再问:“我的‘谋士’怎么说?”以及“哪种选择能真正荣耀上帝?”要不断盘点结论,直到你做出可以稳稳站在其上的决定。

上帝纯全的旨意

罗马书12章2节说:“不要效法这个世界,只要心意更新而变化,叫你们察验何为上帝的善良、纯全、可喜悦的旨意。” 许多挂名的基督徒发现自己所行的并非上帝纯全的旨意,便变得沮丧不安。结果,他们本可成为上帝始终如一的见证人,却终未达到。

虽然我们因罪与上帝隔绝,但祂已赐下探知祂旨意的方法,及遵循这旨意的力量。最终,每一个进天国的子民都会行上帝纯全的旨意。如果我们想去天国,必须现在就开始实践。

你的生活是否偏离了轨道?你是否在为做出正确的选择而犯难?你是否害怕上帝会领你到某个地步——越过了你的舒适地带,或到某个陌生之地呢?切记,上帝不愿把最糟的给你,而是最好的。你必须信靠祂,到末时你会在祂的旨意中始终保持那超乎他人的喜乐之心。愿你成为窑匠手中柔软可塑的泥土,并不断检查自己。这样你不仅会在天国里欢喜快乐,此时此刻在地上也会如此。愿上帝赐福您!

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Determining the Will of God

By Pastor Doug Batchelor

An Amazing Fact: In 1692, the city of Port Royal, Jamaica, literally slid into the sea when it was struck by a massive earthquake. Many had predicted that this corrupt city of pirates and cutthroats would one day suffer God’s judgment. Therefore, the disaster surprised no one, least of all the handful of religious men who were swept to their doom along with the wicked. One such man was Lewis Galdy. When the first violent shock came, Galdy was buried deep beneath the earth. Amazingly, he remained conscious and understood what had happened. In prayer, he resigned himself to the will of God. But a few moments later, another earthquake threw Galdy high in the air and out over the churning sea. He landed unhurt in the water and swam until a boat picked him up.

The safest place in the world to be is in the middle of God’s will.

It doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by war, typhoons, tornados, volcanos, or earthquakes; if you’re in the middle of God’s will, you have nothing to worry about. The Bible says, “The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17 NKJV). If you are following God’s will, you have eternal life.

As a pastor, I often hear the questions: “How do I know that I’m doing what God wants me to do? How do I determine the will of God for my life?” These are very good questions. In fact, they’re the most important questions you can ask. Why? Because Jesus taught us to say “Thy will be done.”

Of course, we all must abide by the general principles regarding the will of God, which are universal. It is God’s will for everyone to be holy, loving, and true. But the Lord also has individual plans for each person that are as varied and unique as snowflakes.

Where Do We Begin?

We face a lot of big decisions in our lifetimes. When young people get out of high school, they have to ask: “What college will I attend? What will I study? Will I even go?” Then they must decide about a job and a spouse. “What job should I pursue? Who am I going to marry? Should I marry at all?”

Before we get into determining what God would have you do in any given circumstance, let’s deal with some basics. First and foremost, it is God’s will for you to be saved. The Lord is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). What you are doing in life as a vocation should take a back seat if you don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Second, when a natural disaster strikes, insurance companies often refer to it as “an act of God.” That’s not always true. Not everything that happens is the will of God. Even though God is not willing that any should perish, some are going to perish. Obviously, you and I have also done things in our lives that were out of God’s will.

Besides, why would He tell us to pray that His will be done if it is always done anyway? That’s why we should be pursuing the will of God in our lives. Because God’s will doesn’t always happen, we have to do our best to search out — and be in — God’s will for the sake of His kingdom.

So I’m going to give you a brief list that will help you determine God’s will in your life. This list comes from those whom I respect the most: the Holy Spirit speaking through the Bible, great Bible scholars and commentators, and friends and fellow pastors. I believe this list is both grounded in the Word of God and everyday common sense.

Be Willing and Surrendered
The first step is the most important and often the most difficult: Be willing and surrendered. John 7:17 says, “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (NKJV). God will let you know His will — if you are truly willing to do it once you know what it is. Ask God to give you a submissive and willing heart.

Moreover, surrender yourself to Jesus before expecting Him to lead you some place to work on His behalf. If your heart is in a state of rebellion and you’re not surrendered, why would God show you His will? All He would do is add to your compounded guilt.

I especially like this simple prayer, “Lord, you be the needle, I’ll be the thread. You go first, and I’ll follow wherever you lead.” That’s the kind of humble attitude we need to discern God’s will. (See Psalm 25:9.) You might not like what He’s about to show you, but make up your mind that by His grace you will do it before you even know what it is.

Be Guided by His Word
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). When you are searching for God’s will, you need to open the Bible even more than you normally would. Ask God to help you find specific guidance for your life in His Word.

Sometimes, it’s possible to find out what the Bible says on the exact options you’re considering. Indeed, the Word has a lot of practical things to say about God’s will. For starters, the law of God can help you discern whether He wants you to do one thing or another. That can mean an emphatic “yes” or “no” found right in the commandments.

As a pastor, I’m still surprised that a lot of married Christians wonder, “Should I leave my spouse and go off with another person?” They might say, “It just feels so right. We can see God’s blessing. We see this as God’s will for us.” But this isn’t something you need to pray about. The answer is right in the Ten Commandments. God has clearly told His people never to do this kind of thing. “I delight to do thy will, … thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
Consider Christian Counsel

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). When searching for God’s will, find others who have good judgment and will be honest with you.

What kind of counselors? “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NKJV). In other words, don’t get counsel from people whose lives are a disaster; they’re probably not in the best position to give you advice.

However, godly friends can help you take honest inventory of yourself and discover your gifts and talents. They might point you in a direction you weren’t even considering. Growing up, no one thought I was going to be a pastor. It didn’t occur to me when I became a believer. But when I started giving Bible studies to friends, more and more people I respected said, “Doug, have you considered the ministry? We think you have a gift in that area.” So through collective counsel of godly people, I moved in this direction. God will do the same for you, if you ask Him.

Pray (and Fast)
“This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14, 15). When you want to know God’s will, you need to pray He will guide you. But you also need to harmonize your requests with His will.

In John 15:15, Jesus says, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (NKJV). If you want to know the will of God, be a friend of God. How do you become His friend? You talk to Him. Friends talk about their plans together, so spend time praying and talking to the Lord. God reveals His will to His friends and servants.

In addition to prayer, your discernment of God’s will might include fasting, which is a deeper level of seeking clarity. In 2 Chronicles 20, when Israel was surrounded by her enemies, Jehoshaphat commanded the people to fast and pray. In response to their obedience, God gave the nation guidance and deliverance. Fasting often clears the mind and helps us separate the carnal desires from spiritual priorities. Put more simply, the radio reception improves.

Glorify God and Don’t Be Selfish

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). When you are seeking after God’s will, make sure you avoid options that don’t glorify Him. If one of your options is going to harm His kingdom, then it is the wrong option. (See Matthew 6:33.)

In every decision, ask, “Lord, is this going to reach more people for you? What will make the biggest impact for your kingdom?” This is a vital factor in your decision process. It is part of loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

And much like considering God’s glory in our decisions, we need to remember the effect it will have on our neighbors — whether that’s our spouse, parents, children, or whoever. “None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7).

I’m always saddened when I hear people trying to make a decision about their life, and all they’re saying is, “What is this going to mean for me?” Instead, they need to be thinking of their families and how their decision is going to affect those around them. Galatians 5:14 says, “All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” It’s a sign of true conversion when someone isn’t always saying, “What’s in it for me?”

Be Patient and Faithful

“We count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11). In deciding the will of God, you must be patient.
Sometimes we become restless and want to do just about anything but keep guessing at what we should do. We want to act sooner than later, but sometimes God wants you to wait. Believe me, you’re better off waiting for God’s will having the right job, the right spouse, or the right school than rushing ahead of the Lord and having the wrong job, the wrong spouse, or the wrong school. You’re going to be miserable if you aren’t patient.

In fact, apparent delays could mean that rather than you picking an option, God’s will is coming to you special delivery. You just need to stay where you are and watch what happens. God could be saying, “Stay right there. I’m going to change everything without you doing anything.”

“Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). But while you’re waiting patiently for new directions, continue to do the work at hand with all your heart. Many fail to fulfill the present will of God for their lives because they are too busy longing for something different.

Tally the Evidence

“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1). When you first turn on a GPS device, it can’t tell you immediately your location or which way you need to go. You need to wait a moment as the device begins to acquire satellites. But you’ll notice that it will often say “awaiting more satellites” or “awaiting better accuracy” even though it has already given you a path to go. As it picks up another satellite, it will give you more accurate directions because it has “triangulated” your position.

It should work that way when you are trying to discover God’s will. We’ve looked at a number of biblical criteria of how you can determine the will of God in any aspect of your life. Sometimes you are going to need a number of these criteria to overlap, to “triangulate,” before you can truly see where God is pointing you.

Make a list. Ask yourself, “What does God’s Word say.” If the answer isn’t as obvious as you think you need, ask, “What do my counselors say?” and “Which one of my choices truly glorifies God?” Keep tallying the results until you have a decision you can stand on firmly.

The Perfect Will of God

Romans 12:2 says, “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.” Many otherwise faithful Christians are finding themselves doing the imperfect will of God. They are restless and unhappy. As a result, they aren’t being the consistent witness God knows they could be.

Even though we’re separated from God because of sin, He has given us a way to discover His will — and the power to do it. Eventually, everyone in heaven will be doing the perfect will of God. If we want to be there, we must start practicing right now!

Is your life off track? Are you struggling to make the right decision? Are you afraid of where God might lead you — out of your comfort zone and into a strange land? Remember always that God doesn’t want what’s worst for you; He wants what’s best for you. You’ve got to trust Him that in the end, you’ll always be happier being in the middle of His will. Be pliable clay in the Potter’s hands and keep calibrating. Not only will you have joy in heaven; you’ll have it right here on earth.