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12. THROUGH TESTIMONIES
God also speaks to us through our past personal experiences and experiences of other people. Paul said, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you,” (Philippians 4:9). Scripture also says, “Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised,” (Hebrews 6:12)
We can therefore learn the will of God from both the good and bad personal experiences and those of other people. The good experiences show us how the good fruits were inherited. The bad experiences show us how bad fruits came and warn us not to repeat it.
Many of us grow up quite deaf in this area. That’s why history tends to repeat itself. The temptation to repeat what made others fall is quite high. We usually think, “well it’s not going to happen to me.” Fortunately, the grace of God is abundantly available to empower us not to repeat what God has warned us about.
We can always pray for his grace whenever need arises - when it’s very tempting to repeat the sin others or we committed in the past. “Lord I have heard what you have said concerning this matter… By your grace, enable me not to repeat the sin. I ask in the saving name of Jesus, Amen.” Otherwise, we’ll be counted as fools if we repeat it. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly,” (Proverbs 26: 11).
13. THROUGH INBORN (NATURAL) GIFTS AND PERSONALITY ATTRIBUTES
Before we were born God already had a purpose for each of us. He predestined each of us to come on this earth. Scripture says we have been “predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” (Ephesians 1:11). So he made us in a particular way to suit the purpose he had for us. The parents we were born to was his design, our sex, physical and personality attributes and so on are not an accident.
Each one of us is therefore in God’s design. Inside that design God has all the details about his plans for us - the right career (ministry), the right spouse, friends, areas of residence per period, number of children and so on. God says to every one of us, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, and plans to give you hope and a future,” (Jeremiah 29:11). There’s therefore, only one reason for every individual’s existence – to fulfil God’s plan for his life. Outside that, life is meaningless, a mere struggle and wilderness of trials and temptations. No amount of fame, social status, money and power can bring a sense of fulfilment outside God’s plans.
In that design God gives us certain abilities or talents. Each one of us is therefore gifted in one area or another whether we know it or not. There’s something we find easy to excel in. We also enjoy committing ourselves in that area. We can even volunteer to assist without any reward or work for endless hours without any stress.
These gifts suggest a lot about our calling in life. Many times they’re easy to identify by tracing what an individual has usually been preoccupied with. Some enjoy talking with people, others enjoy working with tools and tangible objects, and others enjoy working with abstracts like numbers, words or images. Some enjoy helping people, others using their bodies in sports, theatre or their voices in music.
Our natural gifts are also traceable from our personality attributes. Each of us has inborn personality traits of particular nature. We each have a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. Strengths promote the realization of our natural abilities. Weaknesses hinder their realization. Correctly identifying one's personality traits is crucial in understanding and maximizing one's natural abilities. An important point to note is that there is no personality combination that is better or worse than another.
For instance, any combination of traits can make a good leader (servant). There are leaders who’re are loud like Paul. Some are quiet like Abraham, others funny like Peter, some severe and tough like Solomon, some gentle like Moses, others outgoing like Paul and others shy like Timothy. There is therefore, no universal set of traits that make up the profile of the most ideal person. In addition, different traits are needed in different assignments.
Tim and Beverly La Haye have been gifted in this area of helping people to understand their inborn and learnt personality attributes. They have used an ancient personality analysis that categorizes people into four types. The four are traceable to the Bible in book of Proverbs. The authors say each one of us has one major personality attribute and one minor one. The major is the most dominant one that people can easily describe us by. The four attributes are 1) Sanguine, 2) Melancholy, 3) Choleric and 4) Phlegmatic.
1. Traits of A SANGUINE
1. Outgoing, sociable
2. Inspires allegiance
4. Positive attitude
5. Responsive to others
8. Seldom worries
2. Traits of A MELANCHOLY
1. Natural talent
3. Traits of A CHOLERIC
Doesn’t give recognition
8. Willing to risk
10. Willing to lead
4. Traits of PHLEGMATIC
1. Calm, quiet
5. Efficient, organised
6. Dependable, stable
9. Reluctant leader
10. Dry humour
Fear of risk
After spiritual rebirth, the strengths of our natural personality attributes remain intact. Our weaknesses on the other hand, undergo a process of continual transformation. As we grow spiritually, our weaknesses become less pronounced because the Holy Spirit living in us is the one who increasingly expresses himself through us. We die more to ourselves. Although we die to ourselves he usually uses our natural strengths. The individuals in scripture are good examples.
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Book on hearing from God:- Hearing from God: How to Hear God’s Voice in Your Life © 2008 Eric Gondwe