Our decisions affect our present and future. I don’t know anyone who wants to make bad decisions in life. Wrong decisions the to an unpreferred future. No one wants a world that doesn’t benefit them.
How do we make good decisions for a preferred future? Most people rely on a philosophy or approach that benefits them. We must make wise decisions. What kind of wisdom will we use? The Bible talks about earthly wisdom and godly wisdom.
People who use earthly wisdom do whatever benefits them. It works for a while but eventually hurts their relationships and comes back to bite them. Godly wisdom seeks to glorify God instead of ourselves. We want God’s perspective to shine his light on our choices.
Putting God First
As we grow in Christ, we are learning to put God first in our decisions. We don’t boast in our own abilities or wisdom. We receive God’s wisdom. Scripture describes the process of decision-making. We can plan ahead, but God decides our path.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”Proverbs 16:9
Christians must be clear about the goal of their decisions. In planning my day, I leave open spaces for God to move. Some people fill their day so full they have no time for God. They missed divine appointments for God to move in and through them. Jesus calls us to seek his kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).
James chided his congregation because they boasted about tomorrow (James 4:13-16). He wasn’t saying we can’t plan ahead or schedule events. People weren’t leaving for God in their planning. We can plan to leave time for God to interrupt our daily programs.
Life is short. We must plan with God in mind and enjoy when he interrupts us. Plan for God to use you as you go about your day.
In the Bible, the nations around Jerusalem determined the expectations of the gods through divination and casting lots. But casting lots was done by pagans. Through throwing dice, they worshiped the gods of chance.
But in Israel, when the people cast lots they were not praying to the gods of chance. They accepted the result as the Lord’s direction when the lots fell as they did.
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”Proverbs 16:33
But Christians have clear direction on a process to make decisions that please God. Some of the methods we use to make decisions are the Bible, prayer, and Christian counsel.
The first voice that speaks to Christians in decision-making is the Bible, God’s Word. God speaks through Scripture of his expectations, hopes, and desires for us. Because we have his Word, he has outlined much of his desires for our decisions.
Many people talk about God’s will in our decisions. Systematic theology describes three types of God’s will. We know his will for you is to be saved, grow in sanctification, and fulfill his personal mission for you.
For example, God called me to be a minister of his Gospel at the age of seven. He prepared me from then on. After high school I went to Bible college and seminary. Then I became a full-time pastor. After I knew his calling, I moved steadily in that direction to do it.
God has something for you to do for him. It may not be full-time vocational ministry. He wants to use you where he’s planted you. Your job is to seek his will for your life and pursue it with your whole being.
We scoured God’s Word when we must make a decision. Sometimes he spells it out in black and white. Other times he gives us principles to understand his will. As we read and study it, we must pay attention to context.
You can’t just flip open the Bible to a page, point to a verse, and expect that verse to give you your decision. You must read it in context to receive the best counsel from the Scriptures.
Prayer and the Spirit
After you have studied the Scriptures to discover God’s counsel for your decision, it’s time to pray about it. Prayer is talking to God, an interactive approach after you have studied the Scriptures.
Everyone experiences God’s voice in different ways as they pray. Sometimes God uses Scripture combined with the situation to give us insight and wisdom. It’s possible to hear God’s voice audibly. As I pray, I ask God questions and often receive impressions as his guidance.
In my final semester of Bible college, I felt the Lord tell me to continue education in seminary. I didn’t want that. I wanted to pastor right now. Some of my college professors recommended seminary. They said I had “the mind for it.”
I thought it was a waste of time. I felt I was prepared now. I bargained with God to take one class during my final college semester and if it improved my ministering ability, I would go to Sam. You know already got one battle. We must listen to God when he gives us guidance.
To ignore the Spirit’s voice is very dangerous. Perhaps this is what the Proverbs mean when they say we can think of our own way the Lord directs our steps. He is not our Lord if we tell him no. We must obey his voice. We don’t want to be the next Jonah.
Sometimes we need a third avenue of guidance. God has placed the Church full of saints in our lives. But we must choose the right people to include in counsel. Most spiritual leaders like pastors and elders can impart godly wisdom to us.
They listen to our situation and help us form a godly decision. Throughout my life God has placed wise and godly saints who by word of knowledge from the Spirit help me hear from God. If you are struggling, use the following criteria to find godly counsel.
First, don’t just choose any Christian to help you make a decision. Find a saint who knows you well. Someone who cares greatly about you and has your best at heart. They must also be mature in Christ, knowing the Scriptures well and living out their faith. They consider and carefully weigh the information you give them. They don’t force their answer on you.
They may ask if they can pray about it with you or get back to you. Make sure they aren’t just trying to write to. You seek counsel, not someone’s opinion. They listen and offer counsel without forceful demands.
No one should pressure you. Only you are responsible for your decision. I have found most Christians gracious and humble when I consider their counsel in my decision-making process.
Putting It Together
We have looked at several approaches that help us make decisions. I have laid them out in a process from beginning to end. They will help you make godly decisions.
We start with God’s counsel from his Word, take our studies and learning to prayer and his Spirit, and ask other Christians for godly counsel. But you make the decision. Don’t make it because another Christian told you what to do.
Follow this process and receive clarity through one or all of these steps. We all went to make decisions that please God. He has provided ample sources of guidance for you. We must be obedient to God’s voice as we make decisions.
When we don’t make the decisions that please him, especially after clearly hearing his voice, our lives will not turn out the way he or us wants them to. Leave a comment and tell me how you make decisions and please God in your life.