Somewhere along the line, Christians have equated seeking God’s will with somehow unlocking a secret, foolproof formula for making “the right choice.” Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately) that’s not quite how God wants us to view our decision-making process.
More than likely, when given three options, there is not a more “Godly option.” Usually, our choices—whether they be what we do for a living, where we live, the person we marry, etc.—usually these major decisions don’t have a right or wrong answer. Perhaps all three job options are equally good in the eyes of God and he would have himself be glorified no matter what you decide. So then, the question remains—how should Christians make decisions?
Verge Network writer Tyler David has written an excellent piece on making great decisions. It is a long read, but worth it, particularly if you struggle with understanding how to view God’s will in light of making choices. To summarize, though, David lays out 4 steps to making wise decisions:
1. Believe God’s word.
2. Listen to Godly counsel.
3. Do what you want.
4. Ask for faith.
You might read these and get really hung up on #3. Do what I want? I thought I was supposed to do what God wants?! The key to this, David writes, is the order in which you do them. “If you skip the order it won’t be as effective. In fact, it could be very unhelpful.”
He continues, “Now, I know this feels incredibly unspiritual. If you haven’t done the first two steps it is unspiritual. But if you go to God’s Word and His people then the question becomes what do you want to do? You want to take that job? Do you want to move? Do you want to marry that person? Do you want to invest there?
If the answer is yes, then do it. If the answer is no, then don’t do it. It really can be that simple to follow Jesus in the gray areas of life.
You can make a wise decision without a vision or sign from God. So many of us don’t want to make a decision until God tells us exactly what to do. You can go to God’s Word and people and still be completely paralyzed in making a decision, because you’re waiting for some mystical moment when God whispers in your ear what to do. We sit there waiting and waiting for that and some of us never actually make a decision, because we think it’s not godly.”
Of course, sometimes you will have a decision where God makes it abundantly clear what you should or shouldn’t do. But most of our choices in life are not so certain. The Bible doesn’t offer specific instructions for every decision we’ll ever make. Instead, it paints broad brush strokes when it comes to what the will of God is, like in these two verses:
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)
Of these two verses, Crosswalk managing editor Shawn McEvoy writes this:
“[T]here's no big mystery way far out there which must be solved before we know how to act or decide, or how God wants us to act or decide.
So why do we seek for more?
I think it's because the ridiculously simple, paradoxically enough, is ridiculously hard, and we know it. G.K. Chesterton famously said, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."
Yes—God’s will is so simple, it’s hard. That’s why Tyler David’s fourth step is so important – ask for faith.
“You’ve made your decision. You’re going in a particular direction. Now you need faith to trust God, because you have no idea what’s going to happen. You can be the wisest person on the planet; you still don’t know the future. You can look at trajectories and trends, but no matter how confident someone may be, you don’t know what God is going to bring.”
One caveat: just because you made a wise decision, that doesn’t guarantee you won’t face hardship. In fact, the apostle Peter marries suffering and God’s will in 1 Peter 4:19 when he writes, “So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
Suffering will happen regardless of our choices because suffering is inevitable in our fallen world. Which is again why it is so important to ask for faith after we’ve made a choice—we can have peace knowing we serve a good God who loves us and is working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28).
As Christians, if we are believing and following God’s word, seeking wise counsel and asking God to fill us with faith, we can approach our decisions with humble confidence.
How has this process helped you make wise decisions? Share below!