5 Things You Must Do to Make Decisions in God’s Will
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like more people have faced more decisions in the past 18 months than any period I can remember.
Decisions like, What should I do about the kids’ education? Should I move or stay? Rent or buy? Take this job or that one? Choose one course of medical treatment or another? Speak up or remain quiet?
The list of important decisions we make in a lifetime is nearly endless, but the list of decisions we must make on a daily basis can seem just as daunting!
Big decisions bring big emotions, so the question looms….
How do we make decisions in line with God’s will?
First, let’s clarify the difference between deciding and discerning.
Anyone can make a decision about what to do, but only those who rely on God can discern what He wants us to do.
And, while it’s fine to make decisions about less important matters (I’m pretty sure none of us asks God what to wear each day!) big life issues require discernment.
Right now, you may not be trying to discern God’s will about where to educate your kids, or where to live, or which job is best, but you’re likely in the middle of your own decision, which requires discernment.
Are there any principles that can help guide our decisions so we don’t end up making stupid mistakes or unwise choices? Yes! Read on for a list of 5 essentials for making good, godly decisions….
Five “Must-Do’s” for Discernment to Make Good, Godly Decisions
1. Pray for wisdom.
I’m always surprised more people don’t ask God for wisdom first.
Listen, if you knew you had access to someone who knows the future and all possible contingencies, wouldn’t you ask for that person’s advice? Of course you would! Through prayer you have access to God who knows all things, and knows you better than you know yourself. He wants you to ask Him for wisdom. Even better, He promises that if you ask for wisdom, He’ll give it.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously…
and it will be given to you.”
2. Pre-determine to do whatever God reveals
I’ll never forget the night my pastor hubby, JP, casually commented, “Making a wise decision is so much easier when we first determine to do whatever God wants us to do, then it just comes down to figuring out God’s will. Otherwise, we’re left trying to figure out God’s plan AND figuring out if we’re going to follow it. That’s two big decisions instead of one!”
JP’s may have made his comment casually, but there’s nothing casual about the godly wisdom behind it.
The ability to discern God’s best for our life is largely determined by our commitment to follow God’s plan for our life. This means we need to seek God’s direction from God’s Word and decide ahead of time to follow it.
Some people have a God, show me your will, then I’ll decide if I want to do it, attitude. Others forge ahead thinking, God, this is what I’m going to do, so bless it. Still others pray, God, show me your will, but never bother looking to God’s Word for an answer.
None of these options puts us in a position to truly discern God’s best for our life.
Do you want to know God’s will? Pre-determine now to obey whatever He reveals.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
3. Get as much information as possible – the good, the bad, and the ugly
Good decisions come from good advice.
Nothing new, right?
Sometimes, though, we filter the advice we receive through the grid of what we want to hear, rather than the whole truth. While it’s tempting to surround ourselves with people who’ll tell us what we want to hear, rather than what we need to hear, this rarely helps us make good, godly decisions. More often, it leads us to make decisions we later regret.
In addition, we can seek advice from the wrong people which can have an equally detrimental outcome. Determine to seek counsel only from those who:
- Have personal experience or expertise in the area you need discernment
- Have personal integrity
Disregard advice from folks who don’t possess both. Good advice never comes from wrong sources.
If you’ve prayed, searched God’s Word, and sought good, godly counsel, but still can’t discern God’s will, make a pro/con list. If either side is lacking, it may indicate you need more information to make a wise decision.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
4. Never make a decision based on pure emotion
The worst decisions are almost always born out of emotional reactions rather than thoughtful actions.
If you’re feeling emotional, hormonal, fearful or stressed, give your decision a day or two to settle. Never, ever, ever make a decision on pure emotion.
Now, repeat after me: I promise never to make a big decision when I’m feeling a big emotion.
Trust me, you’ll be glad you kept this promise.
“Wise people think before they act”
5. Go with your Spirit-filled “gut”
Many decisions—most, in fact—are not ones where we must decide right over wrong, but rather a good choice over the best choice. These are the tricky ones. I mean, does God really care which college I attend? Or whether or not I homeschool my kids? Or if we bring an aging parent to live with us or hire a caregiver? Or if we buy the house on Main Street or the one on Elm Street?
Let me share with you a verse I shared with my daughter, Kylie, when she was faced with a big decision a few years ago.
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
Psalm 37:22-23 NLT
God cares about the details of our lives; God cares about the details of YOUR life.
If you’re seeking God, and truly desire to please Him, do whatever seems best, confident that He directs your steps. If you accidentally end up going the wrong direction, God is big enough to help you course-correct, and often, uses our ” mistakes” as tools to help us grow us in wisdom and maturity.
And, if you’re trying to discern God’s will in an area of your life right now, please let me know. I’d love to pray for you!
Recently, I prayed this prayer as I’m seeking to discern God’s will regarding a decision before me. Maybe it will help you, too…
I need Your wisdom. Thank you that You want to give it to me. What an awesome privilege to be able to ask You for help and guidance and know that in your timing, You will show me what to do. I offer myself as a living sacrifice, and I commit to follow however You lead. Guide me through Your Word, through wise advice of godly people, and through divine circumstances that only You can orchestrate. Thank you, God, that you delight in every detail of my life and that as I walk through life, You hold my hand. I can hardly believe what comfort and confidence this knowledge gives me! Thank you, God.
You are loved,
More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.