Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding. – Proverbs 2:2
One of the things I’ve always struggled with is understanding how to know the will of God in a particular situation. I hear people insist that they just know that a decision they have made is the will of God and I wonder; “How do you know?” I hear people say, “God told me…” and I wonder how they really know it was God? I mean, it’s not likely that they actually heard an audible voice (although, I admit that sometimes I’ll hear a little whisper). It is all of this wondering that has led me to pray many times for God to hit me with the proverbial two-by-four to make sure I really know I’m making the right decision.
For what ever reason, God has decided (generally speaking) not to use a powerful voice from heaven to give us crystal clear direction when we are trying to make a decision. But that does not mean he has left us on our own just hoping we get it right sometimes. There are some very important steps we should take whenever we need to make a decision.
We need to read the Bible. The Bible is God’s word and if we want to know what God says about something, that is where we can get our answer. The more we read the Bible, the more we will become familiar with God’s voice and the more we will understand his character. This will help us to better gauge if something is truly his will. God will never contradict his Word or go against his character. Searching the Bible for answers may not mean that we will see a specific answer to a specific question, but the Bible is full of laws, principles and lessons that we can apply to our own choices.
We need to pray. Not just once – but persistently! (1 Thessalonians 5:17) We might find that persistent prayer changes the desires of our heart and impacts the choices we make.
We need to think. God has given us a brain so that we can reason. When we’re making a decision we should consider how God made us. What are our strengths and weaknesses? What are our passions? How does the way God made us align with the decision we’re about to make? We should also consider our life experiences and the lessons God has allowed us to learn from past decisions. We also need to use plain old common sense. God knows that we have to live in this world and that our choices have earthly consequences that could impact us and our family. We have a responsibility to the people around us and we need to carefully consider the fall-out of our choices.
We need to seek counsel. God has put us in relationships with people that can counsel us. From the very beginning God decided that we should not do life alone. That is why he created Eve for Adam and that is why throughout the Bible we see the importance of families and communities. The people that love us and have our best interest at heart can offer great insight into decisions we face. They can see things from a different perspective and without the anxiety and emotion we may be feeling. Seeking Godly counsel is Biblical and a crucial part of making a wise decision.
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. – Proverbs 12:15
Once we’ve searched the Word of God, prayed persistently and carefully considered our options we need to make a decision! Then we need to have faith that God’s Sovereignty will cover even our failures and his grace will give us second chances.