In fact, the NT claims that we will be held responsible for our decisions in these areas. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and therefore is worthy of your trust. Psalm 119:105 states that God’s word “is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” A lamp only shows us a few steps ahead. -Should we counsel a young man to get married to his girlfriend after their first date, because “God will work it out somehow”? 4:14) Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. Prov. Prov. This serves as a good picture for us in learning the will of God. In addition to such a chart, we might ask several questions about our decision: 1. Oswald Sanders wisely writes, “We should never allow others, however much we respect their counsel, to make our decisions for us. But this contradicts the psalmist, who says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. Study your Bible. Pro’s for ministry, fellowship, or the overall cause of Christ. This vacation was a retreat for families who have children with exceptional needs. 4. Who seeks to benefit from this decision? Only He views your life from an eternal and comprehensive perspective. All Rights Reserved. If this were the case, then God would have made some universal, moral commands about these decisions. Instead, he determined God’s will based on those who were coming to Christ in the city (“wide-open door” for ministry). 21 I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.” 22 In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places. The Word of God provides profound wisdom for making choices in our life. 12:2 NIV). 2. 17. When we put all our trust in Him, He gives us the direction we need to move in. 12:4-7), Paul instructs us to know this (Rom. We would be wrong to make universal, moral commands that demand one or the other. Four Steps in Making Decisions. Knowing God’s Will: Finding Guidance for Personal Decisions. It’s not enough to just know them, like I know that 2 + 2 = 4 and that kale tastes gross. [3] Smith, M. Blaine. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1991. The problem is most of us don't know how to figure out God's will in every decision we face—especially the big, life-altering decisions. 12:16-17). Rather, God will sometimes have a greater reason than we might perceive. In fact, willingness is much more important than even knowing God’s will (Ps. Pro’s for personal success, comfort, or financial advancement. 4:15; Eph. They are more academic than usual, but insightfully relevant and I trust (by God's grace) edifying. Apparently, God holds us responsible for these complex decisions, so much so, that we could know “the right thing to do” and still “not do it.” James labels this as “evil” and as “sin.” Of course, the sin here is not choosing to live in this city or that. Well, there is a reason why you feel that your life has a purpose: it’s because it does! Trusting God is living a life of belief in and obedience to God even when it’s difficult. James instructs us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (Jas. “What city should I live in?”). 66. For instance, we might discern that God is legitimately calling us in one direction, but years later, we might sense that this has changed. He offers several biblical examples of this: (Rom. It is not pretending that everything is OK when it isn’t. This is so much easier said than done. 14:12 NIV). It might be good to list the pros and cons of a circumstance, weighing the different alternatives and what they would mean. Today I’m praying for friends in this third category. And maybe cast lots. Instead, the sin is to say that we are going to be in the driver’s seat of our life, and Christ can tagalong in the backseat if he wants. Adultery is an important, black and white issue that the Bible clearly addresses. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1991. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1991. Thus Smith writes, “It appears, then, that Paul regarded rational judgment of a person’s qualities as the prime factor constituting a call to Christian leadership.”[5] As Oswald Sander writes, “The Holy Spirit guides us by quickening our discernment and enlightening our judgment, not by superseding it.”[6]. But we would never feel comfortable claiming this with absolute certainty. The Bible affirms that our personal desires should factor into our decision-making (Rom. Which side does this plan seek to benefit the most?—the least? When you trust in the Lord, you'll feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders. (Prov. Trust in the Lord. 13:20; 1 Pet. In this passage, Paul explains that he had made plans for his missionary journeys. Pastor John explains the ground and steps he takes in making decisions for the glory of God. But notice that he doesn’t make his decisions based on supernatural guidance. This decision-making in difficulty is an opportunity for our spiritual growth. We can try to weigh out every option … [4] Smith, M. Blaine. Knowing God’s Will: Finding Guidance for Personal Decisions. We might think that living for a year of profit isn’t that big of a deal, but what if this is the last year that we’re alive? But notice the lack of “spiritual language.” He doesn’t say that he had to hear a message from God to make these decisions. 5:16). God’s wisdom will direct your paths in a peaceful manner. While we might want a spotlight that shines miles ahead on our path, this isn’t God’s way. In the midst of this, the birth of the child teaches both of the parents responsibility, commitment, and sacrificial love. 37:4). Con’s for personal success, comfort, or financial advancement. Trusting God for Decision-Making Peace. If God wants that person to come to Christ, then God will make it happen!” Of course, this is a half-truth: God is in control. As we put our trust in God, rather than ourselves, we soon discover what decisions are pleasing to Him. If he had told me that I would want to devote my life to serving him, it would have been too intimidating to handle. Trusting God while making tough decisions. It would be easier if we let other people make all our tough decisions, but then we would never grow up and experience the reality of God in our lives. Jesus and Paul were itinerant teachers, travelling from city to city. We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. In 1993, Lewis was a famous basketball star for the Boston Celtics, until his team of doctors told him that he had a fatal heart ailment. 2020 Annual Council: Treasurer’s Report. W W e Depend on God … We can write out the pros and cons. Sanders, J. Oswald. His faithfulness will come through for us as we press forward in faith in spite of the odds stacked against us. It’s odd that we would apply a criterion to spiritual decisions that we wouldn’t apply to any other decision in life. 61. For instance, Paul speaks of moral issues of conscience in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8. In fact, most of our decisions in life are this way. 16:9 (NLT), To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. In seeking God’s guidance in decision making, you need to ask for God’s help to apply what you’re reading in the Bible and what you hear from your community.

Making decisions are part of the natural rhythms of life. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases on Amazon.com. Reggie Lewis serves as a potent illustration of this practice. Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Anais Anderson. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1991. Paul chose Timothy as a missionary because “he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium” (Acts 16:2). Sanders, J. Oswald. Even Jesus’ individual works were considered the will of God (Jn. 1 Cor. It is certainly biblical to pray about God’s will, but most of this time should be spent praying that God would give us the strength and courage to follow through with his will, rather than simply knowing about it. By faith, we now lean as fully upon you as we can. The Proverbs do warn us to be careful about our own inclinations. As a result, the girl becomes pregnant, and they give birth to a little girl nine months later. But the only way to truly trust God is that you have to decide to trust God. 1 Cor. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1973. Our spiritual gifts and abilities will play a big role in many of our decisions in this regard. 9:36; Ps. 4:16-17) But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. While God will sometimes supernaturally make his will known to us, we shouldn’t expect that this is normative. For the most part, he found Friesen’s book to be the best theological treatment of discovering the will of God for the believer, and he often suggests the book as good reading on the subject. 4:6). The list could go on, but we surely get the point. God will make something beautiful of your life, but he needs your trust … Therefore, every choice requires you to trust in the Lord. Commonplace decisions are insignificant issues that the Bible doesn’t address. Therefore, we should spend less of our time anxiously fretting over God’s special will and more time praying for the strength we need to follow Christ—wherever he leads us. 2:25; 5:4; Mt. It is not pretending that everything is OK when it isn’t. The Bible doesn’t give us black and white answers to these difficult questions. Paul tells us to “make the most of our time” here on Earth (Eph. 15:22) Without counsel plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed. Paul was the greatest leader in the early church, but God allowed him to spend significant time locked in prison. Human reason was the channel through which God’s will was normally known; discerning his will boiled down to a matter of making a sound, logical choice.[3]. And you can’t trust God if you’re worrying about the things you’re trusting Him with. Instead, he made a logical and strategic plan, based on what would be best for spreading the message and love of Christ. Trusting God is living a life of belief in and obedience to God even when it’s difficult. 10:14). 9:14). When we view our decision in this way, it can often become clear which way we should choose. Often times, God will make his will very clear to us, but we need to ask ourselves: Am I willing to follow God down this particular path? God was preparing me for the opportunity that would come. In other words, if you’ve made your decision with prayer, sound wisdom, and biblical counsel, trust God for the outcome. Most likely, God refrains from giving us too much leading, because it might scare us away from following him in the long term. Pray for wisdom and direction. 1:5-9). However, they often fail to read the entire verse, which adds, “To those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This promise only applies to those who “love God” and are pursuing “His purpose”—not their own purposes. It really comes down to faith, trusting in God … Spiritual Problems. 27:17) Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Trusting God To Help Us Make Decisions. 20:18) Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war. Jesus Came into a Broken World for Broken People, O Holy, Worship-Fueling, Grace-Full Night. Consider another example: (1 Cor. We should use the gift of a sound mind when making decisions. Spiritual Problems. 1:5). A modern day example might be eating a juicy cheeseburger in front of a new Hindu convert (who was formerly a vegetarian). -Should we tell the unemployed person to stop looking for a job, because “God will work it out somehow”? Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2004. The thing is, worry and trust are mutually exclusive. God is the one who gave us our brains and the ability to think. 8 Ways to Make Decisions that Honor God,Britnee Bradshaw - Read more about spiritual life growth, Christian living, and faith. Scripture is the final arbiter in making our decisions, and quite often, it contains a framework through which we can make our complex decision. 8:32)? 6 Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter, and then you can send me on my way to my next destination. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey. Col. 3:15 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Identify the decisions you’re currently facing. 24:6) By wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. 24 I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. James writes, (Jas. Also, when Paul made a good and reasonable decision to preach the gospel in Asia, the Holy Spirit blocked this from happening (Acts 16:6). Smith uses the term “sanctified reason”[4] to describe the way believers should think through complex decisions. Every Life Is a Plan of God: Discovering His Will for Your Life. marriage, career, etc. Sometimes, if we are being stubborn with pushing our … The Gibeonites tricked the men of Israel into making a deal with them, and God allowed this to happen, because they “did not ask for the counsel of the Lord” (Josh. He wants us to mature in the faith until the day He takes us home. 12:15) The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. Conscience decisions are issues that the Bible addresses, but are up to the prerogative of the believer. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name. 23 But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Of course, this would be the wrong lesson to draw from this story! Prov. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all. This is really a “super-spiritual”[2] view of complex decision-making. In other words, make up your mind. Watch Queue Queue. However, personal desire is mentioned last, because it shouldn’t be the central factor driving our decisions. Interestingly, the super-spiritual believer only “trusts God” in this way, when it comes to important spiritual decisions—not regular, important decisions. 3:5-6 (ESV). 1:1-3). When I call to mind God’s character, I’m able to trust God even when things don’t make sense. 26:42; Lk. They are more academic than usual, but insightfully relevant and I trust (by God's grace) edifying. There are at least five different ways that prove helpful. However, this shouldn’t justify making perpetual foolish or even sinful decisions. This principle should cause us to ask several questions: (1) Have you prayed about this complex decision? It might be good to list the pros and cons of a circumstance, weighing the different alternatives and what they would mean. For example, you’re in a financial crises so instead of trusting in God … You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. And there’s great power in trusting Him. The Gospel Coalition supports the church by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. 119:105). He continues. Four Steps in Making Decisions. However, as Smith notes, beyond God’s moral will, Friesen doesn’t allow for a personal or individual calling from God. Ultimately, decisions that you make – trusting in the Lord – whether based on wise, careful thinking or casting lots prudently, you can rest easy knowing that God ultimately will be fashioning and laying out your steps. And in Proverbs 3, he imparts wisdom, about how unimportant wisdom is... in … There is nothing wrong with eating meat, but a believer might voluntarily abstain from these things for the sake of conscience or for the purpose of reaching others for Christ (1 Cor. James writes, (Jas. 4:34). 5:8; 19:12-14; 25:4-5, 21; 27:11; 31:3-4; 86:11; 119:5, 10, 35-36, 80, 133, 176; 141:3-4). This doesn’t mean we’re to be passive in our decision-making, but to realize that you are very engaged—opening doors we cannot shut, and shutting doors we cannot open. Again, we see Paul making a logical and strategic plan. Sometimes after a long period of thoughtful, reasonable, and prayerful reflection, we can still make a decision that God will want to override. Rev. Two weeks ago I went on vacation with my family. 3:5-6 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Do you ever get the sense that you’re a part of something bigger than yourself—a purpose of some kind? 16:9 (NLT) To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. God who knows all things is willing to help us make decisions – “lean not on your own understanding.” Third step to trusting God Point three is: Acknowledge God in all our ways. Here James claims that God has a will for such a thing, and we are responsible for discerning this. Prov. Ultimately, decisions that you make – trusting in the Lord – whether based on wise, careful thinking or casting lots prudently, you can rest easy knowing that God ultimately will be fashioning and laying out your steps. (Prov. We should avoid seeking out fellow believers who will tell us what we want to hear. But those who use God’s wisdom are safe” (Proverbs 28:26 TLB). [1] Sanders, J. Oswald. As it turns out, Paul ended up leading most of these prison guards to Christ, and this helped spread Christianity to the Roman world (Phil. Fellow believers can help us to gain more of an objective perspective on our decision. When I call to mind God’s character, I’m able to trust God even when things don’t make sense.

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