How many decisions do you make in a day?
You can breeze through most without thinking.
But occasionally one can paralyze you.
You want to make the God-honoring choice, if only you knew what that was! You’ve already prayed and prayed (right?). But now you’re stuck.
What do you do next?
Here are five principles from scripture to help:
1. Tune out distractions and tune in God’s voice
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Is the world shouting so loudly—through the internet, TV, shopping malls, friends, etc.—that it’s drowning out God’s answer to your prayer? First, turn off ungodly influences (Romans 12:2).
Then, press in hard to hear God.
If your hearing has gone bad from poor spiritual habits, build those back up. Search the scriptures for biblical principles that apply to your dilemma. Use reference tools to study verses in full context. Look for God’s character in the stories you read and see how you can best mirror his character with the choice you need to make.
2. Seek godly counsel from others
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
After you’ve preached the Word to yourself internally, listen to external preaching from godly mentors around you.
Look to see if God has already intentionally placed someone in your life you can consult. Who among your spiritual friends has walked this path? Is there a mature Christian in your family who can advise you?
Are there experts in the field—in person, in print—that you’ve yet to meet who can give you additional information?
After receiving this extra input, ask God again for clarity in sorting through the information.
Look for threads of similar advice and principles that you may have overlooked in your initial thinking.
3. Narrow down your choices
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
After laying out your options, cross out the ones least likely to honor God, and circle the ones that could bring him the most glory.
Humbly confront your motives: do certain choices appeal more to YOU than to him (James 4:3)? Eliminate options that are more about saving face and keeping control than about pleasing the Father.
Remember: choices that honor him will ultimately be in your best interest too.
If certain choices are time-contingent, and the pace seems out of God’s timing—either too rushed or too prolonged—discard those as well. While waiting on the Lord may be difficult (Psalm 27:14), he can build up your strength during the wait (Isaiah 40:31). Aren’t his outcomes are always worth waiting for?
4. Do something
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
On the other hand, if you’re only waiting because you’re too scared to act, set fear aside and step out in faith (Joshua 1:9).
If you’ve sought God through prayer, Bible study, godly counsel, and appropriate pacing, place your confidence in him and quit delaying the decision. Just make it! Trust that God is true to his word—you ask in faith for wisdom; he generously supplies it (James 1:5-6).
He is more than willing and able to accomplish his works through you (Philippians 1:6).
5. Give thanks for the results he’ll bring
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Instead of second-guessing the decision you’ve now made, give thanks for it. Look forward to how God will bless it. Believe that he will work good out of your choice (Romans 8:28). Rest in the peace he’s sent to guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:6-7).
As you enhance your spiritual sensitivity to follow God’s guidance, making decisions still may not always come easily, but you can grow in your confidence that the Lord is leading you.
He will bless your obedience as you strive to honor him with your choices.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
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What about you? Do you have a hard decision to make right now? How do you know what to do?
originally posted at Do Not Depart
revised here for the archives