How Can I Follow God’s Will?
READ: Proverbs 15:22
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
(Special thanks have to go to Ben Stuart and Breakaway Ministries here. As a college student, the talk Decision Making and the Will of God was extremely formative for me, and these points borrow HEAVILY from that talk. To learn more, check out their podcast: breakawayministries.org.)
Have you had to make a tough decision lately? In the last month? In the last year?
The reality is, our lives are FULL of tough decisions. Where am I going to college? Should I buy a house? Do I need to have this tough conversation with my spouse, friend, child, coworker? Should I date him? Should I marry her? Should I buy this? Should I sell that? Should I take this job? Should I leave my job?
When it comes to living, many of us are paralyzed by these sorts of decisions. We get overwhelmed and either freeze up in indecision, or let impulse or emotion dictate our decision making. Neither of those strategies are biblical or wise.
When you ask a Christian if they want to live a life following God’s will, they’ll most certainly say yes. But when you ask them what that means well, most of us don’t have any clue what that looks like. To help clear the waters a bit, here are a few things to consider:
- GOD HAS SOME CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS FOR US. God has set up some clear boundaries and directions for us in his Word. Some things just don’t have to be a question for you, Christian. Are you thinking about dating someone who’s not a believer? I can tell you that it’s probably not God’s will for you (2 Cor 6:14). Are you thinking about cheating on your taxes? Don’t (Mark 12:17, Ex 20:15). Is your decision a sin issue? Sometimes, a decision truly is a RIGHT v. WRONG one. If you’re faced with a decision, check to see that God hasn’t already addressed it in his word.
- GOD HAS A SECRET WILL. However, there is a reality that we don’t know the future, and God isn’t going to just tell us what’s going to happen. A lot of our decisions in life aren’t about right or wrong they’re more RIGHT v. LEFT. Should I take this job? Which school should I go to? What should I do with my vacation days? I know, I know, some people claim to have a special word from God and can tell you what his will is for your life, but for most of us (myself included), we don’t hear the audible voice of God regularly. And God doesn’t want us to chase that; he says it’s a wicked generation that demands a sign (Matt 12:39). Instead, we are called to trust God and walk by faith. (2 Cor 5:7) So hey, please don’t tell me that God told you to break up with him unless you’re really ready to defend that claim.
- GOD WANTS US TO PRAY. Prayer is a position of humility before the Lord, and it moves us to a place of trust instead of anxiety (Phil 4:6-7). When you’re making a decision, make sure your heart and mind are free of that paralyzing, deceiving anxiety that often causes us to move out of impulse or fear.
- GOD PROVIDES COUNSEL. This is probably the most practical thing that many of us can do to start maneuvering ourselves to a place where we can start making WISE decisions: getting a circle of wise people around us to reminds us of God’s Word, pray for us, give us warnings of blind spots, cull bad ideas and hone good ones (Prov. 15:22). They are the “Board of Directors” for your life.
- GOD CREATED US TO MAKE A DECISION. Finally, we all have to own the fact that we have to make a decision, not out of fear, but out of faith. Honestly, this might be the first thing you need to wrap your mind around, since many of us are looking for someone to just tell us what to do. But a person who doesn’t own the fact that God created us to make decision never grows in faith, is constantly tossed around by opinions and doubts (Eph. 4:14), and shifts blame to God or others when something doesn’t go as planned (think Genesis 3).
Ultimately, we who have put our trust in Jesus as our savior from sin and death, we can be confident to trust that He is good, and that he never wastes a moment of our lives. Review these five steps, and see how you can incorporate them into your decision-making. And if you want a simple, practical step:
This week, I challenge you to identify who your wise counsel is. Take out a sheet of paper and write down the names of your board of directors.â€ Who are the people who are in your life who can give you Godly counsel, rebuke, or insight? Who do you have in your life that would be filling to pray over you as you pursue God’s purpose and mission?
Looking for a song to encourage you in making wise decisions? Well, I don’t know anyone’s out there writing songs about that but if you’re looking for a song to encourage you as you make decisions, check out: My Hope by Paul Baloche.