In previous posts on the subject of decision making, we’ve laid some groundwork by establishing two basic realities: first, we are going to face important decisions; and second, making these decisions is going to be difficult.
But perhaps that has left you wondering, “Is that all? Is there nothing that will lift the fog of uncertainty and indecision? Is there no way of knowing which path my feet must tread?”
In fact, there are things which can help us in the decision-making process. And that’s the subject of this and the following post.
When we are placed in a situation where we have to make a tough decision, we must do so with wisdom and sanctified common sense. God is not going to reveal the answer to us in some mystical and miraculous way. Although we sometimes foolishly wish he would, he does not whisper the answer in our ear or write it in the clouds. But he does do so through the ordinary means by which he bestows upon us wisdom and sanctified common sense.
The first and most important of those means is the Word of God.
Only the Word of God is “able to make us wise unto salvation.” Only the Word of God is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
The answer seems so obvious, yet it is easy to overlook it. As we struggle with a decision, we might be tempted to search our souls trying to figure out what God’s will is for us without once stopping to consider what the Bible might have to say about the whole matter.
To use an extreme example, some might say, “I really had a hard time with this decision. In fact, I agonized over it for years. But I thought about it and prayed about it, and now I’m convinced that it’s the will of God for me to live openly as a homosexual.” Or, perhaps closer to home, “I’m convinced that it’s the will of God for me to date and marry this man even though he is an unbeliever. We’re in love, after all, and how can you stop love!” Or, “I’m convinced that it’s the will of God for me to take this promotion even though it means moving to an area where there is no true church of Christ.”
Stop and think a moment. Is that how we determine God’s will for our lives? If we really want to know what God will have us to do, then why would we not stop and consider the one place where he has clearly revealed to us his will?
That’s not how we determine God’s will. We know what God’s will is for us, because God has revealed his will to us in the Bible. It is there in the Holy Scriptures that God tells us what we are to do and how we are to live.
I’m fully aware that the Bible does not reveal to us specific answers to the questions we are facing. For instance, you’re obviously not going to find a passage in Ezekiel that tells you what company to work for and the name of the person you will marry.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that God’s Word must be our starting-point and guide. When we are wrestling with a tough decision, we must first go to God’s Word and determine how it applies to our situation. God’s Word might not tell me which specific career to choose, but it certainly has something to say to me if I am thinking about being an abortion doctor or a professional athlete. God’s Word might not tell me exactly where to go to college, but it has something to say to me if I am considering going to a college far away from any church. God’s Word might not tell me the exact man or woman to date and marry, but it certainly has something to say to me if I am thinking about dating an unbeliever or thinking about marrying one who is not one in the faith with me.
So, when making a decision, the first question we must ask is: “What does God’s Word say? How does it apply to my situation? What guidance does it give?”
And then pray, “God, thy Word has been my guide. Now give me the grace to obey and submit to that Word. Especially when it gives the answer that I didn’t want to hear!”
Other posts in this series:
This post was written by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa.