In the last post on making decisions, we looked briefly at the first (and most important) “tool” that we use when trying to discern the will of God for our lives: the Word of God. In this post I want to mention three other important “tools” that we ought to use as well when making a difficult decision.
First, we ought to lean on other, trustworthy people to help us through this process.
Some of the people that we look to for help might be people that we will never meet or know personally. I have in mind individuals who write books or articles that address certain issues we are facing or help us grow in our understanding of the Bible. Through our reading of solid, biblical, Reformed literature (such as the material the RFPA publishes), we grow in wisdom and are helped in making a decision.
But God has also places trustworthy people in our lives that we can turn to for help. Many have loving parents and grandparents, a trusted friend, a wise pastor and elders, or even elderly saints in your church who can give good advice. Some of them may have gone through a similar situation that we are now facing and can share their experiences. Others may be able to see certain things that we have overlooked and failed to take into consideration. If nothing else, they can certainly pray with us and for us. These others may not be able to make the decision for us, but they are able to help and encourage and guide us in our decision-making. We ought to seek them out, ask them questions, and listen.
In the second place, when making difficult decisions we ought to take into account our God-ordained circumstances.
Our almighty God has given to each of us certain strengths and weaknesses, physically and mentally and emotionally. He has placed us into certain homes and families and ordained certain circumstances of life for us. We must take these things into account also when we make a decision.
A few examples. I probably should not pursue a career as an accountant or someone that works with numbers if I struggle terribly with math and despise algebra. But perhaps it is God’s will for me to become an English teacher if I love to read and have a knack for writing and grammar. It might not be the will of God for me to buy a house and a new car if I am struggling financially. It might not be the will of God for me to run a marathon if I have asthma.
These circumstances may not be the final determining factor. But, when making a decision, consider how the Lord is leading you through the circumstances of your life.
Third, never make a major decision without frequent, earnest prayer.
At any moment and in any place we can come into the presence of our Father and roll our burdens upon him. Obviously we don’t expect some voice from heaven to shout down the answer to us. But we pray that God will still our anxiety and quiet our fears, that he will give us wisdom through these other means, that he will guide us in the path of his choosing, and that he will humble us to follow him. When facing a difficult decision, pray!
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There may be other “tools” that we can use in this process, but I think these are the main ones. When using these means, take your time. Move slowly and deliberately. Don’t make a rushed, hasty decision. Rarely is this the best decision.
But it might be the case that as you work through these issues with wisdom and carefulness, you come to the end and discover that there is no one, definite direction. Perhaps you are left with two options, neither of which is wrong and both of which you could see yourself doing. Then, after praying to God, pick one. Make a decision one way or the other. As one man put it, just do something! And then don’t keep looking back and second-guessing the decision, but go forward confident that this is God’s will for you at this time.
Other posts in this series:
This post was written by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa.