- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Christian Life
- Published on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 19:27
A Christian should always pass his/her thinking and values through the filter of the scriptures and good spiritual values. God’s guidance is through his word – the Bible. Here are some principles to guide you on making important decisions.
1. Keep in mind that God gives you the privilege and the responsibility for making decisions. He could send you text messages or reveal secrets through divination, but trying to divine the future is forbidden in the Bible (1 Samuel 15:23).
2. Obey the word. Scan your memory of the scriptures for relevant moral principles that help you see the problem from God’s point of view. Is your situation like any Bible character? Are there scriptures that prohibit or recommend a certain action?
a. Is there potential danger in my choice? - 1 Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from every form of evil.” Avoid anything that even appears to be evil.
b. Will my decision glorify God? - 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Try to consider God’s honor even in the most common actions of your life such as your choice of food.
c. Does my decision fit with the example of Jesus? - 1 Peter 2:21 “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” A Christian should read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to know Christ’s actions, attitudes and habits.
d. Will my decision grieve the Holy Spirit? - Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” When your reading or praying habits suffer, you should know that you are on the wrong track.
e. Will my decision help my testimony with my friends? - 1 Timothy 3:7 “Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” An action affects a testimony by how others perceive you, not by how you perceive yourself.
f. Will my decision stumble a fellow believer? - Romans 14:13 “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” Your actions will affect other believers, especially those who follow your example. Be mindful of how your influence has the potential to lead others into bad decisions.
3. Pray for wisdom (James 1:5). Wisdom is not the same as intelligence. Being wise is to think like God would have you think, applying his word in a consistent way. Ask God to make you aware of any weakness or blind spots you may have.
4. Pray for courage (Acts 4:29-31). When you know you are obeying God’s word and there are those who oppose, you need God to strengthen you to do what is right.
5. Seek advice from wise friends. Several reasons for seeking advice from others include:
a. Multiple Viewpoints. The objective viewpoint of another person helps you to see how the decision relates to your gifts, talents, weaknesses and tendencies to sin. Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
b. Self-Improvement. Be humble enough to admit that others may be wiser than you are. Self-analysis is sometimes a big blind spot that only a true friend can tactfully tell us about. Proverbs 19:20 “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
c. Self-Understanding. Stating a summary of your case to others makes the issues sharper in your own mind. Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
d. Honest Critics. You are free to reject advice, but be sure to consider it first. Listen to various points of view. Write opposing suggestions in a short list to compare the strengths and weaknesses of each option. Proverbs 15:31 “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.”
6. Make the decision in humility. When you finally do reach a conclusion and proceed with your plan, always be aware that God may have different plans than what you thought. Even though you might not always say the phrase, keep the mentality “if the Lord will” (James 4:13-17).
For a full-length answer to the many questions about knowing the will of the Lord, see the article How can I know God's will for marriage, job and home?
Shad David Sluiter