If you are anything like me, you have struggled at some point to know God’s will in a particular situation. We make many decisions each day–some without even thinking. Then there are those big decisions that we worry about because of their potential impact on our lives and on others around us.
When it comes to our relationships, health, finances, or major decisions about our marriage, career, or ministry, we understand the importance of getting it right. A bad choice can lead to potentially devastating consequences.
The good news is that God wants to lead and guide us; and we have His Spirit and His Word to do just that.
“But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”John 16:13, NIV
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”John 17:17
“Send forth your light and your truth, and let them guide me….”Psalm 43:3
God’s Moral Will
God’s Word is truth, and the Holy Spirit guides us in that truth. Every decision we make should be held up to God’s Word where He reveals to us His moral will. That’s why it is so important to study God’s Word and understand His teachings. His commands are to bring us freedom and protection. Within them we find righteousness, peace, truth, faithfulness, generosity, grace, and love. And those are some of the best things to guide our decisions.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”Romans 12;2
God’s will for our lives is good, pleasing, and perfect. And we can test and approve (or accept) that will by thinking according to His teachings rather than the ways of the world.
But what about those decisions that don’t seem to have a clear answer in Scripture? These are the ones with which we are most likely to struggle. In these cases, we have His principles of wisdom in the Bible. Proverbs is full of practical principles that can guide our decision making.
“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, for doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young–let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance….”Proverbs 1:1-5
Proverbs teaches us about wise relationships, finances, health, character, business practices, and so much more. Sometimes we face a decision that either direction would not violate a command of Scripture, but wisdom can guide us to the best choice.
Of course, prayer and fasting show God that we are seeking Him and not just our own will and way. Prayer is communicating with God and asking for His guidance. Fasting is a way of denying our flesh and making room for God to have His way in our lives.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Having an attitude of joy, prayer, and thankfulness demonstrates a humble heart that seeks God’s will above our own. Most of my bad decisions have been the result of hastiness and impatience, not being willing to spend time in the Word and in prayer to seek God’s direction first. They demonstrate the pride of thinking my way is best.
When we humble ourselves before God in prayer and fasting, we are more likely to lay down our own preconceived notions and allow God to lead us in the way He wants us to go.
Once we have prayerfully aligned our decision with God’s moral will and His principles for wisdom, we are left with our freedom to choose. Some things God just leaves up to us. As we allow Him to guide us by His Word and His Spirit, we can then step out and trust Him with the consequences.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”Proverbs 3:5-6
What a great promise we have! Even when we don’t understand, if we have done our best to seek His will and His way, we can trust Him with the results. Even if our decision turns out to have consequences we didn’t foresee, we can still trust Him to go before us and make our paths straight.
And that is worth the time and effort it takes to seek Him first.
Need more encouragement in making decisions that honor God? Read Seek Him First: How to Hear from God, Walk in His Will, and Change Your World.