Decisions, decisions: in life, no matter your age or stage, you have to make decisions. How do you, as a Christian, make wise decisions that please God? Here are three simple steps you can take to help you with your next choice.
1. Go to God!
Though some (wrongly) think they are smart enough to figure out their life decisions, when you recognize how little we know compared to the knowledge of the infinite God, it only makes sense to go to Him. Psalms 48:14 says, “For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” From the beginning to the end of our lives, He’s willing to be our God and our guide to navigate us through.
We have to prioritize prayer (and fasting) and choose to seek His direction and wisdom. He wants to instruct and teach us in the way we should go (Psa. 32:8). We just have to decide we want His help! We have to resolve that we DO NOT KNOW, but we will ASK GOD for wisdom that He promised to give to all who ask Him (James 1:5). This testimony is a perfect example of that.
Proverbs 3:5-7 famously says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” What tips do we learn from that?
- TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL THINE HEART
- No matter what our hearts feel, we have to trust the Lord enough to give it all to Him. He can be trusted, so we can put our confidence in Him as we safely surrender what’s going on in our hearts to Him.
- LEAN NOT UNTO THINE OWN UNDERSTANDING
- We cannot lean on our own understanding! Our logic is insufficient. We don’t know it all, and so if the basis of our decision is simply what we think, our foundation is sorely lacking. If all we lean on is our understanding, we’ll fall!
- ACKNOWLEDGE HIM
- Instead of leaning on our own understanding, we have to acknowledge Him. To acknowledge is to have knowledge, to recognize, respect, and honor, to show regard for. If I acknowledge God in all my ways, I want to KNOW what God thinks about it!
- When you get a new job, at the start, you find out what your boss wants, expects, and requires so you can measure up and carry it out. You don’t just come in with your plan and do it without consulting him or her; you respect your boss enough to acknowledge him or her, check in, get direction, and follow it. Before you make your decision, acknowledge God! Ask Him and search His Word. Not sure? Seek wise, godly counsel.
- IN ALL THY WAYS
- Rather than running to do what we think, feel, or want, we should pause and find out what HE wants — His Word and His will — and that should not be just when it’s convenient. The scripture says, in all thy ways! He’s not a part-time God who we involve when we want to and exclude when we don’t want Him! He’s LORD, and He demands all of our hearts and all of our ways! He wants it ALL! Invite Him in!
If we trust Him with all of our hearts, lean not on our own understanding, and acknowledge Him in all of our ways, HE SHALL DIRECT OUR PATHS! He’ll show us the right way to go, and help us to walk in wisdom in real life.
2. Find Out What’s ALREADY Written!
Let’s go back to the job scenario: imagine if you’re at your new job, and your manager has given overall direction, and now it’s time to get to work! He or she gave you a manual with policies and procedures, rules and recommendations, so you know how to do the things you do. It would be foolish to throw it away, disregard what’s in it, or never consult it, because they gave you in writing what you need to know so you can have answers for your everyday work life.
God gave us His Word to help us do what’s RIGHT and make WISE decisions. When we have a situation or issue, it would be prudent to search the scriptures concerning the matter at hand:
- Angry? Find out what the Word says about how to and how not to handle that emotion.
- Fasting? Study the purpose, benefits, instructions, and examples He put in writing!
- Married? Become an expert on what the Bible teaches the husband and the wife.
- Ministering? Get understanding of how to walk effectively in your spiritual gift.
- Talkative? Search out what God requires concerning your mouth and obey it!
No matter what decision we face, the commands and examples in His Word are relevant! When we don’t know what to do and can’t see clearly, Psalm 119:105 reminds us, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Though people want a new revelation or choose to do what they want to do, prioritize God’s Word enough to seek out what He wrote.
When we go to God and acknowledge Him, His direction always lines up with what is written in the Word. If it contradicts that, you know it’s not from Him. His Word is our safeguard to help us not go astray or get off with an idea or desire — even with the best of intentions, it has to line up with the Word! Find out what’s already written and then DO IT; let the Bible guide your decision.
3. Get the RIGHT Counsel
Lastly, as you go to God in prayer and study what He already wrote, wise, godly counsel can help you make wise decisions. How do we know this?
- Prov. 12:15 KJV – “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”
- Prov. 19:20 KJV – “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”
- Prov. 11:14 KJV – “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
- Prov. 15:22 KJV – “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.”
- Prov. 20:18 KJV – “Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.”
You don’t have to make the decision on your own, BUT it has to be the RIGHT counsel. Our #1 counsellor is “Counsellor Jesus”: He truly cares, He’s entirely trustworthy, and He always gives the right advice. There is also great wisdom, though, in getting counsel and advice from wise men and women who are godly, spiritual, and rooted in the Word of God.
Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,” so we know if they are not living or counseling in line with God, that is NOT who you should be talking to. We’ll be blessed if we do NOT walk in their counsel, and we can see throughout the Bible, history, and testimonies how many bad decisions were encouraged by bad advice. In 2 Chronicles 22:2-6, Ahaziah’s own “mother was his counsellor to do wickedly,” and the Bible records, “Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the LORD like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellors after the death of his father to his destruction.” Notice, they were his counselors to his destruction! Beware of bad counsel!
In 1 Kings 12, Rehoboam, as he started his reign as king, got counsel from the old men and the young men about how to handle the people. His peers, the ones he grew up with, gave horrible counsel, foolish advice, that led to the split of the entire nation. Bad counsel is dangerous, but wise, godly, Biblical counsel (often from someone older) is a blessing and one is wise to hearken to it. For by it, purposes are established and there is safety in it. Combined with praying, acknowledging God, and seeking His Word, you have the main tools to use wisdom to make your decisions in real life.