When faced with a difficult decision, it is often difficult to know what the Lord would have you do. As I pointed out in my last post, you cannot be guided by impressions alone. Remember, the impressions we experience may be prompted by our own deceitful flesh, they may be influenced by evil spirits, or they may be from the Lord. How do you know?
Just to review, we first need to answer the question, “will this decision bring glory to God?” Does it honor him? Will this decision enable me to serve him more effectively? For example, taking a job just for more money often proves to be a wrong move. The present cultural mindset is if there’s more money involved, it’s a no brainer. It has been my experience that Christians who make major decisions based on worldly values live to regret it.
A second question we must ask when making important life choices is, “what do the Scriptures say about it?” I would highly recommend searching the Scriptures to ascertain that the decision you’re making aligns with biblical principles. At this point, it may be wise to seek godly counsel from a person you trust to share their insights from God’s Word.
On this note, make sure you avoid any interpretation that fails to acknowledge the Bible’s authority. It isn’t difficult to use scripture to justify any decision. For example, say you’ve been offered a job that’s going to move your family to another state. You could easily justify that move by citing the Biblical requirement that a man provide for his family’s needs. However, making that decision without considering your family’s spiritual needs is a great mistake. While it is admirable to provide for your family physically, your first concern should be how the move will affect them spiritually.
In addition to these considerations I will suggest four more questions you should ask yourself when discerning the will of God for your life.
1. Does it promote spiritual growth?
Does this decision reflect spiritual or worldly values? Is your decision prompted by a desire for material blessing without any concern for spiritual growth? When faced with a life-changing decision you need to consider what direction enhances your relationship with God. The decision that leads to greater spiritual maturity, that causes us to deny selfish desires, and is based on faith in God is always the right decision.
2. Is there an open door?
Impressions have often led men to make impulsive moves that have been detrimental to their families. For example, a man may “feel” God is calling him into the ministry and therefore, he sells his home, moves to another state to attend seminary, and ends up neglecting his kids and ruining his marriage.
Now let me clarify because I don’t want to mislead anyone. The Lord may indeed call a man into full time Christian service and that call may come with great sacrifice. However, if it’s based solely on an impression, and if he forces a door open where there is no open door, it usually ends in disaster. Where God guides, he provides. He is the one who opens doors that no one can shut, and who closes doors that no one can open. (Revelation 3:7) Again, any impression must be evaluated in the light of scripture and sound biblical interpretation.
He is the one who opens doors that no one can shut, and who closes doors that no one can open.
3. Do you have real peace about it?
Finally, ask yourself if you have peace about the decision you’ve made. I’ve often counseled men that if it’s doubtful, don’t do it. If you cannot confidently say that your decision glorifies God, that you’ve made it considering sound biblical principles, and that it will serve to bless your family, you should refrain.
The Bible exhorts us to “wait upon the Lord.” I think of King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20) who, when faced with overwhelming odds, cried out to God, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Remember, the Lord is never in a hurry. Be careful about making rash decisions based on impulse. Don’t move forward until you have real peace in you heart and are satisfied your decision is in harmony with the previous principles.
One more thing I will say in closing. The will of God is never unreasonable or void of common sense. The Lord will not lead you to do something that offends your conscience or is irrational. He doesn’t lead people to do weird stuff or anything that would prove harmful to you or your family. For example, I read about a guy who talked his girlfriend into pre-marital sex because he had prayed about it and convinced her that it would strengthen their relationship. Of course, in light of scripture, that’s not just crazy, it’s sinful!
If you’re in the midst of the decision-making process, I sincerely hope these questions will help you find direction and peace in the will of God. If you have any questions or would like to communicate with me further on this, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.