3 Good Things to Do When You Need to Make a Decision

3 Good Things to Do When You Need to Make a Decision

When we don’t know what to do, when we fail to do the right thing, when we freeze in fear over making a decision, we can be at peace because Christ has already interceded for us through his perfectly obedient life lived for us and perfect sacrificial death on our behalf. He also gave us his Spirit who is at work in us, helping us to desire wisdom, teaching us the way of wisdom through the Word, and enabling us to walk in it. 

Have you ever had to make an important decision and felt stuck as to what to do? Perhaps you stood at a crossroads with two paths before you, and you didn’t know which one to take.

You may have asked yourself questions like, Do I take this job or that job? Sell the house or stay? Trust the doctor or get a second opinion? Serve in this ministry or another? Send our children to this or that school? Have our parents move in or find them alternative living arrangements?

When my thyroid biopsy came back as inconclusive, the doctor recommended surgery. (I wrote about that here). He said it was the only way to know for certain whether the growth was cancerous or not. He gave me numbers and statistics (none of which I understood) and said we could remove the growth or wait and see, but he recommended surgery. I had a decision to make. Do I have the surgery? Or do I test and retest and wait and see? Do I trust the numbers and statistics? Do I trust the doctor?

I don’t know about you, but when I have a decision to make, my mind is consumed with it. It vacillates back and forth between the options. It’s all I can think about. I worry and fret and mull over it. I lie awake at night unable to sleep. I consider all the potential consequences to the choices. What I want most of all is for a clear answer to step up and knock me on the head. Because what I really fear is making the wrong choice.

And so I wondered, what is God’s will in this? What does he want me to do?

How are God’s will and making decisions related to each other?

Theologians often refer to God’s will in terms of his sovereign (decretive) will and his preceptive (or revealed) will. God’s sovereign will refers to the fact that he ordains all things. Everything is under his control, including every detail of our lives. Nothing can or will happen outside of his will. He is never surprised or taken off guard by what happens. Whatever choice we make, we can be sure it is God’s will.

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. (Prov. 16:33)

We don’t know God’s sovereign will.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deut. 29:29)

We don’t know his plan for us for tomorrow, next week, or next year. His secret will is not for us to know. Yet, as believers, we can take great comfort in the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. That’s because not only is God sovereign, but he is also our good Father who loves us. He always does what is right and good for us. Whatever decisions we make, we can be assured that God will use it for our good and his glory (Rom. 8:28-29).

God’s preceptive will is the will that God wants us to know. Everything we need to know for living in this world is written in those pages. There’s no missing information we have to seek out in mysterious unknown places. It’s not hidden somewhere—like in a scavenger hunt—and we just have to find it. It’s all there.

The Bible teaches us what is sinful and what is not. It tells us the purpose for our life: to glorify God. It tells us how to treat others, how to steward what he has provided, how to love our family, how to live and work and rest. Most of all, the Bible shows us our greatest need—redemption from sin—and reveals our great Savior, whose life, death, and resurrection are sufficient to free us from sin and enable us to live in righteousness.

God’s word also teaches us about the Spirit who lives within us, producing the fruit of holiness and helping us to daily put sin to death. Ultimately, God’s will for our life is that we grow in holiness—that we become more like Christ.

When we struggle with making a decision and ask, “What is God’s will in this?” often we want to know what pleases God—what he desires from us. We want his direction. We want to know if he desires us to choose A over B or B over A.

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