God’s Will and Personal Decision Making

God’s Will and Personal Decision Making

Every Christian I have ever met has an interest in and a desire for pleasing God by living in accordance with His will. When it comes to personal decision making—especially in seemingly large, life-affecting decisions (“Is this God’s will for my marriage partner?” “Is it God’s will for me to accept this job offer?”), we want God to give us His counsel, His advice, His direction. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. In especially hard decisions, we want to make an appointment with God and sit down across the desk from Him and explain to Him the situation and the decision we face and then to sit back and listen and have Him tell us exactly what decision to make. Or—maybe even more honestly—what we want is for God to decide for us so that we won’t have to.

The question is, does God direct us when we make personal decisions, and if so, how can I find that guidance? Or, can I know in advance God’s will for me in matters not explicitly spelled out in the Scriptures? While we cannot know God’s infallible will about anything except that which is revealed in Scripture, we are not to think that we have been left on our own with no assistance from God. The issue is not one of God’s willingness to assist but of the methodology by which God has stated He will give that assistance. What we find is that finding God’s will in personal decision making is a processnot an event. It is a process wherein we follow principles that God has given in His Word.

Here, then, are the means by which God has promised to give us the aid we so desperately desire when it comes to making specific decisions for our lives. While they are listed in no particular order (except for the first two, which are necessary and foundational), when woven together they are the means by which God ordinarily directs us in the way we should go.

1. The Bible: God’s revealed will and “our only rule of faith and life.”

God’s speaking in His Word is the only inerrant and infallible source of guidance and counsel concerning any decision. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules” (Ps. 119:105–6). We can know with certainty that any decision that involves violating what God has already said cannot please Him.

2. Prayer: Rooted in faith that God hears and cares.

He is a loving Father and is delighted to help in the decision-making process. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7–8). “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

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