One of the traits of humankind, as beings created in the image of God, is free will, which includes both the ability to make decisions and the responsibility for the outcomes of our decisions. Learning to make decisions that will glorify God and fulfill His will for our lives can be very challenging. It can test and grow our faith, as we seek His will and wait on Him for answers and guidance.
Decision-making for Christians is meant to be a relational process, involving ourselves and God, as we bring all our anxieties to Him, knowing that He cares for us.1 He has told us to “come and let us reason together,”2 demonstrating His desire to carry on a conversation with us. He wants to be present and to participate in the conversation as we make decisions. He has promised that His Spirit within us will guide us into all truth.3
Throughout our lives, we are faced with decisions that affect our future, whether they relate to what career to pursue, whom to marry, how to raise our children, where to live, or how to commit to our faith and participate in God’s work. One of the most important steps for finding God’s will and making good decisions is acknowledging Him and committing our ways to Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”4
Learning to make decisions that will honor God and align with His will and commands is often accompanied by times of soul searching, prayer, and testing. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish what God’s will is in a situation or what decision will produce the best outcomes. At such times, we can wish that a lightning bolt would light up the sky or that we’d be knocked to the ground like the apostle Paul to give us a precise, infallible sign. And yet, so often, the voice of God is so quiet that if we don’t calm our spirit and open our minds and listen, it can be missed.
God created us in His image, as rational beings, capable of freewill decisions and of choosing to place Him at the center of our lives. This is one of the ways by which we love God with all our minds: by making conscious decisions to love God, and by seeking to glorify Him in our decisions and ways. This positions us to discern the will of God, as Paul explained in Romans: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”5
As you take that first step, God will often either confirm it or new factors will emerge that will shed new light on the situation. You may need to make adjustments, as you discover that the coordinates of your original decision, while pointing you in the right general direction, need to be fine-tuned as you zero in on your final destination. Decision-making is often a process involving many choices, and each one lays the foundation for the next ones.
God usually wants us to do the work of wholeheartedly seeking His will, investigating, analyzing, assessing, and using every means at our disposal to make wise and godly decisions. He rarely seems to do things for us that we are capable of doing. I’ve found that I make the best decisions when I work in conjunction with Him through analyzing the possibilities and the options, weighing the pros and cons of each one, and seeking His guidance and thoughts on the matter through prayer.
As we place God at the center of our lives, acknowledging Him in all our ways, we can trust that He will guide us and help us to make wise decisions.
We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.—Colossians 1:9–10 ESV
You clear the way for me, and now I won’t stumble.—Psalm 18:36 CEV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.—Proverbs 3:5–6 NLT
If you have arrived at your decision with the sincere intention of pleasing the heart of God, incorporating biblical principles and wise counsel, you can proceed with confidence knowing that God will work out his purposes through your decision.—Mary Fairchild
1. See 1 Peter 5:7.
2. Isaiah 1:18
3. See John 16:13.
4. Proverbs 3:5–6
5. Romans 12:2 ESV