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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Making Godly Decisions

We all make decisions every day. Some of them are minor, like what to wear and where to go for lunch. Others are major, requiring much thought and prayer. Remember, big decision require big prayer -- and they require a thorough reflection on the seven keys to hearing God's voice.

After all of the seven keys have been considered in the decision-making process, the time comes to make the actual decision — but even then, it's still imperative to hear God’s voice and receive His guidance.

The prophet Jeremiah prayed a prayer in the Old Testament asking God for guidance, and it's still a good prayer for us to pray today.

I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die. (Jeremiah 10:23–24 NLT)

The immature Christian goes where he or she wants to go. The mature Christian goes where the Father wants them to go. We must all adopt the attitude of John the Baptist who declared of Jesus, “He must increase, and I must decrease” (John 3:30).

When you are in the midst of making a major decision, you need to ask the Lord to give you grace to walk in holiness so that there will be nothing hindering you from hearing His voice.

Unconfessed sin, including pride, unforgiveness, and anger can blind you. Also ask the Lord to help you live at peace with those around you. Be aware of the devil’s schemes to stir up trouble with your family, friends, business associates, and others when you are trying to make a decision. The more critical the decision, the more likely you will find the nest stirred, either to distract you, or to make you yield to anger, jealousy, or unforgiveness.

But if you stumble into sin during these critical times remember the promises of God: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1). And: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Prayer is essential when you are facing a crossroads in your life. Don’t just pray here and there during the day, but have a special time each day set aside to commune with the Lord. But don’t just speak prayers out loud, listen for the voice of the Lord as well. Keep a journal so that you can write down what the Lord speaks to you in these special times.

During times of important decision-making, you may also want to fast as the Lord leads you. Fasting combined with prayer is an essential Christian discipline that should be a part of every mature believer’s life.

It is important, however, to understand that we cannot manipulate God into performing the way we would like Him to in any given situation. Fasting doesn’t impress God, but it helps you to overcome your flesh, and it purifies you so that your spiritual senses are more keen to hear God’s voice. You can’t manipulate God when you fast and pray, but participating in this spiritual discipline does please Him.

The Lord will often honor your efforts to become closer to Him, to be obedient to Him, and to strive to walk in a holy manner.

Bill Bright of Campus Crusade once said that fasting is the “atomic bomb of the spirit.” Do you want things to happen in your life? Spend time in fasting and in prayer.

While the Holy Spirit will be active in our lives, revealing His will to our hearts and then confirming that will through the other keys of God’s guidance, He will also be communicating through the passive aspect of His presence and the peace of God in our lives. As we have said, the Holy Spirit will tell us whether we are “safe” or “out” in any guidance we are considering.

Be careful that you don’t allow certain concerns to keep you from moving forward in a decision. Some Christians mistakenly believe that you must come to a place of “perfect peace” before you can move forward with a commitment or a decision. They think that if God is speaking to us, there will be no fears or doubts whatsoever. The Bible does promise the peace of Christ, but it never guarantees complete peaceful feelings. There are often concerns in a decision, but the Lord gives us an underlying assurance that He will be with us and guide us through.

Blaine Smith wrote the following about the peace of the Spirit:

His peace is the grace that transcends our fears, allowing us to move ahead in spite of doubt. Emotional peace will not be experienced until after we step out in faith. Furthermore, waiting for absolute peace before making every major decision would be paralyzing. Taking the first step is vital to experiencing peace — and God’s blessings. Biblical faith is the resolve to forge ahead, despite the fear of change.

Once we have submitted ourselves to God, and made things right in a spiritual sense, it is time to practically consider the decision we are making.

We have examined the decision in light of the seven keys: the Scripture, what the Holy Spirit has revealed to our heart; godly counsel; the peace of God; personal prophecy; confirmation; and circumstances. Before making a final decision, carefully examine the entire situation using your God-given intellect. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this new direction biblical?
  • [If you're married] Is my spouse in agreement with this decision?
  • Does it complement my spiritual gifts?
  • Can I use my God-given talents and abilities in this new role?
  • Does this new direction line up with the long-term desires of my heart?
  • Do I have the personal resources to move forward in this direction? Will I have to wait on God’s timing to bring those resources to me or to my organization?
  • Do I have the experience necessary to excel in this new area of responsibility? Or is God asking me to go out and gain the experience needed to move into this new venture?
  • Is it ethical? Is it legal?
  • Do I have the peace of Christ — not necessarily a complete and total freedom from concern — but do I have an assurance from the Lord that He will guide me in this new path?
  • Will my decision fulfill a desire that has been planted in my heart?
  • What are the key people around me saying about this new direction — parents, pastors, professors, mentors, and friends — how has my decision been balanced on the scales of their opinions?
  • Are the circumstantial doors opened or are they closed?
  • If the doors seem to be closed, does that mean I should back away, or do I have enough assurance through the other keys to wait in faith for God to bring the circumstances in line?
  • If the doors seem to be open, do I have enough assurance through the other keys for me to move forward in this decision?
  • Am I willing to die to my own desires if the Lord directs me in a way that I did not expect?
  • Am I willing to allow God to give me the desires of my heart, even if it means new, possibly frightening challenges and a loss of my comfort zone?

Once you are confident that you know God’s will, and you have His peace to move forward, take that step of faith and watch what God will do. Just like He did with Peter, when you lift your foot over the edge of the boat and step onto the water in obedience to His call, grace will come on the scene and God will do what it takes to see His will accomplished in your life.

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