Making Decisions with God

How much would like God to tell you with unmistakable clarity exactly what he wants you to do at church, in your career, with your house, with your marriage, in every area of life that you have questions about?

In my experience Christians are desperate for guidance.  We want to know what God wants us to do – we pray hard, we ponder, and we grasp any indication that we feel the Lord gives us about what we should do.  And I’m no different.

I’ve heard various theories over the years.  Some put a lot of weight on Paul’s comment that we should let the peace of God guard our hearts and our minds (Phil 4:6).  Others put emphasis on getting the advice of others.

The best that I have ever heard on this topic is from Philip Jensen’s little book Guidance and the Voice of God.  Jensen says that there are 3 levels of decision:

  • Holy  vs  Unholy
  • Wise  vs  Unwise
  • Trivial


If you are tossing up whether to leave your spouse and jump in bed with someone else’s spouse then you don’t need to spend a whole night in prayer to know what God wants you to do.  It is a question of holiness.  The bible says “the marriage bed must be kept pure” Heb 13:4.  So that settles that.  That sounds obvious, but it still has to be said – if you decide to do what is holy each and every time you have a choice then you have just made 95% of the decisions that matter in your life.


Then there are decisions where you need wisdom.  What does God want you to do for a job?  Where does he want you to live?  Who does he want you to marry?  These are big issues in our lives.  They are important decisions.  How do we get them right?  Here are some ideas that are a mixture of Jensen’s and mine.

Do what you think God wants you to do, and be open to him pushing you in a different direction.  Paul’s missionary journeys give us an example here.  Paul was clearly told by God to start travelling and preaching – see Acts 13:1-4.  But God didn’t give him a route.  So Paul just went from one town to another.  Then, on one occasion Paul says that he and his team tried to “enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” (Acts 16:7)  Because Paul was open to God he simply went along doing what he thought God wanted him to.  Paul visited many towns before his attempt to go to Bithynia.  We have no evidence that God thought those plans were good or bad.  But all of a sudden God expresses a view.  So live where you want.  Take the job that you want.  Commit to the church that you want to.  But be open to God speaking to you at any point along the journey.

To make the wisest possible choices get God’s wisdom and God’s priorities into your heart.  The more time that you spend in prayer and in reading the scriptures such as Proverbs the more you will be intuitively attracted to better options.  Psalms says “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps 37:4)  I think that the more you love God the more that his desires become aligned with your desires.  Does that help you decide where to live?  What job?  Who to marry?  I think that it does.  When you have His heart you can weigh up the pros and cons of any decision with the right balance.

Make sure that you are doing the last thing that the Lord definitely told you to do.  To stick with the example of Paul and his trips, if he did not go to Macedonia as God clearly directed him in a vision then I don’t think that God would speak to him very frequently in the months and years that followed.  So if there is something in your life that you feel God clearly directed you to do,l make sure that you have done it.  Don’t expect further instructions if you disobeyed the last set.


And then there are trivial decisions.  What does God want you to have for breakfast?  I don’t know.  I don’t think He cares.  I plan to have vegemite toast.  Have what you want.


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