While every decision, whether or large or small, is going to have its own distinct set of challenges, there are three basic principles that we should apply in every life situation. This does not mean discerning God’s will always be easy, but God does promise to lead us, in his own good time and way, when we apply these principles faithfully!
There is no shortcut to decision-making, no easy way around the necessary groundwork.
In order to know God’s will in any given situation, we must approach every decision:
God’ Word is sufficient to equip us for righteous living. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
God will never lead contrary to what he has already revealed in his Word.
While the Bible does not answer every question for us, it does reveal invariable principles and priorities that should govern every decision. This means we cannot confidently know God’s will if we do not know his Word.
There is no shortcut here, no easy way around the necessary groundwork of seeking to know God through his revealed, inerrant, sufficient Word.
God has promised to answer prayers (Matthew 7:7-11; James 1:5; Psalm 3:5-7). He has not promised to answer on our timetable, or even in ways that we necessarily expect — but he does answer in ways we can understand and follow (Psalm 27:11).
Again, there is no shortcut for intimate, intense time with God, praying for his help and waiting patiently on his timing and direction.
Spiritual faith is necessary for discerning God’s will (Psalm 25:8-10).
An unbeliever can read the Bible and pray, but God does not lead unbelievers in his good ways.
God helps those who seek him first (Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 6:33). Some of the means God often uses, by his Spirit, to guide his people are:
- Godly, wise counselors (Proverbs 24:6; 1:7).
- Providential limitations or opportunities (“closing” and “opening” doors).
- A good desire in your own heart (1 Timothy 3:1).
- Giftedness/aptitudes for certain efforts (1 Corinthians 12).
- Hard work towards a good goal (Proverbs 18:22; 31:10-31; Luke 14:28-30).
- Peace of mind/heart (Psalm 25:12-13a).