Most decisions in life are made an in instant. Whether to switch lanes when driving. What meal to order for lunch. Which channel to stop on while watching TV. But we all face decisions daily, and periodically more serious ones, that require contemplation and consideration before action. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” God wants us to keep Him at the heart of our decision-making. Here are some practical tips on making good decisions.
Rely on the Bible. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Your regular study of and reliance on the Word of God will help you make better decisions. When you know the Bible, you know more about God, and your life becomes more closely aligned with His goals and purposes for you. As a result your decisions are influenced by that knowledge and experience.
Pray. God hears and answers prayer, and any decision, no matter how big or small, should be a matter of prayer. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” When you pray, keep a journal of your prayer, what you are asking God about, and how and when He answers. Over time, this journal will become a source of trust between you and God has you see how He answers your prayers.
Seek the counsel of wise Christians. As a Christ-follower, you likely have people of faith who also possess experience and wisdom around you. Seek out those who might give you sound counsel. Proverbs 19:20-21 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” You will recognize those with godly advice because they will give you thoughts from a God-centered perspective.
Remember sometimes circumstances are providential. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 is a powerful reminder that God is constantly working in your life and through your circumstances. Sometimes the decision in front of you is something He has organized for His purposes, for your good, or both.
Listen to the Holy Spirit in your life. The Holy Spirit living in you as a Christ-follower guides you in all areas. The Holy Spirit’s work is sometimes difficult to understand. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 says, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit… But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” So the Holy Spirit is giving you tools you can use in your life to help you make decisions. Maybe wisdom, maybe faith, or knowledge, or another gift. Use how God has gifted you as a resource.
Use common sense. While we should certainly go to God for advice on decisions, sometimes the answer is simple. There is much common sense wisdom in the Proverbs. You shouldn’t listen to the advice of non-believers or fools. You shouldn’t take on more debt than you can handle. You are better off moving slowly and deliberately than quickly and without sound judgment. These are biblical pieces of wisdom, but they are also common sense. Never abandon your sense of reason when making a big decision.