How do I determine God’s will in decisions? Which way should I go? Can I get off track and be journeying to a place God did not intend for me?
In this series on God’s will, I am going to give you a fully authenticated, guaranteed, pastor-approved way of figuring out God’s will for your decisions.
3-PARTS ON STANDING ON ONE FOUNDATION
Think of it like a three-legged stool. One leg is your desires. The other leg is your abilities. The final leg is your opportunities. OK, there is the method. But there is something that is required, that if you don’t have, the three-legged stool is meaningless OR the three-legged stool can be misused and lead you away from God’s heart. That essential thing is the ground that stool rests upon. We need a foundation for the stool. That foundation is the Word of God.
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.Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
We will unpack each of the legs in the following weeks, but you may have raised an eyebrow at the desires part. “Wait, don’t my desires need to be replaced by God’s desires?!?” Well, kind of. The best way to put it: your desires need to echo and be baptized in God’s revealed will for your mind, heart, will, and strength. This is the most important part of knowing God’s will for things like vocation or location. What is God’s will for my character? My beliefs? My vision of the meaning of life?
Being Grounded in Scripture
I like the Proverbs 3 text because it lays it out so clearly what it means to have a Bible-drenched life, which then produces godly decisions. We are to trust God. We are to trust Him with all our hearts. That means we must daily repent of trusting in ourselves – we need to repent of our self-sufficiency, self-justification, self-orientation, construing our own abilities as if we made our life, as if our strengths are self-emanating. Rather, we need to flee such thinking. We need to lean upon God alone. Finally, we need to acknowledge God in all our ways. That means before we even set out to figure out the what’s, and where’s, and how’s, we need to ask “why.” Why am I even considering my options? Is it for me? Or is it ultimately for God’s glory, the good of his kingdom, the blessing of my neighbors? In all that we do, we are called to do our best to point to Jesus, to acknowledge who God is and what He has promised us. That is the will of God, according to the Scripture. Then…
The promise that stems from a God-trusting, God-leaning, God-acknowledging life is a straight path, meaning God will make the way clear after we have clearly seen Him and given Him glory. This really is the most important thing I can say, from the Word, about decision-making. The first decision is to honor the Lord. From that comes the particular decision(s).
So, say you have to make a decision about grad school. You have some options. They are good options. All have merit. The first thing you need to set out to do in your prayer life, your computations, and your counsel with other believers is to ask: Is there a school where I could honor God the most? Is there a school that has a strong local church near it? Are there opportunities in that school and its community to bring gospel light?
Or say that someone says to you that there is a great business opportunity and you can make a lot of money, and with that money you could really impact the kingdom. You ask what the opportunity is. The person says it involved the entertainment business. He lists theme parks, move theaters, and such. You probe. You ask: Does this involve any adult entertainment venues? The person sheepishly says that the portfolio does involve some of that in places like Las Vegas. No opportunity is free from partaking the fallen world, but you see too much of a line to something that God abhors, and which hurts people. So, you pass. The Biblical realities are too clear. The will of God would not allow you to go further.
Long before you get to location and vocation, we need to be baptized in the call of Scripture on our minds, hearts, wills, and strength. Character is the most important part of a decision, not the decision or direction itself.
Next week… desires!