I recently preached on God’s Guidance. Toward the end I provided some practical steps in how to go about making a biblically wise decision. The steps are outlined below and have been adapted from Kevin De Young’s book, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach To Finding God’s Will.
- God has called us to himself. He has enabled us to know him through his Son Jesus and given us forgiveness and hope.
- The Spirit is at work to grow us into holiness and Christlikeness. We are a work in progress. It’s OK. We won’t be made perfect until Christ comes again. Our decision making is going to be flawed at times, let’s keep ourselves in perspective; it may save us from regret.
- We are to love God and love others. The first and most important command, this should be relevant to us as we seek guidance and make decisions.
- We are to search scripture and keep ourselves in line with the commands and guidance that God gives through his Word.
- We are to pray. Just sit down and pray about it to God. Whether it’s once, or it’s every day for the next 10 years. God seeks to hear from us but it may also change us.
- We are to talk to people with biblically wise people. In our churches and communities, and our wider Christian networks, who can help you think through issues and make decisions?
- We are to know ourselves. By knowing our gifts, abilities, skills, passions, attitudes and desires we can begin to see alignment between them and what God is perhaps calling us to. The question of are we a ‘good fit’ is a good one?
- We are to know other Christians. Discernment and guidance doesn’t take place in your own head. It is a communal exercise. Are their close friends who resonate with what you’re suggesting or doing? Does the church give its backing to your decisions and pursuits?
- We are to think through the opportunity. On one hand God’s ‘open door’ policy can be good. There is a door open and you can step through it, then you can look back and think of God opening the door for you. On the other hand, the ‘open door’ can be deceptive. The opportunity that comes along may take you away from other possibilities. However, if you’ve done the above then I would hope you’re right.
- We are to make a decision. The ball is in your court. Make a call, commit and follow through with it.
As a final summary to his book DeYoung concludes with these great words on God’s will, guidance, and making decisions:
“So the end of the matter is this: Love for God. Obey the scriptures. Think of others before yourself. Be Holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like, and you’ll be walking in the will of God.”
2 thoughts on “10 Simple Steps To Making A Godly Decision”
Interesting post, thanks for the reflection. Two thoughts spring to mind.
1. I sometimes wonder if ‘Godly’ is in fact a hollow descriptor. What does this adjective mean, actually? Would it perhaps be more powerful to replace this adjective with other, more descriptive terms, for example the fruits of the spirit?
10 steps to making decisions in love…to making decisions that show self-control…to making patient decisions…to making decisions for peace.
How would being more descriptive change the 10 steps? I suspect it would turn many of them on their head by making us think about the content of the decision, and in particular how it affects those around us (which brings me to the second point…)
2. The above 10 points are very much focussed on the individual making the decision, without perhaps taking the necessary steps to ensure one always pauses to think ‘how does this decision affect others?’ Even though there is the call to love others made clear at point 3, is there not also the need to ask ‘Does my decision hurt others?’, ‘Does my decision benefit those around me?’, and perhaps even more importantly, ‘Does my decision only benefit me?’ I think that if the answer to the latter is ‘Yes’ then you virtually have your answer — it isn’t a Christlike decision!
I fear that much of Christian discussion/jargon about calling often ignores the most basic foundation of decision making i.e., remembering that our individual decision is actually part of a chain of many, communal decisions that, unfortunately, too often lead to the hurt of others, exploitation of the world’s resources and ignorance of the plight of the poor. If we are to focus on the actual content of what it means to be ‘Godly’, then I suspect our decision making (the process, as well as the decisions we actually arrive at) will be radically turned upside down.
Thanks for your comments.
I suppose I’m pretty happy using the word ‘Godly’ because I believe that the process of these points come under what God values and prioritises. I know what you mean though, that sometimes we can put the “God” label on stuff when in reality it probably makes no difference and over-spiritualises things. However, I’d argue that these points are biblically based and therefore thought out in a ‘Godly’ manner.
In the message and therefore this process I am making two assumptions (1) that one believes that God speaks through his Word and (2) that one continues to be made holy and is being sanctified through the Spirit. With those two assumptions the process of decision-making and guidance is couched under what God has already done and is continuing to do in both the world and the individual.
This is where I reckon the harder word in the title is actually ‘simple’, which I debated about retaining. Because as you rightly point out, as individuals make decisions there is much more to consider than simply yourself. I think the points are of broad enough nature that they actually incorporate those questions you raise. And as for the calling jargon, I’ve found that the Christian bubble over-emphasises the ‘feeling’ nature of call and I think this process actually helps us realise there is freedom in the decisions we’re able to make and we can have ‘faith in our faith’, so to speak. Hence, the quote at the end I think sums it all up quite nicely.
Anyway, that’s me. Thanks again and hoe you’re having a good week.