Making Quality Decisions

making quality decisions

Four Ways God Guides

Special Revelation

Through visions, dreams, angels, or miracles, God reveals His will to specially chosen people. Paul, for example, was one such specially chosen person to whom Jesus revealed His will on the Damascus road: “Now get up [Paul] and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). When Christians “seek God’s will” today, they often and mistakenly seek God’s special revelation. Often they look for a feeling or a sign. But special revelation is not for every Christian. God uses this way of revealing His will only to specially chosen people such as Peter and Paul, though many Christians today claim to receive such special revelations. Seeking this form of divine guidance usually ends up in frustration when the feeling isn’t strong enough, or when the sign was misinterpreted.

God’s Sovereign Will

This is the powerful controlling force of God that secretly guides the world to conform to His great eternal plan. This powerful force is called sovereign will. For example, the crucifixion of Jesus: “Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen” (Acts 4:27,28). This is not the form of God’s will that Christians seek in order to make a decision. This is because God’s sovereign will remains largely hidden from us. Although some parts of God’s sovereign will are revealed in Scripture (e.g. the Second Coming, the resurrection), the details are hidden from our view until they actually happen. We know that everything in the past has worked out through God’s sovereign will, but we will never know in detail how God’s sovereign will works for us in the future. When Christians seek God’s sovereign will from the Bible, they do so mostly to find comfort and hope, rather than make decisions.

God’s Moral Will

These are the commandments of God that were meant to guide our daily living. These include the Ten Commandments, the Fruit of the Spirit, and other moral guidelines revealed in Scripture. For example: “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18). In your seeking God’s will for a decision, you must first know His moral will. Know what the boundaries of the game are. In basketball, you can’t begin any meaningful playing until you know where the boundaries are. For example, in deciding a career, you must know that prostitution and gambling are out of the question. And if you had to decide whether to work in the construction of nuclear arms, you would need to search the Scriptures to out if such a job is morally acceptable to God. Are the Scriptures the only place to discover God’s moral will? Yes. God’s has completely revealed His moral will in Scripture.

God’s Gift of Wisdom

While God’s moral will helps us to choose between right and wrong, God’s gift of wisdom helps us to choose between good and better. For example, Proverbs 27:5: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” While God’s moral will determines the boundaries for the game, wisdom tells us the game strategy. Most of your decision-making will involve the gift of wisdom. For most Christians, their career decision was not between farming and prostitution, but between farming and engineering. Wisdom is given to you from God through the Holy Spirit, it begins with Scripture (esp. Proverbs), and it is added upon through life experience.

Making a Quality Decision

  1. Pray
    • Pray for wisdom — “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:6
    • Pray for ideas and creative solutions to your problem.
    • Pray for your understanding of God’s moral commands from Scripture.
  2. Generate alternatives
    • Seek out creative Christians — Ask Christians with the gift of creative ability to help you generate creative solutions to your problem.
    • Make a list — List all of the alternatives on a piece of paper. If you are trying to decide on a job offer, your list will be short: either yes or no. If you are in college and you are trying to decide what career would be best for you, your list could be very long.
  3. Screen out the alternatives that are contrary to God’s moral will
    • Seek out teachers of the Bible who know God’s moral will well. Do your own Bible study to discover God’s moral will on the matter. Cross off those alternatives on your list which are morally wrong.
  4. Predict the good and bad consequences of each alternative
    • Seek out the wise — While you are waiting for God to nurture your own gift of wisdom, seek out those with a well-developed gift of wisdom. Ask them what consequences they think each alternative would lead to.
    • Seek out those who have tried your alternatives — For each of your alternatives, find someone who has actually walked the path. Their experience of the consequences will help you determine what will be the consequences for you.
    • Research any statistics — For some decisions, there are statistics available that could help you predict the consequences. For example, church growth researchers have observed that churches with an 80% full sanctuary tend to stop growing. This is a useful statistic in deciding whether or not to enlarge a sanctuary building.
    • Discover the wisdom in Proverbs, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes — There is a wealth of wisdom in the Bible that will help you predict the consequences of each alternative. Wisdom in the Bible includes topics such as human relationships, money management, taming the tongue, giving, sexual prudence, etc.