How do I know if I am making the right decision?
What do we do when we face a situation that we are unsure of? How can we know for certain what is the best choice, what God’s choice would be?
Throughout all of God’s Word, one thing is clearly depicted: As long as we trust in the Lord and depend on Him in all things, we will not go wrong.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32 NIV)
But do we truly rely on Him in all things? Have you noticed that many of the choices we make on the spot lead us to disappointment? “If only I had known…”
How can we know for certain what God’s choice is in our circumstances? There is only One way: By complete and total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit and on His Word, the Bible.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13 NIV)
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NIV)
Last summer we found ourselves stuck on the Massachusetts Turnpike. We had no idea that Friday was the day for holiday migration in that state. As we were crawling along like a dying snake, we decided that there must be a way around this traffic.
Because we were not from the region, we had to rely on maps. First question? How to get out of the traffic! The next exit was the solution.
We then set our GPS to guide us to our final destination via that exit. And it seemed to work. At least for a while.
Just like maps, we have God’s Word, that will always guide us in the right direction. We can’t ever go wrong when we rely on it! However, God’s Word, without the guidance of its Author, the Holy Spirit (“All Scripture is God-breathedâ€¦” 2 Tim 3:16 NIV) is not of much use to us. But with God’s Spirit’s guidance, it will lead us to our destination, and just like the GPS, it will guide us to the right decision.
How does it work, exactly?
Just like Jesus, we pray first and share our burden of choice with our Maker. “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there aloneâ€¦” (Matt 14:23 NIV)
At times we can hear God whisper to us which way to take, but at other times we do not. In both of these scenarios, we still will need Biblical confirmation, as God will never contradict His Word.
In prayer we ask God to guide us through His Spirit to reveal to us through His Word what His will is. We need to trust Him that He will come through for us: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matt 21:22 NIV)
When we feel that peace of heart that only God can provide, then we open God’s Word to wherever He leads us. Prayerfully we go over the Bible text that caught our attention. At times we may not see the connection with our situation. We don’t need to despair. Instead we need to prayerfully read the entire context of the text, and watch how God reveals Himself to us.
If we need more confirmation, we can prayerfully open our Bible somewhere else, and do exactly the same as what we did with the first Bible text we read. We won’t be disappointed!
“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.” (Isa 58:11 NIV)
At times, though, we need to wait upon the Lord. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Ps 27:14 NIV)
More often than not, it is at these times when we are the ones who are not ready to hear what the Lord has to say. Perhaps we cling to a decision that will be far from satisfying, and if we persist in our obstinacy, it will lead us into trouble.
“He (Saul) inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.” (1 Sam 28:6 NIV) When Saul didn’t hear from the Lord, he became impatient and he stubbornly decided to consult with a medium. This decision led him very soon afterwards to his own death on Mount Gilboa.
At other times we need to learn patience. This is the time when we can learn to enjoy our ride through life, always reminding ourselves that “in all things God works for the good of those who love himâ€¦” (Rom 8:28 NIV) It is our time to bond with God and to develop our trust in Him.
After finally escaping Massachusetts, we again got caught in traffic on our way to Northern Maine. This time neither our maps nor the GPS could help us out. There simply were no other routes to where we were going! Our only alternatives were to get angry or to enjoy the ride. We remembered that God was in our midst, and we enjoyed the ride.
We can be assured that when we depend on God for all of our decisions, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem, we will be able to exclaim to our loving Heavenly Father: “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.” (Ps 73:24 NIV)
It’s all really a question of trust! “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1 NIV)
Do we truly believe, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb 13:5 NIV)?
What will your choice be?