Some years ago, my wife, Grace, and I had one of the biggest and toughest decisions to make in our entire life. With five children to consider, the decision about where to live and what to do with the next season of our life was a crucial one. We felt the weight of the decision. People we knew under similar circumstances had not chosen wisely and had paid a steep price spiritually, physically, financially, maritally, and emotionally.
Have you been at this kind of place? Are you in a season of life where perhaps you don’t have a life-changing decision to make, but some lesser decisions, that if not rightly made, could cause pain and problems in your life?
How do you make decisions about your plan for your life? How does God factor into your decision-making? For the Christian, walking in God’s will should be the most important variable in our decision-making process. Jesus’ words, “Thy will be done,” need to be our words as well.
To start, there are four basic ways to help you discover God’s will for your life:
- God’s Word, speaking to your decision either directly or principally
- General revelation, where you work with the kind of understanding that comes from such things as medicine, accounting, and other truths that are to be found outside of overt reference in the Bible
- Prayer and listening, to get clarity from God
- Wise counsel, where the right people are invited to receive information and give you help with a decision that needs to be made
Also helpful in discovering God’s will is understanding the Father-heart of God. As a dad to five great kids, I am very committed to maintaining a close relationship with each child. I believe that as we know each other, and our hearts are turned toward each other, that I can positively influence the decision-making of each child through loving relationship. As a dad now to older kids, I also spend at least as much time asking my kids what they want to do as I spend telling them what to do. This is because we have a relationship. My kids each know that I will say no to sinful and foolish things, so we talk about it when they ask. They also know that I like to say yes to good and fun things, so they ask for those things freely. In this way, I am more of a green-light dad than a red-light dad.
God introduces Himself as a green-light dad saying in Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The key to knowing God’s will is having a close, warm relationship with God like a child does with a loving parent. God’s will is a lot easier to discover when we know God’s character and share God’s heart. The more we grow in relationship with God, the more our heart loves what He loves, hates what He hates, and wants what He wants. This makes it much easier for Him to say yes to our requests because they are aligned with what He sees is best for us.
The bottom line is this: Sometimes God tells us what He wants us to do. Other times, God wants us to tell Him what we want to do, and He can say yes, no, or later as any other parent does to their child. Matthew 20:32–34 records this very thing saying:
“Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”
Sometimes, God has not told us what to do because He’s asking us what we want to do. If God has not spoken, it may be because He is waiting for you to make a request of Him. Philippians 4:5b–7 speaks to our distressing decisions saying, “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” To sum up this Scripture simply, God is with you, so work on your relationship, don’t freak out, do tell God what you would like, see what He says, and trust that His answer is for your good.
Looking back, can you see ways that you have rightly and wrongly made life decisions? In your current and future season of life, how can you grow in knowing God’s will for your life?
At MarkDriscoll.org there is a special four-part series this month called Four Biblical Laws That Change Your Life, available for a gift of any amount. This brand-new content is a series of lectures and accompanying homework by Pastor Mark Driscoll to help you make this a godly and great year, by God’s grace.