When You Are Faced with a Difficult Decision
My husband and I were recently faced with a difficult decision. We had come to a crossroads in our life. Whichever way we turned and whatever decision we made would affect the course of our lives for decades to come. It was one of those decisions where we were desperate to know what God wanted us to do.
Can you relate? Perhaps you've been in such a situation where you had to make a decision that was hard and complicated. Maybe you felt helpless, anxious, and uncertain, wanting to make a wise choice but paralyzed by the process.
How do we make wise, godly decisions? God's Word doesn't always provide specific answers to every decision we have to make in life. It won't tell us which college to attend, if any, which job to take, whom to marry, or whether we should rent or buy a house. We'll never open the pages of Scripture and find a verse that tells us what school we should send our children to or what ministry we should devote our time to or whether we should invest in the business we always wanted to start.
Though God's Word won't always address each of our particular situations, it is our source for all wisdom. God's Word tells us about Himself, who He is, what He has done, and what He expects from us. It tells us about our greatest problem and our greatest need. It reveals His wondrous plan to rescue us from sin and make us His own through the sacrifice of His Son.
His Word also teaches us what we need to know to live for Him:
"The sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:15–17).
The Word of God is truth, and it transforms us:
"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth" (John 17:17).
Unlike any other book we read, God's Word is powerful and alive:
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and of spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
His Word is the light by which we view everything else: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps. 119:105).
And in His Word, we find Christ Jesus, wisdom incarnate:
"In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3)
God's Word and Decision Making
When it comes to making big decisions in our lives, God's Word gives us a framework from which to make those decisions. We can use what we know about God, what He has done, and what He calls us to do in weighing our choices. While this list is not exhaustive, it is a place to start:
1. He calls us to pray.
This seems obvious, but sometimes we overlook prayer, especially when we are emotionally consumed by the pressure of decision making. But we know from God's Word that prayer is essential to a life of faith. First Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. Philippians tells us to bring all our anxieties to God in prayer (4:6). When you are faced with a big decision, the first step is to pray. Pray that God would make the way clear. Pray that He would give you wisdom and discernment. Pray for a heart that yields to His will and plan. Pray for His will to be done in your life.
2. He calls us to obey Him.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3).
God's Word is clear about what is lawful and unlawful. When we don't know what to do in a situation, we are called to obey Him. A good question to ask ourselves when faced with a decision is, "What choice will obey God?" I once had a college professor say that if we have to choose between two things and neither choice violates God's law in some way, then we ought to just choose the best option of the two.
3. He calls us to glorify Him.
Scripture tells us that in all we do we are to glorify God. "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). Another question to ask when faced with a decision is, "How will this bring God glory? Is there any way this decision will keep me from glorifying God?"
4. He calls us to delight in Him.
Above all, our greatest desire should be God. More than anything else in life, above all the pleasures and cares of this world, God should be our greatest love.
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart." When our greatest delight is God, then our desires will naturally align with His. We'll want what He wants.
When we are faced with a decision to make, a question to ask ourselves is, "Will this decision help or hinder my delight in God? Will it interfere in some way? Will it pull me away from seeking Him?"
5. He calls us to seek godly wisdom.
"Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed" (Prov. 15:22).
God has given us other believers in the Body of Christ to walk alongside us. We can seek the advice and counsel of our pastor, elders, and fellow believers. Our pastors and elders are our shepherds. They are there to remind us of what God's Word tells us. They are to point us to who we are in Christ and oversee our spiritual growth. Our brothers and sisters in the church are also called to help us as we seek to live a life of faith (Col. 3:16, 1 Thess. 5:14). When you need help in making a difficult decision, seek the wisdom of those in your church community.
The decision my husband and I had to make was a hard one. We spent hours on our knees in prayer. We studied God's Word. We sought wise counsel. After making our decision, we felt great peace. It was that gift of grace that Paul says comes from bringing all our anxieties to the Lord (Phil. 4:6).
Life is often filled with hard, complex decisions. If you find yourself at a crossroads and don't know which way to go, turn to the only wise God.
Written by: Christina Fox