Use these seven questions to help you gain the insight and wisdom you need to find and follow God’s will for your life with any difficult decision.
Have you ever wrestled with a difficult decision?
Maybe you didn’t know which job to take (if any), which school to choose, how to have a difficult conversation with a coworker, or how to gently but effectively address a serious sin a friend or family member got caught up in. Maybe you’re dealing with issues like these right now.
You want to do the right thing, but it can be difficult to know what the right thing is. You need wisdom.
Thankfully, James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” I love this promise!
Yet, in my experience, while God does promise to give us wisdom, He doesn’t promise that this wisdom will always come quickly, easily, or without a bit of work on our part. There are times when we may have to wrestle, question, and pray through a decision before the answer becomes clear.
The next time you find yourself questioning, “What would God want me to do in this situation?” or “What’s the right choice here?” use these seven questions from my book, Follow God’s Will: Biblical Guidelines for Everyday Life to help you make the right choice.
1. Does the Bible Give an Explicit Command?
If the Bible clearly states that the behavior you’re considering is a sin, the answer is obvious. Obey the wisdom God has already given you in His Word! You do not need to ask God to change His mind or make an exception. Instead, pray that God would give you the courage and conviction to obey what you already know He is asking you to do.
2. Has God Already Given You Clear Direction?
Similarly, if you have spent time in prayer and have already received a clear answer concerning God’s will for your life, you do not need to continue praying for a different answer. Romans 11:29 tells us, “for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.” (Remember the story of Jonah?)
Instead of praying “God, what do you want me to do?” you might pray, “God how do you want me to accomplish what you’ve asked me to do?” You can pray for further clarity, direction, courage, strength, resources, and open doors, but you don’t need to continue seeking an answer when He’s already given you one.
3. Does This Decision Fit with God’s Character?
While God’s Word (the Bible) and God’s Voice (the Holy Spirit) are the two best ways to seek His will for your life, thankfully they aren’t the only options available. If you’ve already spent time in the Bible and in prayer and you’re still unsure which decision to make, your next option is to consider God’s character. In other words, ask yourself the popular question, “What would Jesus do?”
For example, would Jesus make a decision out of fear, anger, jealousy, or pride? Would He mistreat others in an attempt to get His own way or to elevate His standing at work, at home, or in the community? Would Jesus cut corners, take shortcuts, cheat, lie, or steal?
4. Does this Choice Fit with Your Overall Life Narrative?
While God can certainly call anyone to do anything at any time, God isn’t likely to ask you to do something He hasn’t already begun preparing you for. Ask yourself: What skills, abilities, resources, experiences, and interests has God already given you? Does the decision you’re considering line up with how God has already gifted and used you in the past, or does it make no sense in light of where God has already placed you?
5. What are Some Likely Outcomes of This Decision?
In addition to your past experiences, you’ll want to consider your future experiences as well. Personally, I tend to be very optimistic. My default setting is to assume that everything will work out wonderfully. Of course, we know this isn’t always the case.
For this reason, it can be very helpful to consider the best and worst-case scenarios for each decision. How could each decision affect your faith, marriage, family, career, health, finances, or community? What is at stake, and is the decision worth the risk?
6. Have Trusted Mentors Affirmed This Decision?
Because I know my “everything will work out wonderfully” mindset can be a blind spot for me, I’ve gotten in the habit of asking several friends and mentors for advice any time I have a big decision to make. While they rarely tell me what to do, they are quick to affirm my strengths and point out my weaknesses – both of which I need to make a wise decision!
We all have blind spots, and no one person has all the answers, ideas, or life experience they need. This is where asking for additional insight and wisdom from godly friends, family, and mentors who know us well can be so helpful.
7. Is There a Way to Test the Waters?
Finally, if you’ve gone through all six of the questions above and you still aren’t sure which choice is right for you, your next step is to find a way to test the waters, if possible. Can you volunteer part-time, talk with someone who has gone through the same situation, or find a smaller way to get involved? If so, this might give you the clarity you need to make the right decision for you.
While there are some decisions we may never have complete certainty on, these seven questions can quickly bring a great deal of clarity as you seek to follow God’s will for your life.
Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author, speaker, and founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go “all in” in faith and family. You can learn more about Brittany’s latest books, Fall in Love with God’s Word and Follow God’s Will, on her website.