December 4, 2013

Umm… Go That Way: Practical Advice On Decision Making

What should I do? What job should I take? Where should I serve? What is God’s will? How do I know for sure? Questions we have probably all asked ourselves or others. So, what’s the answer? How do we know/find God’s will?

Like so many other Christians, I desperately want my life and the decisions I make to please God. I want to serve Him in every area of my life, advancing His Kingdom. I want His will in my life. Couple this with a bit of sinful perfectionism, add a dash of the fear of man and you have the perfect storm of depression and anxiety… Or at least I do.

For years I have wrestled with decisions of direction and purpose. “What’s my calling?” I was burdened down with “trying to find God’s will for my life,” and being “led by the Spirit,” or “letting peace be my guide.” Don’t misunderstand me, the Holy Spirit does lead and direct us, I just think I was looking for some hyper-spiritual “confirmation” or goosebumps. The Spirit seems to use more natural means of guidance and direction more times than not (revealing Himself in His Word, providing wise counsel, situations changing, etc.).

Throughout my walk with Christ I have been helped in this area by a number of people, pastors, and authors. I want to share some advice that has helped me make decisions, having peace, not anxiety. This is still easier said than done for me, but I’m growing.

The three points below are ones that I heard just recently, but I think are very helpful in deciding what to do with your life. The statements are from a radio show called “Stand To Reason.” Its host, Greg Koukl, is a wise, godly defender of the Christian Faith and God’s Word. The broadcast episode aired on Nov. 26th, 2013. He is dealing mainly with ministry here, but the advice is good for lots of decisions we have to make. Here is a summary of some advice he was giving to a college graduate looking for direction.

Get Rid of the Hyper-Spiritual Static

  • Get rid of the conflicting thoughts, ideas, or “hints” for what God wants us to do. There are no clues. No hints. You take responsibility for deciding wisely.
  • He has left decision making up to us and provided us with the faculties, abilities, and tools we need to do it (Bible, prayer, counsel, experience, etc.).
  • We are not trying to find God’s will. We are trying to make a sound, biblical decision. We decide.
  • He’s not going to make our decision for us. The Bible doesn’t teach this, nor did the disciples practice it.

Be a Steward of Your Gift

  • Use what you have. Play your part well.
  • There are many different gifts (body parts), one Body!
  • Do what you can. Start there by making yourself available. Other Christians will give you feedback on what you are doing well.
  • Be a student of your craft! Grow in your gifts. Don’t remain stagnant in your natural abilities. How can you write, speak, teach, serve, witness, whatever, more effectively for the glory of God?
  • Get feedback. Get training. Read books. Learn.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

  • You can’t always make things happen.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity you have to serve where you currently are-whatever and wherever that may be.
  • “Those who are faithful over small things will be given much.”

Always remember: the gifts, talents, abilities, areas to serve, capacity to serve, etc. are all up to Him! We are to be faithful.

More Helpful Resources

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will” by Kevin Deyoung (book)

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work” by Tim Keller (book)

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life” by Os Guinness (book)

Spirituality On Your Mind” by Voddie Baucham (audio) (website)

The Center for Faith and Work (website)

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