I often get questions concerning how to know the will of God, particularly when making major decisions. Too often Christians become frozen in trying to determine God's perfect will for their life. Some are given over to subjective feelings when seeking to know the will of God - "The Lord told me . . .," or "I felt led . . ." The truth is God has given us His Word. It is sufficient in all things pertaining to faith and practice. As Christians we are to continually fill our minds with the Word of God which is able to grant us the discernment to live our lives. We then make decisions based upon Biblical wisdom and pray that God will bless our decisions. In areas where the Word of God is silent we are granted liberty to make decisions to His glory.
I have five guidelines that are helpful as you make the decisions of life and seek to live according to the "will of God."
(1) Is the decision in agreement with the Word of God. Actually, each of the other four guidelines are only applications of Biblical principles. The Bible gives us the pattern for living. If your course of action is contrary to God's Word you need to change direction immediately. There are some decisions you don't need to pray about. You only need to obey.
(2) Do you have the proper motive in the decision. The high motive in all we do must be the glory of God. Is your motive in what you do a desire to display His glory before all? Is God's supremacy and centrality at the forefront of all that you do?
"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31)
(3) Will this decision be spiritually beneficial to you and your family.
"All things are lawful for me but not all things are profitable" (1Cor. 6:12).
- - A promotion that brings you to a town without a solid church is a bad decision.
- - A job that requires you to miss both services every Sunday is not a good choice.
- - A mother with young children who works outside the home to promote her career is making a poor choice.
-- An activity that consumes great amounts of time may not be the best decision. (taking up golf, coaching a ball team, etc.)
(4) What effect will this decision have upon your Christian witness? Lost people are watching everything we do. This will effect countless details in your life.
"Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing they slander you as evil doers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation" (1 Peter 2:12).
This principle also holds true as live our lives before weaker brothers. We must be careful as regarding their weaker consciences. (Romans 14:15-21)
(5) Is the decision consistent with the Christian principle of love? (Ephesians 5:2, Romans 13:8). Are you willing to cancel your plans to help a brother in need?
The main issue is this: Is your life a testimony to your submission to Christ? Too often we make decisions based upon "self-will" rather than a true desire to live our life in service to Christ. "Oh God, use me up in service to You and Your Kingdom."