One of the most common questions among human beings is, how do I know God’s will? Or sometimes we’ll simply ask, how do I make right and wise decisions?
Christians sometimes want to make this issue mystical. In fact, we can be downright superstitious, seeking signs and waiting for audible voices. But what if it’s more simple than that? When someone comes to me asking these questions, I offer up three tests. These three tests are, in my opinion, the ultimate way to discern what to do next…
What Does the Bible Say?
Does the Bible address my question? For example, should I witness to my friend? Absolutely – it’s written down. Should I steal that which isn’t lawfully mine? Nope – God’s Word makes the boundaries quite clear.
Sometimes the Bible explicitly addresses my question and other times it does so implicitly. That is, it doesn’t give me a black and white answer, but it provides enough principles for me to make a wise decision.
What Has God Been Saying?
I do believe that God deals with each of His children on an individual and relational level. He speaks to me, not in an audible voice, but in a voice that is much louder at times. He speaks through circumstances, counselors, and in the communion of prayer.
One word of caution – God will never speak to you in a way that contradicts His Word. In other words, the first question always takes precedence. Never say, “Well, I know God’s Word says ___, but I just feel like He’s saying ___.” Never happens. What does His Word say? And what is He saying that won’t contradict His Word?
What Is Wise?
The third question is the one we forget. When I say that we make God’s will a mystical matter, I mean that we have a tendency to wait until one of the first two questions can be answered. We want to pray about a decision until God speaks to us. But consider this – the Holy Spirit has come alongside of me to empower my thinking and God’s Word provides a pretty awesome foundation for wise decision-making.
In other words, sometimes I just need to do what is wise. Can God speak to me about whether to buy the Honda versus the Toyota? Sure! He’s God. But I’m not necessarily going to wait around for the earth to shake and the chicken bones to magically fall in the pattern of the Honda logo. I can size up the deals I’m being offered, make sure I’m abiding by the financial wisdom spelled out in Proverbs and other God-inspired wisdom literature, then sign on the dotted line.
If I put my decisions through these tests, I can make decisions with confidence and never look back. I can walk in the approval of God if I’ve sought out His mind and His wisdom on the matter. If I get to hear His direct voice on a matter, that’s a pretty great bonus!