A key to making wise decisions is found in Psalm 25:12, which says, “Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.” God’s guidance is promised to those who fear Him. This doesn’t mean we’re supposed to be afraid of Him, but that we have an attitude of reverence and absolute dependence upon Him.
A few days ago we looked at the importance of clearing our hearts of any known sin and neutralizing our desires. Now, let’s consider some further biblical advice for how we can make wise decisions.
Sometimes we may have to pray for a long time before God gives us an answer. He promises that if we ask and seek, we will receive and find, but He doesn’t say we will get an immediate response (Matt. 7:7). Therefore, to receive His best, we must be willing to wait for His timing. Waiting upon God means we live in confident expectation of His actions on our behalf and refuse to run ahead of Him or try to solve our problems on our own.
- Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God” (KJV).
- Psalm 62:5 – “My soul, wait in silence for God only.”
- Psalm 27:14 – “Be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”
Be alert to pressure.
God’s pauses are very important in His plan for our lives. We can trust that He has good reasons for any delays. He knows when we’re not ready for the answer even though we think we are. Perhaps we wouldn’t accept His answer if it came any sooner. Our all-wise, omniscient God knows us perfectly and sees clearly what needs to change in our lives before we are ready for His guidance.
The pressures we face when making decisions come from two places.
- External pressure. Friends and family may offer us their advice or urge us to quickly make a choice before we’ve heard from the Lord. However, they don’t really know God’s will on the matter, and their guidance may be offered out of a desire to please us so we’ll be happy. It’s better to be cautious about others’ well-meaning advice, and wait for God’s timing and direction.
- Internal pressure. Sometimes we put pressure on ourselves to make the choice without God’s input because we fear loss or don’t want to go in a direction we think He’s leading us.
Persist in prayer.
First Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” Even if we see no sign of an answer, we must not give up. While we are waiting, God is teaching us to trust Him. He wants us to move from doubt, fear, and unrest to confidence in Him and His timing.
Rest in God’s promise.
Wait for His peace.
The Bible is our most valuable resource when we have a decision to make because it’s the mind of God in print and is filled with His wisdom. If we want to know what He thinks about anything, all we have to do is read His Word. It’s like a filter that sifts out the worldly thinking that continually bombards us. He also builds our faith with His sure and unfailing promises.
The Greek word for peace means “to bind together.” When we are in agreement with God on the decision, we are bound together with Him. That’s when His peace rules in our hearts (Col. 3:15).
Have you ever jumped ahead of the Lord and made a decision without Him? We will never regret following the Lord’s guidance for our lives. When we wait on Him, we will have a peace and contentment that comes from knowing we are walking in His will. We can trust that He knows what is best for us and has prepared good works for us to do. But those blessings will only come once we first obey His leading.
This article was originally published on September 4, 2016, and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Making Wise Decisions” which airs this weekend on TV.