Making important life decisions can be challenging for Christians who want to follow God’s will. If you are looking for biblical guidance on how to make wise choices, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible encourages seeking godly counsel, praying for wisdom, studying scripture, and listening for God’s leading when making decisions.
In this comprehensive article, we will dive deep into scripture to understand the biblical principles for decision-making. We’ll look at examples of good and bad decisions, examine what the Bible teaches about God’s will, and provide practical guidance on how to apply these truths to your own life.
Seek Wise Counsel
Ask Mature Believers for Advice
When facing important decisions in life, it is wise to seek counsel from mature believers who know the Bible and walk with God. Their spiritual maturity and life experience can provide invaluable perspective and discernment.
As Proverbs 15:22 (NIV) says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Here are some tips for seeking godly counsel:
- Ask believers who exhibit the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23). Their character and conduct will help ensure biblical advice.
- Seek counsel from those who have gone through similar situations. Their real-life experiences can offer practical wisdom.
- Talk to believers with spiritual gifts of wisdom, knowledge and discernment (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). Their giftings can provide spiritual insight.
- Ask fellow believers who regularly study the Bible, as they will view situations through a biblical lens. Sound advice comes from God’s Word.
- Seek counsel from mature believers who will speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Honesty paired with grace is essential.
- Ask multiple mature believers for perspective. As Proverbs 11:14 states, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” Getting a variety of godly viewpoints provides balance.
In the multitude of counselors there is safety and wise decisions (Proverbs 11:14, 24:6). Humility to listen and weigh the advice prayerfully against Scripture is key. The right counsel given and received in faith will confirm God’s leading.
Consider Biblical Examples of Seeking Counsel
Throughout the Bible, we see believers seeking and receiving wise counsel from others:
- In Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro gave him advice about delegating leadership responsibilities so he would not wear himself out. Moses listened and implemented Jethro’s wise suggestions.
- King Rehoboam ignored the counsel of older men to lighten burdens on the people and instead listened to his younger peers who advised harshness, ultimately leading to the kingdom dividing (1 Kings 12:1-20).
- King David often inquired of the Lord through prophets like Nathan and Gad when facing decisions (2 Samuel 7:1-17, 12:1-14). Their messages provided divine counsel.
- Job’s friends initially gave him good counsel to trust God in his suffering. Later they made wrong assumptions about God’s reasons, and Job had to correct their false conclusions.
- In Acts 15, the early church held the Jerusalem Council to resolve an important theological issue about Gentile believers and the Law. After much discussion, James issued a wise decision that was accepted and agreed upon by all.
These examples show both the blessings of heeding good counsel and the dangers of ignoring it or receiving unbiblical advice. We must carefully evaluate all counsel against God’s Word and confirm it through prayer.
The book of Proverbs is filled with verses about the value and fruit of seeking and heeding godly counsel.
Pray for Wisdom and Discernment
God Promises to Give Wisdom to Those Who Ask
The Bible encourages believers to ask God for wisdom when needing to make decisions. James 1:5 states, “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.”
This verse promises that God will provide wisdom to those who earnestly seek it through prayer.
In addition, God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers and help guide them (John 14:26). Part of the Spirit’s role is to impart wisdom and reveal truth that can inform decisions: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13).
Praying for wisdom also allows the Spirit to speak truth into the situation.
Throughout Scripture, saints of old asked God for wisdom regarding decisions. Solomon prayed for wisdom to lead God’s people (1 Kings 3:9) and God granted his request. When needing wisdom, believers can follow Solomon’s example and ask God, who promises to generously supply it.
Wisdom Helps Discern God’s Will
In addition to knowledge and understanding, wisdom involves the ability to judge what action is most fitting. Biblical wisdom enables believers to discern the will of God and walk in it. As Romans 12:2 states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Wisdom renews the mind so a believer can evaluate choices and pursue God’s will.
Furthermore, the wisdom from God is “first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). These qualities shape how true wisdom is applied.
With prayerful consideration, God’s wisdom promotes choices aligned with his ideals rather than the flawed wisdom of the world.
Seeking God in prayer enables him to realign human thinking so that his higher and righteous ways are made known. This empowers followers of Christ to make wise decisions that honor God and align with his will.
So in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, believers are encouraged to present their requests to God (Philippians 4:6). As they do, the Bible promises God will impart wisdom to inform decisions so that choices can be made in a discerning manner according to his good and pleasing will.
Study God’s Word
Scripture Provides Guidance for Life Decisions
The Bible offers invaluable guidance when we are faced with difficult choices in life. Its timeless principles apply to every decision, big or small. As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
When making a decision, we can turn to Scripture to reveal God’s perspective. Biblical truths expose our motives and the potential consequences of choices. God’s Word helps us consider not just what seems best in the moment but what aligns with His will.
The Bible includes many real-life accounts of people making decisions. We can learn from their examples of seeking and following God’s direction. The Old Testament records men like Moses, David, and Nehemiah inquiring of the Lord for His instructions.
Proverbs are especially practical, covering topics from friendships and finances to honesty and humility. Passages in the New Testament, like Philippians 4:8, provide clear filters for decision making: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Biblical Principles Apply to Every Choice
While the Bible may not address every modern situation we face, its truths speak to timeless moral issues that arise in all generations. Biblical principles for decision making include:
- Consider if it is wise, not just permissible (Proverbs 14:8).
- Examine if it is beneficial and constructive (1 Corinthians 10:23).
- Discern if it will help others and reflect Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31-33).
- Evaluate if it could become spiritually unhealthy (Hebrews 12:1).
- Check your motives; why do you want to make that choice (Proverbs 16:2, 21:2)?
Rather than seek signs or fleeces for direction, we have the gift of God’s Spirit guiding us. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:10).
As Christians, the Holy Spirit lives within us to convict and lead us into truth. Learning to listen and yield to Him helps us apply biblical principles to daily choices. We can find direction for decisions large and small by studying God’s Word, which perfectly equips us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Listen for God’s Leading
Sense God’s Peace Regarding the Right Choice
When facing difficult decisions as believers, one of the most important things we can do is listen for God’s guidance. God promises in Scripture that if we ask for wisdom, He will give it generously (James 1:5).
One key way we can sense God’s leading is through an inner peace regarding the right choice.
As we pray about options before us, God may instill a supernatural peace when we consider His preferred decision. The Bible says God’s peace “transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). This calm assurance indicates when something is God’s wise choice for our path ahead.
Additionally, scripture reminds us that God is not the author of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). When reviewing choices, the option that has God’s peace abounding around it is likely His will.
Consider Confirmations Like Open Doors
Another way to discern God’s guidance is to look for confirmations regarding the right direction. Scripture promises if we commit our works to the Lord, He will establish our plans (Proverbs 16:3). One manifestation of God’s affirmation is when He opens doors of opportunity.
When God is leading us down a specific path, often He will line up circumstances to facilitate that calling.
For example, if someone is considering a particular ministry opportunity but is unsure, aligned finances, supportive relationships and networking connections can indicate God is clearing the road ahead. This “green light” of favor points to His will.
As Isaiah 45:2-3 says, God will go before believers to make the crooked places straight. When God opens doors, it is a strong confirmation to walk through them into His blessing and will.
Other forms of confirmation to look for are scriptures illuminating direction, prophet words from trusted leaders, supernatural provision of resources, the counsel of wise community, and other aligning signs distinguishing God’s purpose. As we step forward in faith, God promises to direct our paths.
Tuning our spiritual ears to hear His voice through peace, open doors and confirming sign posts allows us to stay aligned with His will amidst life’s decisions.
Use Biblical Discernment
Evaluate Options Against Scripture
When facing an important decision, it is wise to carefully evaluate each option in light of scriptural principles and teaching. As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. “ God’s word provides guidance and discernment to make decisions that align with His will.
For example, if choosing between two job offers, consider factors like ethical business practices, opportunities to demonstrate Christ-like character, and work-life balance. Scripture encourages working “with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23), avoiding dishonest gain (Exodus 18:21), and taking regular Sabbath rest (Exodus 20:8-11).
Evaluating options in this way allows biblical truth to guide the decision.
Avoid Choices That Lead to Sin
In decisions both big and small, Christians must be careful to avoid options that could lead to sin. As 1 Thessalonians 5:22 advises, “Avoid every kind of evil.”
For example, a choice to socialize at a location promoting drunkenness and immorality would clearly contradict biblical standards. Proverbs 14:12 warns that a choice seeming pleasant in the moment can lead to death when it violates God’s ways.
Therefore, immediately ruling out decisions that encourage sin is crucial.
Of course, no option in this fallen world will be perfect. But by applying scriptural principles, Christians gain wisdom and insight to make decisions that honor God. They can reject choices that lead to clear sin while redeeming other options to glorify Christ.
Making wise choices starts with a desire to align your life with God’s will. When faced with decisions, remember to seek godly counsel, pray for discernment, study scripture, listen for God’s leading, and use biblical wisdom to evaluate your options.
While the process takes time and effort, the reward is the confidence that comes from following God’s path.
With these biblical principles as your guide, you can make decisions that honor God and align with his perfect plan for your life.