Making Faith-Filled Decisions

How do you make decisions?

Not those small day to day decisions, but the big ones.  You know, those decisions that create some fairly significant ripple effects in your life: decisions about your job, your career, your home, your community, your relationships, etc.

Someone once said to me that we should not move forward in a major decision “…until we know, that we know, that we know this is how the Lord is leading us”

I disagree with that.

I believe the Lord sometimes is very gracious to us and speaks in a fashion that is undeniable.  When that which He is calling us to is of such a magnitude, significance, or sacrifice that we need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is indeed His calling, I believe He does speak to us and lead us undeniably.  Moses and the burning bush, Paul on the road to Damascus, Isaiah and his vision in the temple – these are all Biblical examples, amongst many others, of an undeniable call or leading by the Lord.

When the Lord calls us clearly and dramatically it actually requires less faith.  In those situations we know that we know.  However, there are many times in everyday life when the Lord’s leading in our lives is far less dramatic.  In the vast majority of decisions the Lord is more subtle in His leading; it takes more faith to follow Him then because we don’t really “know”, but we “believe” this is how He is leading us.

So, how do we make decisions in the absence of a dramatic and clear call?

Well, here are a few ways that I have sought to discern the Lord’s leading over the years:

  1. Prayer and scripture
    • Start by surrendering your heart and will to the Lord.  Declare that you want to do His will, not your own, even though you may not be that excited about what you sense He is saying to you
    • Ask Him to help you hear His voice and to give you wisdom
    • Seek wisdom through scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you while you read
  2. Peace
    • Even in the midst of very intimidating decisions we must find the Lord’s peace.  Scripture encourages us to let the peace of God rule in our hearts – kind of like an umpire.  Is the peace of God indicating this decision is “safe” or “out”?  If you find no peace in your heart when you are going to make a certain decision, then don’t make it.  Find God’s peace.
  3. Desire
    • God puts desire in our hearts, so start by taking an honest look at what you want.  Be open with the Lord about what is in your heart.  Does this new situation line up with already existing desires you carry.  Or, has your heart shifted and you find yourself strangely open to something that you were not open to previously?  Now, keep in mind that desire can also come from the flesh, the world and the enemy so judge desire against scripture.
  4. Agreement
    • If you’re married you must walk through this process with your spouse – each of you seeking God’s heart, will and wisdom.  If after doing so you are not in agreement, then keep seeking and walking with Him until you come to agreement in Him.
  5. Counsel
    • Seek counsel from wise, Godly people.  Don’t just talk with anyone; seek input from people you know to be wise and Godly Christ followers.
  6. Previous words
    • Is what you are sensing in-keeping with what you believe the Lord has previously spoken to you?
  7. Visualize
    • When I am making a big decision I envision myself in that which I sense the Lord is leading me and gauge the state of my heart.  Am I growing in vision?  Am I excited?  Am I in faith?
  8. Stop light
    • I believe living in faith is like living life as a “green light” and waiting for a “red light” – in other words, moving forward until the Lord says stop.  So, once I get a few indications that this could indeed be what the Lord is saying to me I start to move forward and ask the Lord to put up a stop light if I am not hearing Him clearly.

Faith is not necessarily knowing that we know that we know “what to do”, but with a sense of uncertainty we courageously move forward knowing that the Lord loves us, leads us, directs us, guides us, counsels us, watches over us, gives us wisdom, provides for us and will never leave us.

Wow, in light of who the Lord is we can afford to take risks – making courageous, faith-filled decisions journeying with Jesus deeper into His will in us and through us.  Indeed, this is the only way we have been called to live.

We are called to live by faith, and therefore make faith-filled decisions.  Faith is not knowing all the answers and not believing without proof, but trusting without reservation.

Psalm 32:8

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

Isaiah 30:21

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

Proverbs 11:14

“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”

Philippians 2:13

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Colossians 3:15

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”

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