We’ve all had it. The analysis-paralysis that comes from wanting to make a godly decision between two seemingly good options. I’m not talking about the choice between pizza or pasta. And I’m not talking about the choice between stealing the watch, or paying for it. I’m talking about the large middle category of decisions that are neither trivial, nor obviously decided by a passage in scripture. I’m talking about how we exercise our freedom in Christ in those many decisions that have significant implications, even if they aren’t always explicitly moral implications. Do I marry this person? Do I take the job? Do we buy the house? That kind of decision. How do we make them? Here are seven biblical principles to set you on your way…

1. Respect the grammar of guidance.

Let’s start with what not to do. Many Christians reduce decision-making to a kind of treasure hunt for “signs from the Lord”. The problem with this approach is that often those “signs” are just a projection of what’s going on in our hearts. “They offered me the job… it must be a sign” OR “I’m in the same chemistry class (as this beautiful girl)… it must be a sign”. Under this regime we either abdicate our decision-making responsibility to our circumstances (the job offer), or we use those circumstances (the class allocation) as a divine rubber stamp for our desires. What we’ve missed is the grammar of guidance. God’s Providence, by which He controls all events, is like Hebrew – it can only be read backwards. That means we should only even attempt to discern God’s hand in our circumstances with a good measure of hindsight, and even then very cautiously. Trying to decode our circumstances as signals from God just won’t do. We need a more robust way to make difficult God-honouring decisions. We have it. The bible calls it wisdom.

2. Begin at the beginning.

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Prov 1.7; 9.10). In our quest for a Christian decision-making framework, we begin with the fear of the Lord. That’s entirely appropriate since wisdom and God have a curiously intimate, even personal relationship (Proverbs 8). In fact, Jesus is the embodiment of all wisdom (1 Cor 1.24). So you can never separate wisdom from God. He is wisdom and the search for wisdom begins with Him. What’s more, when we bring a decision to God in sincere and healthy reverence of who He is, it immediately exposes our sinful motives and our skew priorities. And when those are brought to light, we make better decisions.

3. If you don’t have, ask.

As human decision-makers, we need wisdom. We don’t have it. (If you doubt me, go onto Google Images and search for “mullet” – I rest my case). The good news is God wants to give us wisdom, for free. All we have to do is ask, and the Spirit of wisdom will provide (Jas 1.5, Eph 1.7). In fact, much of Proverbs (e.g. 2.6; 8.1-5, 17), that great book of wisdom, is an appeal to mankind to value wisdom for the treasure it is (the chance to align our will with God’s), so that we might seek it out. God wants us to give us wisdom. The next time you need it, ask.

4. Seek the Kingdom.

Any decision reflects the underlying priorities of the decision-maker. Making wise decisions depends on having godly priorities. That’s why the wisdom of God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, told us to seek the Kingdom first. That has to apply to our decision-making. All too often we make a decision based on worldly priorities and then try to retro-fit Kingdom concerns; we try to put a bit of Kingdom lipstick on the pig. So, we take a job in another city for financial reasons, and then ask about churches in the area. We buy the house beyond our means, and then dedicate it to Christian hospitality after the fact. Jesus says, seek the Kingdom…first.

5. Seek the counsel of others.

The wise man keeps the company of wise men (Ps 1; Proverbs 13.20). And when he has a decision to make, he doesn’t go it alone, check his horoscope, or ask the barmaid. No, he consults with the wise. And he pays special attention to the contrary voice; the one who doesn’t say what his itching ears want to hear; the one who offers correction (Proverbs 10.17; 15.31). If we want to live a life of wisdom that honours God we must get alongside mature Christians who have been walking that road for years, and won’t just tell us what we want to hear. When we have a difficult decision to make, we must seek their counsel.

6. Put off making a decision.

Often the enemy of a sound decision is haste. Haste means skipping the process outlined above. If we don’t begin with the fear of the Lord, pray for wisdom, seek to prioritise the kingdom, and ask for counsel of the wise… we will end up wearing leopard print in public, or marrying the wrong person (you can decide which is worse).

7. Make a decision.

Don’t use the process above as an excuse for not ever making a decision. Indecision is just another way of abdicating your decision-making responsibility to circumstances. God made you a decision-maker. Once you’ve walked through the process, make your decision, and then be at peace with the consequences. Even if it turns out you made the wrong decision, rest in the knowledge that you are not God. In the end, His decisions to save you and keep you, are the ones that matter most.


Written by Roydon Frost. Original article can be found here.