8 Characteristics of a Godly Decision Maker
August 27, 2014 Leave a comment
God’s will is something that everybody wants to know. Where will I live when I grow up? Where will I work? Who will I marry? The list goes on and on.
Why do we want to know all of these things anyway? Probably because we want “peace” about a decision or want to have a life free of uncertainty and with minimal risk. While that’s understandable, it’s not necessarily the way God’s will works. As RC Sproul said, “Many Christians become preoccupied or even obsessed with finding the ‘will’ of God for their lives…. Far from being a mark of spirituality, the quest for God’s secret will is an unwarranted invasion of God’s privacy. God’s secret counsel is none of our business.” Too often we spend so much time trying to figure out the parts of God’s will that He doesn’t want us to know yet, that we forget to do the things He has already clearly told us to do. Burk Parsons puts it this way: “So many are looking for special revelation from God while it sits on their shelves gathering dust.”
How should we seek God’s will then? Romans 12:2 gives us a hint: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The “will of God” in this verse from Romans is made up of the commands that God has called all Christians to do. This is the “aspect of God’s will [that] is revealed in His Word as well as in our conscience, by which God has written His moral law upon our heart” (RC Sproul). And what is God’s ultimate will for every person? “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (Q1, Westminster Shorter Catechism). Two of the most direct ways that we bring glory to God is by making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) and pursuing holiness in our own lives by being conformed to the image of Christ Jesus (Hebrews 12:14; Romans 8:29).
When it comes to other issues like where to live, who to marry, or where go to college that Scripture doesn’t speak to specifically, the truth found in the Bible is still a guide for believers. In other words, Scripture is the foundation for godly decision making. Voddie Baucham phrased it well: “How does Satan convince Christians that we need to find God’s will? By closing our Bibles, turning off our minds, and feeling our way to truth. How do Christians find God’s will? With an open Bible!”
Eight Characteristics of Godly Decision Maker (Proverbs 3:5-8; Philippians 4:6-9)
- A Godly Decision Maker is a Christian (Romans 12:1-2)
It is impossible to know and do God’s will unless you are a believer. The gospel renews our mind and continues to transform it as we mature in our Christian walk. The more we learn about God’s will, the more our will aligns with His and our prayer becomes “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
- A Godly Decision Maker has a Desire to Know (Philippians 4:6)
After we become a Christian, the next step is to actually want to know what God’s will is. Unfortunately, many who call themselves believers aren’t interested in what God’s will is, much less doing it (which raised the question of whether they are truly believers in the first place). Instead, they are more focused on doing their own will and hoping it aligns with God’s somewhere along the way. Our attitude should be the same as David’s in Psalm 143:10: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”
- A Godly Decision Maker has a Willingness to Obey (Philippians 4:8-9)
Having a desire to know God’s will isn’t enough to make godly decisions: we must be willing to obey it. He wants us to put aside our pride and stubbornness and submit to His plan. Doing God’s will isn’t boring or unpleasant. Look at what David says in Psalm 40:8: “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Not only did David want to obey God, but by obeying, he received great joy and pleasure in doing so.
- A Godly Decision Maker Considers the Circumstances (Philippians 4:8)
Another factor that can guide your decision making is to assess your situation. If you’re trying to decide where to go to college, ask yourself what you enjoy, what you can afford, and if the campus has a solid church nearby.
- A Godly Decision Maker Seeks Counsel (Philippians 4:9)
In addition to the principles found in the Bible for making decisions, asking for advice from mature believers is a valuable asset. These individuals have often faced situations similar to yours. Ask them how they made the decision they did, what went well, and what they would have done differently.
- A Godly Decision Maker is Humble (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Pride is the biggest obstacle to making godly decisions. A prideful attitude says that we know better than God does; it puts us in the place that God should occupy. If we are to be teachable disciples, we must follow Christ’s example of humility (Philippians 2:1-11). A humble heart also recognizes that we need God’s help because we can’t do it on our own. The beautiful part of this: God loves that! 1 Peter 5 tells us that God wants us to cast our anxieties upon Him because He cares for us!
- A Godly Decision Maker Trusts God (Proverbs 3:5-8)
- Shifts confidence from dependence on our abilities to God’s desires (v. 5)
- Allows God to direct our paths, remove obstacles, and help us accomplish His goals for the world and our lives (v. 6)
- Helps us recognize God for who He is (v. 7)- this leads us to fear Him (aka have a healthy respect for who He is), turn away from evil, and pursue Him
- Provides a realistic assessment of ourselves (v. 7)- we are only wise because of God’s transformative grace
- A Godly Decision Maker is Patient (Philippians 4:6-7)
In a culture that values speed, patience is undervalued. God’s timing isn’t always the same ours and making godly decisions often involves a period of waiting. As Burk Parsons put it: “God always answers prayer. Sometimes he says yes, sometimes no, sometimes wait, and sometimes yes and far beyond what you could’ve imagined.”
The only way to discern God’s will: read, know, and pray the Word! The more time you spend in it, the more you are able to discern how God has called us to live as transformed people. All we have to do is take the time to study and listen to God.
Learn It. Love It. Live It.
[image credit: Walter Stoneburner on Flickr]