I often hear people say, "Let me pray about it," when they need to make decisions, and I wonder how they determine if an answer they receive is from God and not from their own self-centered desires.
Having guidance to make good decisions is one of the most beneficial aspects of being a devoted follower of Christ. If you need to decide about a job, a relationship, or about what to do in any area of your life, you can count on God to show you what to do.
God always knows what's best.
Here are 4 ways to know if your next decision is self-centered or God-driven:
1. Confirmation in the Word.
To know if something you're about to do is the Will of God, you must actually know what the Will of God is. Everything you do as a believer must agree with God’s Word.
The best way to know God’s Word is to study and read the Bible every day. A mind that is trained in the Word can know the mind of God in any situation.
Here's the thing...be careful how you apply God’s Word in your life. Don’t just choose a random Bible verse without looking at its context. Context is everything!
It’s easy to ask God for help with a decision, close your eyes, and open the Bible randomly hoping that your eyes will fall on the exact verse that tells you what you need to do. This is not the way to get an answer from God.
When you become a serious student of the Word of God and memorize key scriptures, your mind will become trained to be in agreement with the mind of God.
2. Confirmation by the Holy Spirit through prayer.
I often tell the story about a time when I was praying for God to show me a sign—not because I didn't believe He was real, but because I wanted to see if He would.
One day, I skipped over my morning devotions because I was running late, and I randomly had the word “breathe” on my mind the entire train ride to work. When I got to work, I decided to do my devotions from this app I was using. I opened the app, and the "word of the day" on the cover screen was the word breathe. Scary.
Back then, I believed that situation was a sign from God. Now, I know that God doesn't speak in signs, He speaks in surety.
People say things like, "The person I always liked just called me...that must be a sign from God that we're meant to be," and, "I just got two job offers...that must be a sign from God that I need to quit my job." You can literally make anything out to be a sign from God, and people do. God doesn't want you to be confused though, He wants you to know for sure that it's Him speaking.
I was talking to a man the other day about praying for job opportunities. He told me that you can't wait on God forever to give you can answer if you're on a time constraint. This told me 2 things about the person I was speaking to. 1. He doesn't believe that God is a personal God who speaks directly to His people. 2. He doesn't trust God to provide an answer in His timing, which is always best.
Prayer is just a conversation with God. When you engage Him, He speaks back to you. Getting to know God through a personal relationship will allow you to recognize His voice in the clouded circus of your mind. If you aren't receiving an answer from God, you might be out of fellowship with Him or He might just want you to wait.
We jump ahead of God because we don't trust Him to come through for us. Pray and wait for a response. Every good conversation requires a little bit of talking and a lot of listening. Not receiving an immediate answer from God is an answer. Keep praying and spending time in the Word, and yeah…wait.
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."
- John 10:27
3. Confirmation through other believers
Once you have trained your mind in the Word of God and in the Spirit of God, the next way to know if the decision you're about to make is God-driven is by consulting with wise and Godly people.
This could mean talking to a wise and trusted pastor, elder, or leader in the church. It could even mean consulting a trusted friend whom you know to be a follower of Christ and has your best interest at heart.
An awesome illustration of this is found in Acts 15:28. The apostles had to make a major decision. They met together to talk and pray about what to do. Finally, they came to a solid decision. The Scripture says, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” A decision was made that was in line with the Bible, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, and with the wisdom and counsel of fellow believers. This is the winning combination.
4. Confirmation through circumstances
God often uses subtle approaches, like our circumstances, to speak to us.
Reflect on some of the events that have taken place over the last few years of your life. When the circumstances of life consistently line up over time with God’s overall plan (in His Word), God might be trying to speak through those circumstances.
Connect the dots.
You'll know that God isn't speaking through your circumstances when they are a contradiction to the Word of God. God doesn't contradict Himself.
If you have a decision to make and what you're considering isn't confirmed by the above 4 indicators, step back and wait for further direction. I know, I know...waiting is tough, but you can never fail following God's will.
One of the greatest things about being a child of God is that He promises to lead you every step of the way. Being a student of God’s word, having your mind controlled by the Holy Spirit, evaluating your circumstances, and surrounding yourself with Godly friends is the best way to make God-driven decisions in life—don't be self-centered.
Challenge: What's one takeaway from today's message that you can apply to your decision-making today? I'd love to hear from you on the discussions page.
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You were born to do great things. Keep pushing forward :)
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