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I've been wrestling with a decision lately. Maybe you're there now too. Have woken up at night, trying to sort it through, figuring out what would seem best, asking God to make it more clear and lead the way. And sometimes it's not easy, because we're not given any supernatural ability to see right into the future. It takes faith. It takes listening close to His voice and relying on the peace He gives or the awareness of the lack of it. That helps to guide us, along with His Word and other wise people who we can trust.
But when it really comes down to it, we still are the ones that have to learn to make a decision. And follow through based on what we sense God is leading. We have to teach our kids this powerful lesson too, on smaller levels, bit by bit, so that they're equipped for the harder stuff later.
Some truths to lean on when you find yourself needing to make an important decision, and the dangers to avoid:
1. God's will for us will never take us outside His Word. He won't ever contradict Himself, or go against what we find in the Bible. So if a decision seems to be leading away from what we know is true, we can be assured, it's not the best choice.
Danger – Sometimes we want desperately for God’s word to make our decision work. We try to find some “gray” area that may not be covered or is still up for debate in the world’s eyes. But yet, deep inside we know it just doesn’t line up.
Truth – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Ps. 32:8
2. There are other voices that will try to get us off course. The enemy would want nothing more, than to steer us the wrong direction. Often temptation speaks really loudly. And sometimes even those with seemingly good intentions want us to make a decision that suits them best. But we've got to be tuned into what God says is best, using discernment and godly wisdom.
Danger – Sometimes it’s easier to walk the wrong way than it is to walk the right road. The enemy is a master manipulator of truth, a deceiver who will try anything to trip us up, and whisper lies. The world shouts at us to fit the “norm,” their “norm,” and doesn’t always treat kindly those who choose the different path.
Truth – “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.’" Is. 30:21
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“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Prov. 14:12
3. God's ways and leading will always bring peace. It doesn't mean we won't wrestle through a decision, and it doesn't mean we won't ever feel some fear in stepping out into new territory. But we can rely on the peace of the Spirit of God living, breathing, through us. And if we don't have a clear indication of that leading, maybe God is saying, "Wait," “No,” or "That's not the right way, at this time, for you."
Danger – We may often think because we feel fear, or struggle with anxiety about a decision, that this equates with “lack of peace.” We don’t want to make a mistake so we stop moving forward. And yet God never says in His word we won’t “feel” afraid. He just reminds us not to get stuck there.
Truth – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7
4. It is wise to ask for counsel from those you trust. They may not hold all the answers, you may not even see eye to eye at all times, but they may help to see things from a different angle, a different perspective. God may use those around us, who we love and believe in, to speak His promptings and encouragement straight into our lives, to move us forward, or to warn us of danger.
Danger – In an effort to please others, we may find it hard to listen to counsel and still make a decision based on what God is speaking to our hearts. Many times trusted advice will be further confirmation for us, but other times, we may not agree. Though we want to be wise in following good advice, we can’t let the desire to people please get in the way of hard choices.
Truth – “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Prov.15:22
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Prov. 29:25
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5. God's ways don't always make sense. If you've lived long enough, you already know this. He doesn't fit a "box," and sometimes what He leads seems like there's no way it could work. It even feels like the much harder path to take. Yet we can trust His ways are higher than ours and He sees what we cannot see.
Danger – Often the greatest danger to following God’s leadership lies within ourselves. Our own pride. Or our restlessness and impatience. We don’t like to wait for things. Especially when we somehow think we know better. We want to help God work it all out, and tell him what to do. Caution – he doesn’t need our help, he knows the big picture, and often the process of taking new steps involves a deeper heart work that God is desiring to bring about.
Truth - "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Is. 55:8-9
6. A reminder above all: He is for us. God wants to pour out His blessings and favor over us, in every path He's called us to. He longs for us to trust him and just start taking the steps he's leading. We can be assured, He loves us, and has the very best in store. He uses all we face, the struggles and the blessings, for greater good.
Danger – Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking God really doesn’t care. Or that He’s too busy. We mistake the “waiting” moments of life, the hard decisions when we watch Him close doors, and believe the lie He must not want to help. We can begin to grow envious of others who we see good things happening for.
Truth – “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11
I’m choosing today, to move forward in His peace, not allowing fear to make the choices, not getting stuck in uncertainty, but instead, walking in faith. Taking every decision before Him, and trusting as He shows the way. I hope you are too.
Publication date: September 11, 2015