How to Discern God’s Will When You’re Making a Tough Decision
There are few things harder in the Christian life than discerning God’s will amidst a tough decision. We feel doubtful and fearful, or we might feel the pull toward making a decision solely on what feels best for ourselves, without considering others. Without a doubt, we can struggle to make “good” decisions if we’re just depending on ourselves for wisdom.
So how can we feel more confident in the daily decisions we are making? How can we be sure what God’s will is for us? Thankfully, we have tools at hand to help us: prayer, meditation and the Word of God. If we can create habits of discipline that help us stay in tune to God’s will for us, then when tough decisions come, we can feel prepared to make a choice that we know honors God.
The following tools are a few of many we can use to discern God’s will when we’re making a tough decision.
1. Make a Regular Habit of Prayer
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” - James 1:5
Prayer is our lifeline to God. Jesus came so we could communicate openly and often with our Father in heaven. Jesus teaches us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
It’s not necessary to pray this prayer verbatim in order for God to hear us and we Him, but it can be a great starting point for those trying to work into a habit of regular prayer. Jesus always led by example, and he modeled how to pray a balance of praise, thanksgiving, confession, and requests.
If it helps to memorize this prayer and other verses in Scripture when praying, do it! There’s great power in praying God’s Word over yourself. But it’s also important to get personal with God. Cast your troubles on him. Let him into the conundrums and anxieties wreaking havoc in the back of your mind.
When overwhelmed and afraid, our human tendency is to compare, panic, and perhaps gather advice from everywhere but the One who knows the number of our days and hairs on our head. Prayer grounds us, reminds us, encourages us, and connects us to our great God. We are never alone in our decisions. He is incredibly close.
2. Read Scripture with the Right Perspective
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” - Hebrews 4:12
It’s important not only to seek God in prayer but to seek what his Word has to say about the issue at hand. A daily habit of reading the Bible will leave a trail of clues that guide us in life. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can apply the alive and active word of God to our lives today.
If we’re in the daily habit of seeking him, he will begin to highlight notes of Scripture in order to encourage and direct our steps. When he sometimes seems silent, perhaps we simply need to open his words to us.
3. Find Focus in Fasting
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” - Romans 12:2
It can be easy for us to lose focus when trying to make a hard decision. Our instinct is to grab onto something that feels certain when we’re unsure. This could be an opinion, a “sure thing,” an old habit, busyness, or even avoidance to decide or an inclination to jump to pre-mature conclusions.
Fasting, when done with the right intentions, can help us to focus intently on our next obedient step in faith. It can also bring his peace and clarity to the forefront of our minds.
It doesn’t have to be food we forgo, but anything we are giving up to honor him and him alone. We can forgo sleep by waking a few hours early to feel especially close to him the quiet dark of morning, or fast from talking and gathering opinions about an important decision we have to make so we can hear his voice over all others on the matter. When we make an effort to seek more of him, he shows up!
To learn more about fasting, see What is Fasting All About? click here.
For more guidance in how to make decisions, see How to Make Right Decisions click here.
A Prayer for Peace in Making Decisions
We praise you for giving us the freedom to decide, and forgiveness for our sinful choices. Fill us with the knowledge of your will through all of the knowledge that the Spirit gives, so that we may live a life worthy of you, Lord and honor you in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in godly knowledge, being strengthened according to your glorious might so that we may have patience and endurance, and giving joyful thanks to You, Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of Your holy people in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:9-12)
May we choose to remember your peace never leaves us, and seek you habitually in the truth of your word. By the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives, may be see with proper perspective your next steps for our lives, big and small. We love you, Jesus, and thank you for leading us by example and never leaving us. We pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Image Credit: @Getty/SIphotography
Meg Bucher writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. Meg is also a freelance writer and author of “Friends with Everyone.” She loves teaching God’s Word and leading Bible study, being a mom, distance running, photography, and the Cleveland Browns. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Golden-Doodle.