A Suggested Approach
Most Christians, most of the time, do not make their decisions (great or small) in a genuinely Biblical manner. If we can be painfully honest with that which is usually not flattering about us, the decisional method most of us use is that of deciding or doing exactly what we want or “feel” we “should” do and then justifying it with “Christian jargon” after the fact. Having made up our minds, we then pray for the Lord’s blessing upon what has already been “locked in concrete”.
Decisions made on the exceedingly shaky basis of (changeable) feelings and or on personal experience(s) usually result in sorrow, disillusionment and disappointment, for what has taken place in the use of a secular, empirical and subjective method substituted for what should be a sacred, deductive and objective process of intelligent thinking, based upon the eternally true principles of God’s word. In short, God wants us to have the “mind of Christ” in all decisions of consequence, and learn to avoid, yes even reject, the world’s way of thinking and acting.
This is not to condemn feelings as such, which are God-given part of our personality, but rather to warn against the pitfalls of making decisions first on the basis of emotion rather than on the basis of Biblical principles. Feelings were never intended by God to be the basis of making decisions that please Him. If you follow the guidance below carefully, as suggested, you will note that there is a proper place for the consideration of your sincere “feelings”, but that step should be the caboose on the train, not the engine!
1. First acknowledge that our methods/ways will fail. God desires humility of heart concerning our own abilities. Proverbs 3:5-8, 14:12, 18:12, 28:26; Jeremiah 17:9; James 4:13-16; Galatians 6:7-8; John 15:5.
2. Acknowledge our need of Christ’s authority and power in everything that is to be blessed of God. John 8:31-36; Psalm 37:4-5; Matthew 6:19-34; Philippians 2:3-14, Colossians 3:17; Proverbs 16:33, John 15: 1-7.
3. Pray continually and earnestly for God’s direction, and Christ’s pre-eminence, in all that is planned and done as you search for His will. Matthew 7:7-11, 21:21-22, John 14:14, 15:7, Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 3:17, James1:5-8.
4. Carefully seek to discover if any Biblical principle(s) is/are violated by the contemplated decision. 1 John 5:14, Acts 17:11, Proverbs 21:5.
5. Discover what special commandments apply to the contemplated decision. Luke 11:28, Matthew 7: 21-27, John 14:15, 21-23, Psalms 1:1-5.
6. Seek out the council of Godly men for help with the above, as well as general advice. Proverbs 9: 8-9, 11:14, 19:20, 20:18, 24:6, Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, 9:17-18.
7. Do not undertake the decision if your conscience is troubled, even if you don’t know the reason why at the time. If this principle is violated, the end result is seldom a happy one, since this is an ordained means God uses to warn us when we do not see an issue clearly enough to make a decision on objective grounds. Romans 14:13-23, 1 Corinthians 8:7- 9, 10:23-31, Ecclesiastes 1:18.
8. Remember not to make your decision on the basis of the experience of others! It is absolutely impossible for you to know all the hidden variables that entered into their circumstances and decision(s). This is not meant to invalidate the counsel of parents and others in authority, but to avoid the trap of assuming that others’ experiences are a suitable model for your decisions. 2Corinthians 10:12, Ecclesiates 7:10.
9. After all of the above have been done, then look for any indications of god’s will in circumstantial events of His providence. Most Christians make this the first and only step, which is then interpreted only in the “light” of the desires of the moment! Romans 15:22, 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18.
10. Do not make serious decisions when angry, fatigued, full of pride or discouraged. Decisions so undertaken are nearly always regretted. Proverbs 11:2, 14-17, 29, 15:13, 15, 16:18, 17:22, 27, 25:28.
11. Remember that God can and does overrule even our sins and errors for good if we have truly sought to serve Him and to obey His word throughout the process. Romans 8:28.