There are lots of decisions that we make everyday, and for the purpose of thinking about Guidance & God’s Will it will be helpful to put these decisions into 3 categories:
- Trivial decisions… like what colour socks I’m going to wear today? Or if I should eat weet-bix for breakfast or porridge?
- Prudent decisions… like should I choose history or geography? Or should I buy a Ford or a Holden?
- Righteous decisions… like should I spread hateful gossip about someone on facebook? Or should I steal someone’s car?
These different categories all involve some important decisions, but some decisions have a greater impact than others, particularly those decisions of Prudence and Righteousness.
Righteous decisions are usually a lot more straight forward to make, and although some are more complex (like IVF for example) I think it’s fair to say that most are black and white.
Prudent decisions on the other hand are much more grey… they involve the life choices that are not necessarily right or wrong in a moral sense, but are still decisions that may have important consequences for your life and direction.
When thinking about Guidance & God’s Will, the inevitable question is: What is God’s purpose for my life? And there often so much fluffing about over this question that people either end up “making” God say what they wanted to hear or they end up just as confused and aimless as before… But the Bible has a clear answer!
- Romans 8:29 – This is God’s eternal purpose for you: That He predestined you before you were born to be like his son Jesus.
- 2 Corinthians 3:18 – This is God’s historical purpose for you: That right now he is transforming you into the image of his son Jesus. God is making you like Jesus now.
- 1 John 3:2 – This is God’s Final purpose for you: That when Christ returns you will be just like Jesus.
You probably spotted the theme… What is God’s purpose and will for your life? You are to be like Jesus.
And so the question to ask when you’re trying to make prudent & righteous decisions is: What does Jesus value? Because if you know what Jesus values then you’ll make your decisions according to what he thinks is important.
So what does Jesus see as important? Well you really need to read through the gospels to find out, but you can summarise it in the 2 greatest commandments: Love God and love your neighbour (Mark 12:28-34). The gospels and the New Testament letters show you how Jesus and the first Christians applied this to their lives.
So it’s not so hard to work out God’s will and seek his guidance… All you have to do is ask: how will this option serve Jesus and his kingdom values?
Here’s a case study from the Bible to help illustrate the point:
1. Prudence – Read Acts 1:15-26.
Notice that this decision is not about right or wrong. Notice that they weigh up their options by deciding what will serve Jesus’ Kingdom (“men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us”). And notice that they are presented with 2 equally good options. So what do they do? They do the ancient equivalent of flipping a coin or drawing straws. And they do this because they know that both options would serve Jesus well and that “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:33).
When you’re faced with a prudent decision like choosing your subjects for school, like between History and Geography for example, then consider things that Jesus values. Things like: ‘Ancient history will help me understand the context that the Bible was written in and help me to understand it and teach it better’; ‘geography will give me the opportunity to understand the landscape of communities and society to help apply God’s word’. And if you still can’t decide and both options are consistent with Jesus’ values, flip a coin.