Making decisions is tough—but one thing I’ve learned is that adding God into the mix makes decision-making even tougher.
We all have different ideas of what discerning God’s will looks like. Some believe God’s will is the path of the most sacrifice while others believe it is the path of most personal benefit. Some discern God’s will by going with their gut, while others spend weeks trying to figure out what it is God wants them to do.
Whether it’s weighing a new job opportunity, making a big move, or pursuing your dream career, discerning God’s will is one of the most important things we can do in our lives, but it becomes a difficult task when we’re not sure what it is we’re really looking for.
Here are some questions you can ask so that discerning God’s will becomes less like reaching around in the dark and more like discovering what you’ve known all along:
1) How are my attachments, insecurities and addictions influencing my decision?
Things like money, the need for affirmation, or a desire for stimulation are powerful motivating factors when it comes to decision-making. Sometimes we can falsely believe we are making a decision that honors God, when in fact, it only feeds these attachments. Discover your attachments and learn to let them go.
2) Which path benefits my health and character in a positive way?
Oddly enough, one of the biggest factors in discerning God’s will is figuring out what benefits you the most. God wants you to be the best version of yourself possible, so try to identify what affects your life, your job and your character in a positive way and make your decision with that in mind.
3) How do these choices make sense of my understanding of Scripture?
The Bible should be our filter for decision-making. If you find that a path doesn’t connect with the truths we learn from Scripture, it is most likely outside of God’s will.
4) How do these choices impact my relationship with others?
If one path impacts your relationships in a negative way, it is clearly not a path worth following. God desires for us to have meaningful friendships that add value to our life. Anything outside of that desire is a path in the wrong direction.
5) Which path would help others draw nearer to God?
We are all given the mission to push others closer to God. With that in mind, try to assess which decision will put you in a better position to spread God’s love.
6) Who is someone who knows me that can help me make the best decision?
Whether it’s a close friend, relative, co-worker or spouse, we each have someone we feel comfortable confiding in and trusting for advice. Go to that person whenever you’re struggling with finding God’s purpose. Oftentimes, they can give you a new perspective and help you see things in a fresh light.
7) How will these decisions make a difference (or pave the way to making a difference) in the world?
Some decisions equip us to make an impact on the world more than others. If you see that one decision will keep you stuck and unable to make a change for God’s Kingdom, then it’s likely that this is not the best decision for you. Instead, seek the path that better helps you fill God’s purposes for the world.
8) Do these decisions have an eternal impact?
It’s possible to choose a path that only allows you to advance in worldly cares—such as money or fame. Taking that big promotion because it benefits you financially is great, but more money or notoriety alone shouldn’t be the foundation of any decision-making. The path that leads to a meaningful life is the one that prepares for eternity. Choose the decision with implications that don’t end with this world, but rather carry on to the next.
I don’t believe it’s possible to make a decision that causes God to love you any less, so don’t worry about that. These questions are simply here to help you clearly see how God is present in whatever path you choose. You’ll know you’re safe in His purposes when you see God shine brightly in your decision.
Neal Samudre is the creator of JesusHacks.com, which provides practical tips to live like Jesus in every day life. To see more of his writings, subscribe to his newsletter or follow him on Twitter @NealSamudre.
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