Making Decisions Biblically

One thing in the Christian faith that amazes me is how often my decision-making process is straight up unbiblical.  I’ve talked about this with other Christians recently, and they admit the same.  How often do I (we?) make difficult choices with a quick prayer, ultimately doing what will benefit me (us?) the most?  After contemplating this and recently working through this with a few others making choices, I summarized the steps on making a decision with biblical principles in mind.  Matthew 22.37-39 is a key text. Here are a few questions to ask (pretty much in this order) while wrestling over a big life-decision (i.e. taking a new job, moving, college selection, marriage, switching churches, bio-ethical decisions, and so forth).  These should be “bathed” in prayer.

1) Which of the choices will glorify God the most (1 Cor. 10.31)?  We glorify God when we believe in his Son, when we obey his commandments, and when we worship him.  Which choice will help our faith, obedience, and worship – things which glorify God?  The “chief end” of our decision should glorify God.

2) Which of the choices will show my neighbor the most love?  We first think of how our choice will affect other Christians (Gal. 6.10; cf. Heb 13.16).  Our choice should benefit other Christians – family, friends, and Christ’s church.  Our choice should strengthen other Christians’ faith in Jesus, their obedience to his commandments, and promote their overall well-being.  Also, this secondarily means our choice should help and benefit unbelievers as well.

3) Which choice will make my light shine before men, so that they glorify God (Matt 5.16, Phil. 2.15)?  Which choice will show unbelievers that we love Christ more than this world and the stuff here?  Which choice will show unbelievers that we love the church more than the things we own?  Which choice will help other Christians let their lights shine?  All our choices should show everyone that we are pilgrims and strangers on earth.

Anyway, these are very basic considerations, and should be expanded upon.  Notice that our choices should be self-less, not selfish; our choices should show that we fear God more than we fear men and their opinions of us.  Also, I very strongly recommend talking to your pastor, elder(s), deacon(s), or other godly/wise Christians to help make decisions.  (It is a sign of pride if we think we can make tough decisions on our own.)  I recommend summarizing these three (or something similar) and memorizing them so you have a “knee-jerk” biblical response to major decisions.  It will also help you assist others in making biblically sound choices. 

One more thing: don’t look for answers to tough decisions in some quiet whisper from God or handwriting on the wall.  Look for answers in the Word by applying its principles in prayer and through wisdom of other Christians.  One huge benefit of following the principles in the Word is having a clear conscience before God (which helps us in turn face the sometimes difficult outcome of a hard choice).

I realize this post is a tad different than normal, since I didn’t directly quote a book or books.  However, the above is a summary of things I’ve read in David Van Drunen’s book on bioethics, Thomas Watson’s book on the Ten Commandments, the Heidelberg Catechism’s exposition of the Ten Commandments, and quite a few of Ed Welch’s books (including this one, this one, and this one), along with other CCEF stuff.

shane lems

sunnyside wa

2 thoughts on “Making Decisions Biblically”

  1. Shane –

    I just read Kevin DeYoung’s book Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. and found it to be a great book on this subject. It is a very fast read (you will have it done in 30 minutes!) and I will be handing it out to high school and college kids in my future ministry. My wife also really enjoyed it. Even though it is best suited for unmarried young adults, it definitely applys to “older” people as well. Highly recommended!

    Mark

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    1. Thanks, Mark. I looked around a bit for such a book, and I knew of DeYoung’s, but never read the sub-title. I figured by the title it was a pelagian call to obedience(just kidding).

      Glad you mentioned it – readers, take note!

      shane

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