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Biblical Decision-Making


Can you give me some biblical advice on how to make good decisions? It seems like I’m really good at making bad decisions, and I don’t want to make any more.

Steve Answers:

I recently asked a group of teens how they make decisions. Here’s what they came up with on the spot:


Talking with people

Relying on friends

Comparing decisions with your morals

Very carefully

Flipping a coin

Researching it

Based on experience

Taking the easy way

I don’t know of a place in the Bible that specifically says, “Decision-making: How to do it in three easy steps.” You may find some very different ways of making decisions recorded in the Bible. Some of them seem to be fine as far as God is concerned. Check out these examples:

Voting, praying, and casting lots: In Acts 1:15-26 you will find the story of selecting a twelfth disciple after Judas committed suicide and Jesus returned to heaven.

First, Peter attributed Judas’s demise to an Old Testament prediction. Then he suggested that they select a replacement based on experience—someone who’d been with the rest of the disciples from the baptism of Jesus until His ascension back to heaven.

People nominated people. (Sounds like a good democratic process.) Then they prayed for God to show them the one He wanted. (Very spiritual, don’t you think?) And then—you might find this hard to believe, but check Acts 1:26—they cast lots! In other words, they drew a name out of the hat, and called that “the will of God!”

Listening to God: The promise of Isaiah 30:21 sounds ideal for somebody who wants to follow God. Here’s how it reads in the New Living Translation, “You will hear a voice say, ‘This is the way; turn around and walk here.’”* Wouldn’t it be great to have God tell you what decision to make? Most of us would say, “Yes!” unless God’s way is different from what we want. If you read the rest of Isaiah 30, you’ll find that God’s people weren’t listening too well to what God had already told them. God warned them that calamity and destruction would result. But then God told them that He would still call out to them, so they would hear a voice telling them what to do. That’s quite a picture, isn’t it?!

Getting a sign: Check out the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:38-42 in the New Living Translation. The religious leaders had asked Jesus to give them a miraculous sign to show that He was from God. Yet Jesus said they were part of an “evil, faithless generation,” because they asked for a miraculous sign. Then Jesus told them something about Jonah being in the belly of the great fish for three days, and in the same way He would be in the heart of the earth for three days. The religious leaders didn’t get it.

Have these suggestions been helpful for you? Are you ready to try any of these “biblical examples” for making decisions in your life?

Let me provide you with one more key verse for making good decisions: “He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern” (Matthew 6:33, NLT). That’s it. When you want to make a good decision, ask yourself, “How can I make a decision that will do the most for God in this situation?” and then do it! In case you didn’t catch it, let me give it to you again from another verse. “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matthew 16:25, NLT).

I should warn you that the majority of the people in this world are out for themselves, so they will give you all sorts of strategies to make decisions, such as considering the consequences, weighing all options, getting advice from others, looking at your own goals, even praying about it. But the final decision they recommend is to do what you think is best for you.

I’m telling you to make every decision based on what you think would be best for God. Do everything you can for Him, and let Him do everything He will for you!

*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Tranlsation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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