Principle 3: Pray for God's Wisdom and Leading

If you are unsure what God's will is for your life . . . ask Him! There are numerous examples of prayers for wisdom in the Bible. The following are two of them. James says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" (1:5). One of the passages that has been especially meaningful to me is Psalms 143:8-10: "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul . . . Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." It is so easy for us to forget to ask God for wisdom in making decisions; prayer is absolutely essential to this process.

Principle 4: Seek Good Advice and Wise Counsel

In America, we are infected with the lone ranger mentality: "I can do it on my own. After all, who knows what I need to do with my life better than me?" Let me be honest with you; this is a foolish way to go through life. We have too many blind spots! Others can often see things we can't because we are simply too close to a situation to have a healthy perspective on it. The book of Proverbs is full of passages encouraging us to bring wise counsel into the process of seeking God's will. For example: "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise" (Proverbs 19:20). Here's another: "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice" (Proverbs 12:15).

Haddon Robinson suggests three kinds of counsel.5

1. Biblical counsel. Who is someone in my life saturated with the Word of God who can help me discover what the Bible says about my situation?

2. Experienced counsel. Who is someone who has been in this same situation?

3. Best available counsel. Who has special expertise in the area where I need advice? Suppose I am considering pursuing a job in the music industry. Before I act on this, it would be wise for me to set up a meeting with a leading representative in that field. Although it is tempting, don't go it alone—you will regret it. Take the risk of being told something you may not want to hear, but need to hear.

Posted April 25, 2008

Read Part II of this article here.

1. While all Christians do not agree, I think the New Testament strongly suggests that God has an individual will for our lives. This can be inferred from passages like Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; Ephesians 2:10; and 1 Peter 4:10. God has created a work for us to do and has gifted us to function in unique ways in the body of Christ. There is both freedom in decision-making and God's leading in specific areas. See M. Blaine Smith, Knowing God's Will: Finding Guidance for Personal Decisions, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991), 228-39. For an overview of this debate, see Garry Friesen and J. Robin Maxson, Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View (Portland: Multnomah, 1980).

2. Charles R. Swindoll, The Mystery of God's Will: What Does He Want for Me? (Nashville: Word, 1999), 30.