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April 3, 2020
What is God's will for your life? To help shed light on the topic, we explored 76 Bible verses about decisions, choices, and wisdom—along with a 7-step biblical decision-making guide.
June 13, 2018
What does the Bible say about making decisions?
Making decisions can feel overwhelming.
You have a gazillion options to choose between for everything.
You’ll open a new browser tab in Google to an answer a question before making a decision.
You’ll bounce back and forth at work by switching between tasks hundreds of times.
To add insult to injury, according to one study, adults will make 35,000 decisions every day.
I feel anxious just writing about these statistics.
Time to heed Jim Gaffigan’s advice:
You may not feel like it’s a big deal to make thousands of choices every day. But for some of you reading this post, making decisions—both big and small—is grueling.
You second guess yourself all of the time, and you’re just never sure about the choices you make.
Regardless of where you find yourself about the decisions you make, as a follower of Christ, I know you’re concerned about whether or not you make decisions that please God.
In short, you want to walk in God’s will for your life.
To help you know God’s will, make biblical decisions, and overcome decision anxiety, we poured over 76 Bible verses about decisions, choices, and wisdom.
After reflecting on these scriptures about decision making, we put together a guide to help you better understand God’s will and how to make biblical choices.
In this post, we’re going to cover the following:
Alright, sit back and buckle up.
This one’s a doozy!
Talking about the will of God is easier said than done.
There tends to be a bit of confusion (understatement?) surrounding this topic of conversation.
The challenge in talking about God’s will really boils down to this:
Mixing up the way we talk about God’s will with the way the Bible talks about God’s will.
Let me explain.
The Bible generally talks about God’s will in two different ways, which are made clear in Deuteronomy 29:29:
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."
In this verse, we see that the Bible talks about God’s will in these two ways:
Let’s take a moment to explore these two sides of the same coin.
God’s sovereign will is also known as his “secret” will or his “hidden” will. In other words, we don’t see this part of God’s will until after it occurs.
Is it God’s will for it to rain tomorrow?
Will your favorite football, baseball, or basketball team win the championship?
Will the business proposal you pitched get picked up?
You may be able to forecast the answer to these questions and have a pretty good idea of the outcome, but you won’t know God’s will until after the fact.
What is more, there’s entirely nothing that falls outside of God’s sovereign will. Whatever God has willed (decreed) to occur will happen.
We see God’s sovereign (secret) will in many verses in the Bible:
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
"Remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose.’"
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”
"For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”
"In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will."
God’s revealed will refers to how God desires for us to live.
This side of God’s will is made plain as day in the Bible.
Here are a few examples to consider:
This list can go on. But you get the point.
On the one hand, when we’re talking about God’s will for your life, you’re not going to find the answer to specific questions you have, such as:
On the other hand, what you will find in the Bible are morals and principles that will guide you in the decisions you make, which will explore in detail below.
In the meantime, here’s one key passage from the Bible that talks about God’s revealed will:
“And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness."
As I mentioned above, you’re going to make around 35,000 decisions today.
For the vast majority of the decisions you make, you’ll just need to make a choice.
Assuming you’re in communion with God through prayer, reading the Bible, and Christian community, you won’t need to spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating every little decision you make.
For instance, here are some fundamental decisions God expects you to make with the brain and common sense he gave you:
But here’s the deal: When you need to make a non-moral decision that’s not spelled out in the Bible (e.g., marriage, work, college), it’s a good idea to follow the Bible verses about decisions.
Following God’s guidance in decision making will help you to avoid potential pitfalls and honor the LORD in the decision you make.
In studying Bible verses about decisions, there’s an observable 7-step biblical decision-making guide that comes to the surface:
Below, I'm going to walk you through how to make decisions with God and explore what the Bible has to say about making choices.
Are you not sure about whether or not you should marry someone?
Do you have a new job opportunity you’re considering?
Are you thinking through what church you should join?
The first step you need to take when making a decision is to actually clarify the decision you need to make. This is the compass that will guide you through the rest of this decision-making process.
If you’re confused or not sure what you’re trying to decide, you’ll be walking in a fog throughout the rest of this process. Before moving forward, make sure you have a clear idea in mind about the decision you need to make.
"If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
"The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him."
The next step you need to take is to get wisdom from God.
Thankfully, as I pointed about above, God doesn’t hide his will for your life close to his chest like a skillful poker player. He lets you know how he desires for you to live your life for him.
To get wisdom from God, you have to fear the LORD first.
Check out this opening salvo from the Book of Proverbs:
“The fear to the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” —Proverbs 1:7
In this context, to fear the LORD is to revere the LORD.
Through faith in Christ, you’ll be led to have a profound awe, respect, and humility in your heart for the LORD. Fearing the LORD is the starting position you’ll need to take if you desire to live your life for him.
We see this reality clearly illustrated in Deuteronomy 10:20-21:
“You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen.”
Getting wisdom from God for the decision you need to make is not an idle pursuit.
It does require studying the Bible to understand what God has to say about your decision. But obtaining this information alone is not enough.
We’ll talk more about this in the next step (seek godly counsel). But I want to highlight it now so that way you’re not inclined to stop reading at this point and move on.
Now, let’s take a look at the difference between knowledge and wisdom. It’s easy to get the two of these confused, and it’s essential to make sure you know the difference between them.
Have you memorized the Bible verses about wisdom and guidance?
Do you know a handful of Bible verses about dating, marriage, and sex?
Can you quote several passages about work?
You need to know what the Bible has to say about the decision you want to make to be informed. But knowing what the Bible has to say about any given topic is only one part of getting wisdom from God.
When we talk about biblical decision making, knowledge is knowing what the Bible has to say about the decision you need to make. Knowledge is having the right information.
If you have wrong or misinformation about what the Bible says about any given topic, you’ll make a wrong, misinformed, or sinful decision.
So, if knowledge is having information, then wisdom is being able to apply that information to your situation. This is the difference between knowledge and wisdom you need to know.
To help you think through getting wisdom from God, here are multiple Bible verses about wisdom and guidance for you to review.
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
"So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance."
"The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.”
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
"My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.”
"Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake;
to a silent stone, Arise!
Can this teach?
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
and there is no breath at all in it."
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
"And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."
You are not called to live your life alone.
God has created you for community.
When you place your faith in Christ, you become a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12).
As you study Bible verses about decisions, one clear theme you’ll observe time-and-time again is your need for godly counsel to make wise choices.
Again, you don’t need to ask someone their opinion on most of the decisions you make every day. But when you’re dealing with a choice that isn’t clearly addressed in the Bible, it’s essential to seek the advice of other Christians in your life.
So take the time to listen to what your family, friends, and church leaders have to say.
But here’s the kicker:
Make sure you’re not living in an echo chamber.
In other words, don’t only seek the counsel of someone in your life who you know will agree with the decision you want to make. Maintain a posture of humility by being open to hearing the opinions of other godly men and women in your life—even if you don’t agree with what they have to say.
Here are some Bible verses about guidance in decision making that will shed some additional light:
"Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”
"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."
"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice."
"Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice."
"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."
"Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
"The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor."
"Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion... A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
"The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper."
"Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
"Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered."
"Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals.'”
The stool of God’s wisdom is held up by three-legs: the Bible, godly counsel, and prayer.
As you study the scriptures on decision making and seek godly counsel, don’t forget to pray along the way.
In seeking God’s guidance in decision making, you need to ask for God’s help to apply what you’re reading in the Bible and what you hear from your community.
God wants you to make wise decisions, and he has given you an open invitation to ask for wisdom (James 1:5).
Trust the Lord.
Believe in him.
And ask him to give you the wisdom you need.
As you maintain a posture of prayer, it’s also a good idea to set aside dedicated time to pray about your decision. In your prayers, be open to the possibility that the LORD will redirect your desires to lead you in the direction he wants you to go.
"For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding."
1 Chronicles 16:11:
"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!"
"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
"Pray then like this:
'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven."
"And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."
1 Corinthians 3:18:
"Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become 'fools' so that you may become wise."
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
Here’s one key to making big decisions:
By the time you get to this step, it’s possible that days, weeks, or months have passed by. Don’t rush the process. Take time to understand the decision you need to make, study the Bible, seek counsel, and pray.
Before making your final choice about a job, school, or whatever you decision you need to make, make sure you consider all of the choices you have.
Check out these few scriptures on choices:
"The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down."
"A faithful witness does not lie,
but a false witness breathes out lies."
"The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?"
Now it’s time to make a decision.
This sounds simple enough. But many Christians struggle with passivity or timidity in making a choice.
At the end of the day, you have to make a decision.
Here’s a list of Bible verses about choices for you to consider:
"The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live."
"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil."
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
"Choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin."
After making your decision, you may feel like you can wash your hands and walk away.
But not so fast.
Regardless of the decision you made, you’re still called to trust in the LORD.
Do you want to glorify God in your work?
You’ll need to trust him to empower you to do the work you’re called to do.
Do you want to love your wife like Jesus loves the church?
You need God’s help to do that.
Do you want to live and love like Jesus today?
Well, you can’t do that on your own. You need to trust that God the Holy Spirit will empower you to live a life like Christ.
What’s the point of all this?
There will never be a time when you “arrive” as a Christian.
Every single day of your life you will need to trust God with everything.
God is always guiding you.
Regardless if you’re actively pursuing God, read your Bible and prayed for one hour today, or committed a sin, God’s will for you and everyone else in the world isn’t altered. He's still at work in your life guiding your along the way.
Be sure to study these Bible verses about trusting God:
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
"And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail."
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"
"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere."
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand."
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Let’s face it:
You’re going to meet challenging times in your life.
God doesn’t promise you a life void of pain and suffering on this side of heaven. You’ll experience highs and lows. But God and his people will comfort you, support you, and transform you more into the likeness of Jesus Christ along the way.
To help you see trying times in your life from God’s perspective, there are many Bible verses about trusting God in difficult times that will shed some light on your situation:
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”
"And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you."
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him."
"When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.”
"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act."
"Cast your burden on the LORD,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.”
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted."
Are you prone to worry about everything in your life?
It’s easy to be tempted with anxiety about how things will or will not work out. This is the case for many Christians in the United States and around the world.
It can be easy to focus on the things going wrong in our life instead of trusting in God who we cannot see.
If you’re prone to feel anxiety, consider spending time meditating on these Bible verses about trusting God and not worry:
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
"But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.’"
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”
"When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.”
"When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.”
"Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."
While making decisions may feel overwhelming for you, I pray these Bible verses about decisions, choices, and wisdom bring you clarity and bring you peace in the decisions you make.
Before asking my parting question, let’s take a quick look at the 7-step biblical decision-making guide I shared above:
From among these different steps, which step do you struggle with the most? What step do you find the greatest clarity in your decision? Share your thoughts in the comments below!