What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do
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Many of you are currently dealing with a big decision to make, and you simply don’t know what to do. You might be asking questions such as:
- Should I change jobs?
- Should I move to another city/state?
- Should I buy this house?
- Should I retire?
- Should I marry this person?
- Should I go to this church?
We all face big decisions in life. Sometimes, these decisions can keep us awake at night and weigh heavily on us. What do we do when we don’t know what to do?
Anytime we deal with a major decision, we must look at 3 things: God’s instruction, the trend of circumstances, and our conscience.
1) Follow God’s Instruction
If our decision is addressed in the Word of God, it’s an easy decision to make. If God says it, so be it!
For example, if you are a Christian, and you are questioning whether or not you should date/marry a non-Christian, the Bible tells us not to do that (2 Corinthians 6:14).
If you are providing for your family, hate your job, and decide to quit your day job without having any other source of income coming in, you are disobeying God’s Word (I Timothy 5:8). It would also be a foolish move practically.
Sometimes we face decisions that deal with our authorities. The Bible tells us to honor and submit to our authorities. If you’re a teenager, and your parent(s) tells you to be home at a certain hour, you shouldn’t struggle with deciding whether or not to stay out later. God’s Word is clear to honor your parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2). If your employer tells you to stay late to finish a project, you honor your employer (Ephesians 6:5-7).
A word of caution: Whenever you go to God’s Word for guidance, be sure to read the Bible in Its proper context. Don’t just randomly open up the Bible and hope God will answer you.
Although the Bible will address our moral decisions, It may not address all of our priority decisions. So, then, what do we do?
2) Evaluate the Trend of Circumstances
After looking at God’s Word, we need to evaluate the facts. Andy Stanley says, “Investigate before you initiate.” As you investigate, identify the pros and cons and ask questions such as:
- What are the risks if I make this decision?
- Who will be at risk?
- Do I have to make a decision?
- What do trustworthy people say?
- Am I unhappy? Why?
- Is this decision a need or a want?
- Is my decision self-promoting or self-sacrificing?
Randy Pope says if your decision is self-promoting, be careful. Self-promoting is not all wrong, but you need to know what’s motivating you to do this. If the decision is self-sacrificing, listen carefully.
If you are still lost on what to do after looking at God’s Word and evaluating the circumstances, then…
3) Listen to Your Conscience
You need to ask yourself the questions:
- What is my desire?
- What must be done?
- What is my conviction?
Christians believe in the Holy Spirit, and I believe the Holy Spirit counsels us and convicts us to do certain things. Sometimes He gives us a sense of peace while other times He convicts us not to do certain things. Sometimes we may have ‘a bad feeling about something.’ This could be our intuition, but the Holy Spirit might also be telling us something. Pay close attention.
A word of caution about our Conscience: If you don’t pray about the decision, look at God’s Word, listen to wise counsel, or evaluate the facts, don’t make the decision based on how you feel. Your feelings change all the time, and a decision based purely on emotion will get you nowhere.
After you make the decision, don’t look back and regret. Augustine said: “Love God and do what you want.” If you truly love God, He will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6), and He is working in you to act according to His purpose (Philippians 2:13).
For more on this, check out my sermon: "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions."
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