Do you have difficulty making some decisions?  How should you spend your money?  What job or courses should you take?  Whom should you marry?  Should you stay in Canada, or return to your home country?  How should you spend your free time this weekend?

What criteria or guides do you use to make a correct decision?  Do you know how to be led by God?  How can you find out what decision God wants you to make?  Do you want to know, and follow, what God wants you to do in all of your life?  This is what we will be discussing in this study.


A.    The Starting Point: Choosing the Proper Purpose

Before you figure out how to proceed on a journey, you want to be sure that you have selected the correct destination. The purpose you choose for your life  should determine what you decide in every choice you make.

What is your destination in life?

1.     In the following verses, what does God say your life's purpose and direction and direction should be?

1 Thessalonians 1:9b

Matthew 6:9,10

2 Corinthians 5:14,15

Romans 12:1,2


  1. Below you will find an expression of this Christian perspective of purpose in life along with two human viewpoints that commonly compete with the Christian view. Regardless of which perspective a person may have, he might want to ask God for wisdom and guidance. A person might also be motivated to seek answers from god for different reasons in different circumstances. Identify which of the three best reflects your own reason generally for seeking God's wisdom and guidance, and explain your answer.

a.    First Common Human Viewpoint.  "I am the most important person in my world.  How can I get God and others to do what I want and give me what I want?  I need God's wisdom so I will know how to get what I want in life."

b.  Second Common Human viewpoint: "I owe my highest loyalty to a group of people or to an idea greater than myself: my employer, my family, my ancestors, my clan or language group, my country, my generation, my ideals, my gods or my ultimate reality. How can I get the God of the Bible to give me wisdom and guidance in order to promote this group or idea?"

c.   Christian Viewpoint: "God made the world, and me, for his purposes.  God owns everything.  How does God want me to use my life to serve him and his kingdom?  I need God's wisdom so I will know His will. Above all, I want to live for Him and please Him."


  1.  Even if you identified the Christian viewpoint as your primary reason for seeking God's guidance, are there times in making decisions when actually the other viewpoints above are more important to you? If this is the case, please explain. Also describe what changes you plan to make in order to give the God of the Bible your highest loyalty in all decisions.



B.     The Second Step: Seeking the Best Sources for God's Guidance

God uses more than one source of guidance in a step-by-step process of leading you to know how to decide correctly. Two sources of guidance have higher authority than any others in showing you what god wants you to do.

The First Guide

  1. According to the following passages, what is the first great source of God's guidance?

Psalm 119:104,105

Acts 17:11


The Second Guide

  1. According to the following passages, what, or rather who, is the second great guide?

Romans 8:14

John 14:16,17a

John 16:13a


Scripture and the Holy Spirit are wonderful sources of God's guidance for us Christians. Insight and guidance from God's Holy Spirit can enable the individual Christian to understand and apply Biblical principles to specific circumstances and decisions. The Bible can give us answers on most moral and spiritual questions, and can provide principles to be applied to such choices as vocation (career), marriage partner and direction for Christian service. The Holy Spirit is able to give us answers to virtually any and all questions. He can give us insights in how to apply biblical principles to current cultural and social issues. He can likewise help a local church know how to help needy people in the neighbourhood and deal with whether to build a larger church building.

However, we Christians must also be careful not to rely blindly or thoughtlessly upon Scripture and the Holy Spirit for direction. The Bible is not designed to tell us exactly whom to marry or what career to pursue. For example, God's Word does forbid marrying an unbeliever, a close relative or a person of the same gender, but Scripture does not tell "George Jones to marry Nancy Smith," or even whether "George" should marry at all. The Bible also makes clear that we should not take jobs promoting drug abuse or other forms of organized crime, but is silent about a specific vocational choice, for example, among engineering, journalism and art. And even when the Bible seems to be clear, if our own personal feelings and desires are extremely strong, can we be certain that they are not causing us to find the answers we long to receive rather that what God really has to say to us through His Word?

We must also exercise modest caution about our reliance upon the Holy Spirit. Since we cannot see Him and usually do not hear Him speak audibly (with our physical ears), how can we be sure that we are receiving guidance from God and not ourselves (or someone else)? In addition, sometimes the Holy Spirit does not answer immediately.

Therefore, since ideas can come also from your own desires and independent will, you will need to develop the ability to distinguish between God's voice and your own self-will. You develop this ability in two ways. First, be eager to obey and please God. The more you surrender your own independent will and obey God, then the more you will be able to hear His voice. Second, use the step-by-step process that is outlined in the rest of this lesson.

  1. The Third Step: Weighing Priorities

There are so many good ways you could use your time, money and energies. But you cannot do all of them. Which are most important? You have obligations and responsibilities to your employer or professor, to your family and friends, to your nation and community. Which duties have the highest priority? If you understand God's priorities, you will have a better framework for decision making.

The First Priority

  1. Who or what should have first priority in your life? That is, to whom or to what do you have the greatest obligation? Write your answer in light of the following passages.

Matthew 22:37,38

Matthew 6:33


The Second Priority

  1. Who is your second priority, according to this command from Jesus?

The Third Priority

  1. Jesus then told a story to illustrate who a "neighbour" is. (See Luke 10:29-37.) By this story Jesus taught that a neighbour is any person who needs our caring help. But "everybody" is such a broad category that the Bible offers additional priorities. The next Bible quotation shows that Christians should give highest priority to caring for which "neighbours"?

1 Timothy 5:4, 8


The Fourth and Fifth Priorities

  1.  After your responsibility to the third priority, which two groups of people do you also have an obligation to help, and in which order? Find the answers in the following quotation.

    Galatians 6:9-10

Note: Family of believers means all who believe in Jesus Christ, especially that group of Christians who join together to form a local church.


A Parallel Priority

  1. Alongside other people whom you are obligated to care for, there is someone else whose interests you have responsibility for. According to the passages below, who is this person and how does caring for him or her fit in with your other obligations?

Matthew 22:39

Mark 6:31

Philippians 2:3,4 


  1. The Fourth Step: Using Prudent Reason

The wise Christian wants to follow God's leading rather than make decisions independently from Him. But how does God make His will known to us? We have already discovered that the Bible and the Holy Spirit within are our primary sources for God's guidance. However, God has given us secondary but valuable additional sources of His guidance. The most important of these are the three "prudent means of guidance" that follow.

 Note: Prudent means "wise and careful."

The First Prudent Means

  1. What is the prudent means of guidance described in the passages that follow?

Hebrews 13:7,17

Proverbs 12:15; 15:12,22; 19:20

  1. Name one or two wise Christian counsellors in your life, and explain how you are making use of them to give you advice.


  1. Can you think of other sources of good advice and accurate information besides local church leaders and mature Christian friends?


 The Second Prudent Means

  1.  Without worrying about the details, read the following adventurous account of the early church leader Paul, and then identify the second prudent means.

 Acts 25:1-12; 27:1-11

Note: The rest of Acts chapters 27 and 28 describes how the ship was indeed taken out to sea where it was driven westward by a violent storm and wrecked on the island of Malta. The cargo was lost but all people on board were saved. Then Paul was taken on another ship to Italy where eventually he reached Rome. There he was kept at least two years as a prisoner of the Roman emperor, but in a house where visitors could come and go, and Paul was able to tell many about Jesus Christ.


  1. Can you think of a time in your life when God guided you in this way, by the second prudent means? Describe it here and ask your Bible study teacher to help you evaluate it.


The Third Prudent Means

  1.  What is the third prudent means of guidance?

    2 Corinthians 2:12,13

Optional: Read also Psalms 119:165; Isaiah 32:17; Proverbs 3:13, 17; Romans 8:6


If you carefully and prayerfully go through the step-by-step process outlined in this chapter, then the last indication of God's leading will probably be a feeling of quiet peace in your heart about the decision. In the end, God usually confirms His guidance about a decision by giving you this feeling of peace or assurance about it. If this feeling does not come, you should probably delay your decision if possible and continue to pray about it. You might also need to go through at least some of the steps again.

  1. Can you think of a time in your life when God guided you in this way (the third prudent means)?  Describe it here and ask your Bible study teacher to help you evaluate it.


  1. Conclusion: A Persevering Process

It may not be quick and easy to understand what decisions God wants you to make. But God desires to guide you and keep you in His good plan and protective care. You should persevere in the process of praying, studying the Bible and asking mature Christians for counsel. You will need to think intensively about all the conditions and possible results involved in the decision. Sometimes you will learn by making mistakes. When this happens, pray and listen to God some more in order to gain wisdom for the next choice. Making the right decision is worth the effort. It pleases God, and benefits you and others.

To illustrate this, think about driving to a destination where you have never driven before. If you do not study the map carefully, or ask directions from someone who knows, you can easily get lost. If you make a quick decision about which direction to turn or which highway exit to take, you may be speeding farther and farther away from where you want to go. So you want to be sure that you have accurate and complete directions when you travel. This illustrates the importance of making the effort to get good directions from God for the decisions you make in life. You will want to learn to use all of those means of guidance provided by God for you.

  1. Self-Evaluation

  1. Think carefully about each source of God's guidance studied earlier in this chapter: the two guides, the six priorities and the three means of guidance. Which ones do you already use regularly to make decisions? Which ones do you need to learn to use better? Please explain your choices for the second list, and discuss both lists with your Bible study teacher.


  1. Action Steps For This Week


  1. Describe a major decision you are currently facing. Is it difficult because you lack sufficient information or because the information is confusing? Are people or circumstances making conflicting demands on you in this decision? Please explain. Also write down the possible choices you could make.



  2. Pray with your Bible study leader about this decision you must make. Then during this week use the Bible, the Holy Spirit and the prudent means to guide your thinking as you work toward a decision. After you have made the decision, evaluate the results. How well did you use the step-by-step process (the guides, the priorities and the prudent means) described in this lesson? Do you think you made the best decision possible? Please explain. Then discuss all of this, as well as any action steps you committed to in Question 3 above, with your teacher at your next meeting together.


Modified from Growing Strong to Serve Chapter 8  International Students Incorporated 2000

Additional Thoughts

What follows below is a summary given of how George Mueller determined the will of God in his life.

How I Ascertain the Will of god

1.      Surrender your own will.  I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter.  Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here.  Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what his will is.

2.      Do not depend on feelings.  Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression.  If I do so, I make myself liable to great delusions.                       

3.      Seek the Spirit's will through God's Word.  I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with the Word of God.  The Spirit and the Word must be combined.  If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also.  If the Holy Spirit guides us at all, he will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

4.      Note the circumstances.  Next, I take into account providential circumstances.  These often plainly indicate God's will in connection with his Word and Spirit.

5.      Pray.  I ask God in prayer to reveal his will to me aright.

6.      Wait.  Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more times of prayer, I proceed accordingly.

In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.



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