Life is filled with decisions. In fact, it is estimated that most people make literally thousands of decisions each day. Most of these we do without much thought or consideration. But then there are those big decisions we each face throughout our life:
Do I buy that car?
Do I purchase that house?
Do I take that job?
Do I marry that person?
Do I take that promotion?
Do I make that investment?
And the list goes on and on. So how do we go about making these decisions in a way that allows us as followers of Jesus to be in the will of God? I have found a grid of four questions that can be remembered by the letter "W" to be very helpful. Here they are:
The WORD of God
Does moving forward with this decision in anyway cause me to deviate from the clear teaching of Scripture? For example, I talked with someone one time who was trying to decide if they should apply for a promotion. It soon became apparent that to pursue that position would necessitate him fudging on some facts (basically, he would have to lie). Since telling a falsehood would go against the clear teaching of the Bible, it was easy to conclude that going forward with this decision would not be God's will for this individual.
The WITNESS of the Spirit
When one opens their life to Christ, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit of God comes into their life to lead and guide them. Scripture teaches that we should allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). I would define this peace as an internal confidence given to us by the Spirit of God that this is a good decision. When my wife and I were looking at what new ministry God was leading us to a few years back, it basically came down to the church we are at now (Gaylord E-Free Church in northern Michigan) and another church in my home state of Ohio. On the surface, it appeared that the church in Ohio was the best fit. It was quite a bit larger that E-Free and it was in a big city (which I have always liked). Gaylord, Michigan did not seem to fit us, at least on paper. I had never golfed, skied or fished, nor had I ever owned or operated a snow blower. But at the end of the day God did not give my wife and a peace about the church in Ohio but He gave us both a perfect peace about E-Free church here in Gaylord, Michigan.
The WISDOM of Counselors
The WORLD of Circumstances
The final part of the grid is to see if God continues to open the door for this decision to take place. For example, if I am considering buying a house then the world of circumstances would include the owners accepting our offer, our getting a loan approval, and the inspections all passing. If the doors close, then it is most likely not God's will. We must keep in mind that closed doors are just as much an answer to prayer that we should be thankful for as open doors are.
Think through the four "W's" - If going forward with this decision would not in any way go against the teaching of Scripture; If I (and my spouse) have an inner confidence that going forward with this decision is a good thing; If I have sought out wise counsel about this decision and found no red flags; and if the doors continue to open for it all to take place, then I believe I can move forward with confidence that this decision is in the will of God for my life.