We all struggle with this one. A post like this God has a plan to prosper you… what to do while you wait can explain that we're free to live our lives and enjoy them… it sets a person free to make decisions. Yay. But the freedom to make a decision can result in a problem: "I need to make a decision but I don't know how to do it biblically".
I struggled with this and then I saw how Paul and the disciples tried to make a decision.
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. – Acts 16:6-10
I'm taking these verses literally. I'm not reading in any assumptions. I believe that God wrote the bible and explained all the things in it that we need to know. So I'll learn from what is there, not from what is not.
So what is there? I see a few things in these verses:
- Paul travelled throughout the region without any indication of restraint from the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit restrained them in Aisa
- So they went to Phrygia and Galatia instead
- The Holy Spirit restrained them in Bithynia
- so they went to Troas instead
- Paul concluded (concluded = decided with his own mind and logic) that it was from God
- Paul tried to go… would the Holy Spirit restrain them again?
- and the Holy Spirit DID NOT restrain him from going
- so he went!
If you're trying to make a decision on what Godly action to take, then I suggest that if it's good enough for Paul, then it's good enough for you and me.
So we could make a decision in this way:
- Consider the circumstances
- conclude (make a decision) what you believe is a good course to go
- commit your way to the Lord in prayer (invite Him to block the wrong way and open the right way)
- then try to go do it
- if He doesn't block you then keep going
This is how I try to make decisions. I weigh up the choices, I "come aside" and pray about them, I commit my way to Him, ask Him to block the wrong thing and open up the right one… and then I go in peace!
I suspect this is what Jesus did too. Take a look:
- Jesus went outside the temple before tossing over the tables right? Did He go outside to find some time to pray (while taking the time to make a whip).
- Jesus did the same (IMO) when they brought the woman caught in adultery – He knew it was an ambush, so He knew He needed to pray about it, so He knelt down and drew in the sand, probably silently praying "what should I do Father?" and in the meantime the Holy Spirit convicted people and resolved the problem for Him. Yay!
- Jesus always came aside just before big decisions – such as naming the 12 disciples or before His arrest.
Just some thoughts:
- A complete lack of peace with lots of anxiousness is a good sign that something is not ok
- Sometimes God is quiet about things simply because He doesn't mind what choice we make and He wants it to be our own choice so that we will own our own decision down the track.
- Having done all… rest. No matter what happens, you did your best and you involved Him. Find your peace!
It's great news to me that God's advice about what to do while we wait for our promise is so practical… He says to live your life! And now we find out that His way of making decisions is also very practical.