Seeking God's Wisdom
So what should we do when we have to make a difficult decision? First, we need to know where wisdom is found. God's Word tells us that wisdom originates in him. He is the source and fountain of wisdom. John 1:14 tells us that God's Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus is wisdom incarnate. Isaiah prophesied about him, "And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD." (Isaiah 11:2). Paul tells us that Christ is our wisdom, "And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30). He says something similar in Colossians 3:2 "Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." When we don't know what to do, when we fail to do the right thing, when we freeze in fear over making a decision, Christ intercedes for us through his perfect life lived for us and sacrificial death on our behalf. He also gave us his Spirit who is at work in us, helping us to desire wisdom, teaching us the way of wisdom through the Word, and enabling us to walk in it.
So when we have a decision to make, we need to turn to God's Word. As we read and study, we can ask ourselves: Is this choice sinful? By choosing this, am I doing something God has told me not to do or failing to do something God has told me to do? Does it conflict with God's calling on my life? Another question to ask is, will this choice bring God glory? Will it honor him? We can also ask ourselves, what does the Bible tell me about Christ, who he is and what he has done? How can I apply these gospel truths to my decision making? We can be assured that as we study the Word, and as our minds are conformed to it, we will discern what God's will is, "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" (Romans 12:2).
Secondly, we should always seek God in prayer about our decisions. We should ask for wisdom and discernment. We should ask that our choices and actions bring him glory. As Paul prayed for the Ephesians, we can pray for spiritual wisdom, seeking to know and understand the hope we have in the gospel, "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:17-20). And, as Jesus taught us, we should pray that God's will would be done.
Thirdly, we should ask others who are wise in the Word to advise us in making decisions. God has not left us alone, he's given us brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ who can give us the wisdom they have gleaned from Scripture. Many older and wiser believers have had to make difficult decisions in their lives and there is much we can learn from them (see also Titus 2). "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed." (Proverbs 15:22).
I remember a college professor once talking to our class about choosing between A and B. In the example he gave, it was the choice between attending two colleges. He said that if a choice is not sinful, if we have prayed and sought God's Word for wisdom, as well as the wisdom of others, then we just make a choice. We simply move forward. Such a choice is not a moral one. (Unless of course, one choice is sinful or would keep us from glorifying God.) We make our decision and trust that God will use the decision for his glory and our good. We rest in his sovereign control over all things because we know that he is good and loves us. We remember the gospel and who we are in Christ, and know that nothing can separate us from God's love.
In the end, I chose to have surgery. And I'm thankful to report that the growth was not cancerous. Though it wasn't an easy decision to make, the process of thinking and praying through the decision reminded me of my need for Christ, my dependence upon him, and his daily provision of grace for me. I rested in the truth of his sovereignty and that nothing would happen apart from his will for me.
I am certain that more difficult decisions loom on the horizon for me, as they do for all of us. But God has provided all we need for the journey and we can move forward in confidence, not in ourselves and our own wisdom, but in the wisdom of Christ, revealed to us in the Word.
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