As a younger christian I, like many others, found myself with a great deal of major life decisions to make. I was keen to follow the will of God but felt at times that what God wanted me to do was unclear. I looked at how God spoke to people in the Old Testament, how He appeared to Abraham, how He spoke to Moses from the burning bush, even how He used Balaam’s donkey to speak to him. I wished that God would be as clear when speaking to me as He was when speaking to them.
Of course, I had forgotten about God speaking to Daniel through his reading of the book of Jeremiah, Dan. 9. 2, and the many times that Jesus Christ and the disciples quoted the Old Testament when declaring the mind of God to their audience. The psalmist wrote, ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’, Ps. 119. 105 NKJV.
Through the Bible, God gives us guidance regarding key decisions in life. Initially, this was with regard to our salvation, where we discovered how we could renew our relationship with him. The Bible also tells us that once we are saved we should be baptized. It is a clear instruction; it cannot be interpreted any other way. For many other life decisions the Bible may be less specific, as it does not name particular people or places of employment. However, God can still guide.
As we are given teaching regarding church order, we can draw conclusions about what church God would have us attend. A particular church may be lively or have many young people attending, but if it is not conducted in accordance with the Bible then we would not expect it to be God’s will for us to attend such a place.
Regarding relationships, God states in the Bible we should not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever, 2 Cor. 6. 14. If a Christian is considering a relationship which is forbidden in scripture, how can they say that they want to know what God thinks about the relationship when it has already been so clearly expressed.
In respect of career choices, the Lord Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you, Matt. 6. 33. The conclusion we can draw from this is that my career should not place so many demands on my time and energy so as to leave little time for God. Therefore, if someone is in the fortunate position of being able to choose between more than one employment opportunity such verses may be helpful.
The Bible not only offers guidance on major life decisions, there is also help for the steps I am taking right now, the day-to-day decisions I make. It advises husbands how they should behave with their wives and wives with their husbands. It advises children on their relationship with their parents and parents with their children. It instructs me how I should act as an employer and how I should act as an employee.
God can and does guide us in many ways, including the circumstances of life or advice from other believers. However, His primary mode of communication is through His word, and anything else that appears to be the will of God must be measured against this. A feeling or an experience may be the prompting of the Spirit, but it cannot be so if it is contrary to the Bible. A well-intentioned believer may give advice on a matter, or I may simply apply my own logic to a situation, but if the view expressed is not in harmony with the Bible it must be rejected.
Of course, we also must be careful not to interpret the Bible in such a way so it backs up what we want to do. If we truly want to be guided by God then we will approach our scripture reading prayerfully and may discuss our choices with mature Christians to ensure we have considered all relevant passages. Having, therefore, trusted God with our decisions, we can be confident that He will direct our path, Prov. 3. 5-6.