ave you ever had to make a major decision in your life? In the midst of these decisions, it can be so easy to try to make them on our own. I’ve had many conversations with people where they talk a lot about what they’re going to do, but don’t bring God to the center of their decision process. At some point along the way, I usually ask, “Have you thought that God might be leading you in a specific direction? Are you willing to follow Him even if it’s in a different direction than where you want to go?” It may be an uncomfortable question, but it’s a powerful one.
The Bible makes it quite clear that our will should not be the driving force in our lives:
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15).
Pretty clear, right? So, let me ask you the question: Have you asked God what He wants for you? Are you willing to go wherever He calls you, even if it might look different than what you had planned?
There was a period of time that my heart was definitely not in submission to what God wanted. I held on so tightly to my entitled expectations of how my life should go. My grip was unyielding. I didn’t offer God a lot of room to use me to do His work. It wasn’t until I began to let go of my own plans that God started to create something beautiful. Only when I had a submissive heart could God could use me for His purpose. As Adam and I each began to let go of our preconceived ideas of what we wanted our life to look like and instead started seeking God’s will for our life, we found that our marriage grew stronger and we were better able to embrace humility and selflessness. I still wrestle with giving God full control, but this comes from my own fear and pride. I have to keep asking myself the question: “Do I trust that His way is best?”
God should be at the center of every major decision. This concept can be difficult to embrace, but God’s direction for our lives is perfect. All He wants is our submissive hearts. “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33)
Working as a couple to make decisions and to follow God’s will brings a unity of purpose. Rather than focusing on our individual wants and desires, which can bring tension and build walls, we are focusing on God’s will and His plan as a united team.
But how do we discern the voice of God as a couple? What does it mean to submit our lives to His will and make a wise decision?
Here are some keys to getting started:
- Pray for direction and wisdom together.
- Be aware of circumstances
- Slow down
- Seek peace
- Look to your spouse
- Refusing to make a decision is still making a decision
- Look to scripture
We must be seeking God’s will together as a team. Pray that God would open your eyes, that you would be sensitive to His leading, and that you would make a wise decision. Pray that God would open your eyes and that you wouldn’t be hindered by pride or fear. Pride and fear are never where decisions should be made. We need to humble ourselves and pursue God’s will even in the midst of fear.
God can speak through our circumstances. Before Adam and I came to the idea of starting Radiant Marriage, Adam had over a year of applying to jobs without any offers. We had people who gave him great recommendations for their companies, but nothing came through. After having applied to jobs without a single offer for over a year, we began to pray about where God might want us. I remember being so frustrated that Adam hadn’t been offered a position that would allow him to move from the difficult job he was in. We prayed that God would reveal His purpose. Before long, God pressed the beginning concepts of Radiant Marriage on our hearts.
If Adam had been offered a job, we likely would have taken it and probably wouldn’t have listened for God’s whisper. God spoke through our circumstances to bring us to His will. Where might God be speaking through your circumstances?
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” God is not a God that rushes. If you feel like you are rushing towards a solution to calm fear or anxiety, slow down. While the enemy whispers lies of anxiety into your heart, God whispers peace and wisdom.
When we are in God’s will, he will give us a peace that is unexplainable. There have been times where Adam and I have made a decision that would have seemed crazy to anyone on the outside, but we knew it was right because we felt an immense peace from God. Remember that God cares more about His plan than what the world sees as wise (and we should too).
If you don’t feel peace, stop. When we feel a lack of peace, that is God speaking. That is the beauty of the Holy Spirit. Even if a decision seems to make sense logically, it may not be where God wants you to go. And that still, small voice guides us if we only listen.
Sometimes, we feel peace about a direction that makes no logical sense to us. In those times we need to remember to trust God with everything we have (even above what seems to make sense) and submit everything we do to Him. He will give us the direction we need (Proverbs 3:5-6).
God is a God of unity. If a husband and wife are both seeking God’s will, He will never give them two different answers if an action needs to be taken. If you and your spouse are not in agreement, choose not to take action until you are. Many times God will use our spouses to change our hearts.
On the other hand, if you and your spouse both feel a peace that God is leading you in a specific direction, don’t hesitate to move forward.
Slowing down is good, but choosing not to make a decision out of fear is disobedience. Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” We are called to live boldly in our identity in Christ.
No decision that we make will disagree with scripture. Now, scripture won’t tell us exactly which city we should move to or what job to take, but God will speak to us through His word–we just have to be willing to listen. Simply put, any decision that will result in compromise to God’s principles in any way is wrong. God will only call you to actions that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).
If what scripture says on a matter seems unclear, spend more time in the word. Bring your concerns to God. When the timing is right, the answer will be clear.
This is the big one–once we do hear from God, we need to act on what He says.
When you hear God’s voice, obey. Jimmy Evans, a pastor from Texas, said in a recent sermon, that if God gives us a clear direction and we disobey, then we might not hear from Him until we correct our disobedience.
Ultimately, the question is whether we trust God more than ourselves. Are we willing to act without knowing the outcome? Are we willing to jump out of that airplane without a parachute if He calls us to?
God calls us to step out from the shadows of complacency and into the light of submission to His will. Fully submitting to God’s plan and will is scary. He may lead us in a direction that we aren’t comfortable going. But do we trust Him enough to take us wherever He may lead, even if it isn’t where we want to be? Are we willing to go wherever he would lead, no matter what? Do we trust His provision to bring us exactly where we need to be at the perfect time, if only we listen?
Do you have a story of pursuing God’s will? Share it with us in the comments below!