Section 2: The Bible
Week 3: The Bible Is Necessary
Day 4: We Need the Bible to Make Wise Decisions
All of us look for guidance when we face a tough decision. As Christians, we expect that guidance to come from God. That’s a source of confusion for many of us, though. How exactly does God guide our decisions?
Looking for Signs
Many Christians believe God guides them through signs. Suppose you’ve been offered a promotion at work. Great. The problem is you’ve also been offered a new job in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They both seem like great opportunities. So you’re torn. It’s a tough decision.
You decide to go for a drive in the country to clear your head. You’ve been driving for a while when you realize you’re lost. To make matters worse, you left your phone at home. That means you don’t have access to GPS.
Then you see a sign, “Welcome to New Berlin.” There’s a gas station on the corner, so you decide to stop and get directions. The guy tells you to keep going straight for two blocks then turn left at St. Vincent’s church. That will get you back to the interstate. You know you can find your way from there, so you thank him and get back into your car.
All of a sudden it dawns on you. Getting lost must have been a sign from God. New Berlin? That’s obviously a reference to the new job. And St. Vincent’s? Come on! That’s clearly a reference to the great Vince Lombardi…who coached where? Green Bay of course. No one could miss signs like that. God obviously wants you to take the new job in Green Bay, right?
Not so fast. God certainly could use mysterious signs to guide us. More typically, though, he uses other means. And that makes sense when you think about it. Take the above example. Even if the “signs” lead you to the ideal job, you wouldn’t have any idea what made that job ideal. So did the signs make you any wiser? Not really.
The Connection between the Bible and Wisdom
From God’s perspective, that’s not a good thing because he’s not primarily interested in leading you to a better job. He’s much more interested in turning you into a better person. Remember what we said yesterday. God wants to renew our minds. When it comes to decisions, he wants us to understand what we’re doing and why he wants us to do it.
That’s why the Holy Spirit typically uses God’s word to guide us. Maybe you’re interested in the Green Bay job, for example, because you feel like you haven’t done enough in your career. You just found out your buddy from high school was named one of the top up-and-coming entrepreneurs by Fortune Magazine. In comparison, what have you done? Nothing. You think this job in Green Bay will offer you a chance to make a name for yourself. Then the Holy Spirit reminds you of something your pastor said in his sermon a couple of weeks ago. Your significance doesn’t come from the way other people see you. It comes from the way God sees you.
That changes how you feel about the job. It may be a great job…for someone, but not you. Not now at least because you realize you want it for the wrong reasons. You want it because you think it will give you significance. It won’t. It can’t. Your significance ultimately comes from God.
That settles it for you. You decide to stay where you are and take the promotion. And you didn’t need any “signs”. The Holy Spirit helped you understand what God’s word says and how it applies to your life. Not only did you make the right choice, you grew in wisdom because now you actually understand why it was the right choice. Because of the way the Spirit used God’s word, God’s thoughts became your thoughts.
When you face tough decisions, are you ever tempted to look for “signs” from God? In contrast to signs, do you ever find God bringing strands of biblical teaching together in a way that makes the decision clearer? Do you think that process helps you understand why God wants you to make a certain choice?
List one or two big upcoming decisions you have to make. Commit to looking for God to bring together different strands of biblical teaching (e.g. sermons, daily readings, small group discussions, etc.) to help you make the choice.