New year or not, our lives are riddled with decision-making. From big decisions like deciding which school to attend, to small ones like deciding whether to spend on that tempting cup of bubble tea or to save that $3, all these choices are made by ourselves. For me (Hannah), I’ll be graduating from university and entering the working world in about six months’ time. That alone comes with so many changes and decisions that, at this point, I don’t feel prepared to face. I am spending my free time looking through career options and man, it is stressful! On days when thoughts about the future are overwhelming, I grip my hands together and whisper a silent prayer: Dear God, give me wisdom that comes from you!
WHY DO I NEED WISDOM?
When we think of a “wise man”, we might conjure up an image of an old man with a long white beard, stroking it thoughtfully as he thinks his wise thoughts. It can sometimes feel like wisdom is something only older people can possess through years of hard-earned experience, but the good news is that godly wisdom something all of us can have, if only we ask God for it (Jas 1:5)! In fact, we are told that wisdom is something we should all desire. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” So why does the Bible make such a big deal of wisdom?
In a nutshell, gaining wisdom is all for the purpose of living the life that God wants us to live. This also means becoming more like Jesus, and isn’t that our ultimate goal as Christians? There was a popular phrase in the 90s that is now out of style — What Would Jesus Do? “WWJD” seems clichéd now, but it actually still makes a lot of sense. In essence, asking that question when we make certain decisions is saying that we want to be like Jesus and live like He did.
HOW DO I GET WISDOM?
Sometimes though, just saying that we want to be wise and live like Christ isn’t helpful enough! When I (Isabel) got together with my current boyfriend, I wanted to make sure I made a wise and godly choice, but making that decision wasn’t as simple as following my feelings or thinking about what was logical. Personally, what always brings me clarity are the 5 Cs on living wisely shared by Nicky Gumbel in his book How Does God Guide Us?. They’ve been my go-to for a long time, and if you are also asking the question, “How do I make a wise decision?”, these 5 Cs are definitely for you!
GAINING WISDOM IS ALL FOR THE PURPOSE OF BECOMING MORE LIKE JESUS.
1. Commanding Scripture (Read)
Does your decision contradict what is in Scripture? If yes, then it’s probably not where God wants you to be. For example, if you are applying for a part-time job that will require you to bare more skin than you usually do or act seductively, it contradicts how the Bible exhorts a woman to behave (1 Tim 2:9). Sometimes, this could mean sacrificing something that means a lot to you. Pray and ask God for His grace and provision even as you choose to obey Him.
2. Counsel of the Saints (Talk)
Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” I (Hannah) have found that seeking the perspectives of Christians who are older, wiser, or more experienced than me on various matters have added to growing my understanding of how I can navigate tricky waters. As I assess their words with what I believe from the Word of God, I hold on to what I believe is wise and let it guide my steps. Who are your wise counsellors and what do they think about your options? More importantly, will you be humble in accepting their advice?
3. Common Sense (Think)
Does the decision you are making make sense? Perhaps you are thinking of taking up a new CCA in addition to all your other commitments, such as school, tuition, spending time with your family and friends, and having time with God. You are already struggling to cope but you are really interested in this new CCA! Think: Does it make sense to take it up?
4. Compelling Spirit (Listen)
The Holy Spirit speaks to us in various ways and one primary way is when we spend time with Him in prayer and worship (Acts 13:2). Take time to pray about your decision. Speak to God and wait upon Him. You’ll never know how God may speak to you. However, even if God doesn’t speak in a way that you hoped or wanted, it does not mean that God is not there. Go back to reading the Word of God faithfully, listening to wise counsel and watching how God speaks through His Word or through the people around you. Our loving God knows how to lead us.
5. Circumstantial Signs (Watch)
Doors open; doors close. God is sovereign and all-powerful, and if He wants you to be in a certain place, He will certainly provide the way. Consider Paul in Acts 16:6-10. Paul intended to preach the gospel in Bithynia, but “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to”. Immediately after that, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia begging him to come to Macedonia to preach the gospel there.
Sometimes, God’s plans are different from ours, and we need to watch for circumstantial signs that may show us His plans. That said, never place too much emphasis on signs alone — make use of the other 4 Cs to ascertain God’s will for you in that season. Remain prayerful as you continue to seek God in making your choices!
WHO ARE YOUR WISE COUNSELLORS, AND WHAT DO THEY THINK ABOUT YOUR OPTIONS?
WISDOM FOR LIFE
We take heart that God is all-knowing, and no decision we make takes Him by surprise. As you consider these tips and seek to honour God, trust that God will grant you godly wisdom as you navigate through the various decisions that you will make in this lifetime.