On Making Decisions Where the Bible is Silent

Every true Christian knows to follow God’s commands; and that this will shape our decisions. There, as we all know however, decisions the Bible doesn’t speak to. What car should you buy? The Bible doesn’t say. What should you have for dinner? There’s no verse for that. Who should I marry? Can’t find that in the Bible; I’ve looked. How, then, are we to make these decisions? How do we know what God wants us to do? The answer is fairly simple if we have a robust understanding of our responsibility and God’s sovereignty.

The first truth we must keep in mind, which will ground us in the subsequent discussion, is our responsibility to obey God’s commands, also called his revealed will. These are the things he has told us to do, such as to love Him, love our neighbors, not murder people, etcetera. It is important to note that we are not held responsible for the outcome of our obedience to Him, for good or ill; we are only responsible to obey. 

The second truth we need to hold on to in this discourse is the truth of God’s sovereignty. We aren’t responsible for the outcome of our obedience, but He is. As it says in Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

This is true of bad things as well, although God is not responsible for evil. What this sovereignty means in terms of our daily decision making is that even if we make a boneheaded decision, it won’t screw up His plan.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that all of our decisions are pleasing to God; and we should want our decisions to please Him. The best way to do this is to be conformed to His image so that, to the extent possible for our limited minds, we think like Him. This sounds like a monumental task, and for a human it is. As Christians, however, we have the Holy Spirit to aid us in becoming more like God. There are also practical steps that we can take ourselves, to renew our minds and become more like Christ in our thinking, and thus in our decision making. Reading the Bible daily is key to this. To be like God, we need to know him; and He has revealed Himself in His word. Some passages can be hard to understand, so it is important to have a steady diet of solid, expository preaching; if for no other reason than to keep you from misunderstanding a text and getting weird.

Even those who immerse themselves in scripture can still be perplexed by significant decisions. In these situations, you should seek counsel from other, typically older, Christians that you trust. This is one of the reasons God created the church, so that we could help each other. This doesn’t mean that we can’t ask Him for help directly, just the opposite. Remember that He loves us, even calling us His children, so it is no imposition to ask Him for guidance in our decision making, and there is no problem too small to ask for His help with.

Sometimes, though, it’s still not clear. Neither choice is wrong, or foolish, and either choice is equally valid. In cases like this, you can do what you want. It’s that simple. Pick the one you like, and leave the results up to God. You’re not going to mess up His plans so, as long as it’s not sinful, you can do what you want to when you don’t have a clear command from Him.

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