Making Decisions


Christians can often be confused about God’s will for their lives. Perhaps even the thought of making decisions stirs up anxiety and paralyzing fear. How should we think through the decision making process? It starts with Scripture, includes desires, and ends with resting in God’s kind sovereignty.

God guides first and foremost through his revealed will.

His revealed will can be found in the Bible and is not hidden from believers. God has been kind to give believers specific directions concerning life and godliness. If someone is looking for inner direction without listening to God’s directions in the Bible, it’s like they are looking for eyeglasses that are already on his nose. It does not make sense to ignore what God has already spoken in an effort to obtain special knowledge of his secret will. Kevin DeYoung writes, “Expecting God to reveal some hidden will of direction is an invitation to disappointment and indecision.”

What are some of the specific directions God has given in his Scripture? The Bible is clear that holiness is a part of his will for every Christian’s life (Heb. 12:14). God’s will for every Christian is to grow in godliness (1 Thess. 4:3). One very practical question for making decisions is “will this cause me to look more like Jesus?” If the answer is “no” to this question, God is guiding you away from that direction. If the answer is “yes”, God has given you some strong measure of direction on the matter.

It might be helpful to eliminate choices during the decision process. For instance, the Proverbs address the issue of work ethic and time management (Prov. 6:6-11; 10:4-5; 12:27). The question should be asked, how could I work to the glory of God in the current situation I am in? This type of question seeks to apply God’s revealed will and therefore glorify God in everything (1 Cor 10:31). God certainly honors this obedience and fills the believer’s heart with joy instead of gloom. Instead of being reactive and waiting for God to give an inner sense, it would be more biblical to begin obeying the commands found in the Bible which God has already revealed.

God can use desires to guide us.

After taking assessment of the facts of Scripture, how should a believer make decisions between multiple good biblical choices? Perhaps there are three promising job opportunities that all meet the biblical criteria. Perhaps there are two potential mates that are pursuing Christ and have great personalities. One helpful question at this point is, which do I desire most?

The Bible addresses how the desires of the heart fit into the decision making process. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This verse teaches that desires are in fact an aspect of God’s guidance. There is an “inner sense” that God sometimes gives concerning decisions in life. However, this inner sense is formed by the truths of Scripture. If someone is delighting in God, then their desires will certainly be shaped by God and his words. In this way, a person can have freedom to act as he desires if he is walking with Christ daily. There is a freedom God gives to those who love him and God leads them by the desires he gives them. One should not be afraid to act if the desire is informed by the Bible and flowing from a heart that is seeking Christ. God leads his people by giving desires as they delight themselves in him. It has rightly been pointed out by DeYoung that even the apostle Paul made decisions this way in Acts 15:28 and 20:16. This is a freeing reality and it can help immensely to know that God often wants his people to act on upon the things they want.

God guides our lives under his caring sovereignty.

What if we don’t know what we should do? We must trust God to guide us even when we are confused. Making decisions in life cannot be addressed without mentioning the sovereignty of God. Romans 8:28 is an important in understanding how God directs the circumstances and decisions of life for the good of his people, “We know that God works all things together for good for those who love God and are the called according to his purpose.” Learning that God sovereignly works even the smallest decisions out for the good of his people is a big relief. We can be confident that God will work all things together for our good if we love God.

Paul gives us a beautiful passage in Ephesians 1:3-14. In verse 11, he says that we have an inheritance with the God who works all things according to the counsel of his will. This is comforting and reassuring that God’s loving guidance surrounds us at all times. Gerald Bray writes, “Predestination is an intensely practical belief, very closely tied to what we often call ‘guidance.’ If I have a clear sense of my long-term destiny, then that will affect the way I live and will influence how I evaluate the events of my everyday life.” If a believer is delighting himself in the Word and beginning to obey the Scriptures in any given issue he encounters, then he can feel freedom under the sovereignty of God to act according to the desires God places in his heart.

This is also encouraging because even if he does not feel any overwhelming desires, he can trust that God will order his steps for his good. Proverbs 16:3-9 tells the believer to commit their work to the Lord and then their plans will be established. Desires do not have to be present in order for God to be kind to his people and guide their steps.

When it comes to making decisions believers must:

1)   Begin pursuing holiness in every area of God’s revealed will in the Bible.

2)   Align their thinking under the caring sovereignty of God.

3)   Feel freedom to act in faith knowing that God will direct his paths.


Held Together in Grief

by Sean Perron
by Sean Perron

The doctrine of providence is deep enough to bring comfort during life’s most grievous tragedies. Even the deepest cuts can be soothed by the sovereignty of a kind God. Consider the terrible pain of the death a loved one. The doctrine of providence may be one of the only balms in the midst of such pain.

In his systematic theology, Michael Horton begins his chapter on providence by quoting Colossians 1:16-17. “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” These verses are packed with the providence of God even though they do not explicitly mention ways in which God works in creation.

Colossians 1:16-17 confirms that God is not absent from suffering. God crafted the world and is still intimately involved with it. He is before all things and in him all things hold together. This means that nothing occurs apart from God’s involvement. God does not watch us grieve from the sidelines. He is present, active and near.

If a couple loses their child, the doctrine of providence found in Colossians 1:16-17 can hold them together. They can be comforted knowing that Jesus reigned as Lord before, and he continues to reign afterwards. He has not left them to face tragedy alone. They can rest in the fact that the same Jesus who created their child is actively working in this situation. Jesus is involved and those grieving are included in the verse “In him all things hold together.”

God is specifically identified in these verses. It is Jesus who is holding all things together by the word of his power. This same Jesus suffered brutally on the cross to endure the curse of sin. Jesus knows what it means to weep and he knows what it means to writhe in pain. Jesus did not suffer in vain, and he will reverse the curse on this scorched earth. One day soon, all that is wrong will be turned right. Until then, let us draw near to him with our grief and have him hold us together.

Finally Free

by Sean Perron

Pornography is a big deal. Satan uses porn to steal, kill and destroy. And the church is not exempt. Pornography is a big temptation. The flesh desires to lust, linger and live in sexual immorality. And Christians are not exempt.

How should the church respond? How should a struggling Christian deal with this massive issue?

The call of the hour is for the church to think deeply, critically and practically about pornography.

There was a season in my life when I read every book I could on sexual temptation I could find.To the shame of some authors, I read their books and they did me more harm than good. I read other authors who were quite helpful in engaging the issues, but simply did not go deep enough. I wanted more help in the battle against sexual immorality.

I do not endorse books often on this blog, but I cannot help but recommend the book Finally Free by Dr. Heath Lambert.

Finally Free gives ten biblical ways to battle sexual temptation. I am thankful for this book because it is all about the Bible. Heath Lambert does not drift off into statistics or ramble on about some psychological jargon that is detached from dungeon of addiction. Instead, each chapter offers a dagger that has been sharpened by the Scriptures in order to cut pornography out for good.

I also love this book because it is ultimately not about pornography. That might seem strange to a reader who notices the word pornography on every other page. But the fact of the matter is this book is of incredible help in fighting many sinful desires. If I replaced pornography with the word anxiety in chapter ten, I would be just as helped in my walk with God. If I replaced pornography with the word complaining in chapter nine, I would find help for my grumbling. Change the specifics and alter the practical application and this book can be used to fight a variety of sins. Why? Because Lambert grounds his wisdom in power of the Scriptures that enable sinners to have lasting change in Christ.

Consider chapter three on accountability and pornography. Here are just three out of seven points:

  • Effective Accountability Is Involved Early Rather than Late

  • Effective Accountability Involves Someone with Maturity

  • Effective Accountability Should Avoid Explicit Details

I guarantee I would have been a different person years ago if I had known these three points from this chapter. I found myself calling my “accountability partners” only after I would sin. I rarely called them during the midst of my struggles. I also fell into the trap of confessing sin to those who were struggling with the exact same things I did! How much more effective would it have been if I had a more mature man in my life? Or how much more could I have honored those around me if I avoided unhelpful details?

Holiness is a big deal. We must think deeply, carefully and practically about what the Bible has to say about growing in grace. We cannot afford to ignore this task.

I am confident Heath Lambert’s book Finally Free will aid the church in this endeavor. I cannot commend it more readily.

Popes and Psychology


Who is allowed to counsel?

I love the biblical counseling movement because it shows no partiality. It is Reformational to the core. The battle cry of the protestant reformation was to the sources! Ad Fontes. Sola Scriptura. Scripture alone is all that is needed and not any doctrine or creed from the Catholic church.

In Britain, William Tyndale was zealous for the Bible to spread among the average citizen and not be bound to the church hierarchy. “One scholar was so exasperated with Tyndale that he blurted out, ‘We were better be without God’s law than the Pope’s.'” To which Tyndale replied, “I defy the pope, and all his laws…and if God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more Scripture than thou dost.” (See chapter five in The Unquenchable Flame by Reeves)

The Reformation took away the authority of Scripture from the Pope and declared that the Bible alone held the authority of God. Luther, Calvin and Zwingli believed the right of interpretation should not be held captive by Catholic priests. Rather, the Reformers pried biblical interpretation from the golden rings of the church and placed it in the dirty hands of the common man. For the first time in years, people were able to study the word of God without having to rely upon anyone. They were able to see, enjoy, and interpret the Scriptures for themselves. The Reformers believed any Christian indwelt by the Spirit of God could interpret the Bible. The biblical counselors believe the same thing.

There is a common assumption that only professional psychiatrists can truly counsel. Most Americans and even most pastors seem to automatically believe that people with difficult problems can only be helped by the professionals. Pastors frequently send church members to clinical psychologists who have been trained at secular institutions.

What qualifies someone to tell someone else how they should or should not live? What gives someone the resources to comfort a devastated heart or offer hope to a despairing soul?

Biblical counselors believe that anyone with the Spirit of God and a well worn Bible can adequately counsel those in all things that pertain to life and godliness. As Jay Adams would say, the Scriptures make someone competent to counsel.

This warms my heart and relieves my soul. I do not need to find some secret knowledge found in a psychiatric textbook in order to help those I love. I am thrilled that I do not need to be licensed by the state in order to care for those in my church. Instead, I am free to mine the Scriptures and connect them with daily living. Biblical counselors are called to love the Bible, love others and look intently into their lives to offer help.

Let me be clear; I am 100% pro training. A counselor should attend counseling classes, do theological research, and correctly interpret the Scriptures. A skillful knowledge of the Bible is essential to counsel well. Every counselor should seek to acquire a more seasoned understanding about people that comes from careful observation. I am incredibly thankful for organizations such as ACBC that aid in this process. May every biblical counselor go deeper into the Word and be equipped to connect the Scriptures with hard situations. Purposed thinking is not optional. Thoughtful, practical and intense contemplation is a part of good counseling.

But we should nail this theses on the door: there is no special class of professionals when it comes to counseling. Biblical counseling is available to the common man and not just the psychiatrists. Do you have a Bible? Do you love others? Do you have the Spirit of God and a desire for wisdom? Then counseling is for you.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him…” (Galatians 6:1) No popes, no professionals, no priests. The power of God resides in jars of clay who are committed to knowing the Bible. Let us be trained in the Scriptures and let us boldly approach God for wisdom (James 1:5)

This post is a follow up to Why I Joined the Biblical Counseling Movement

Why I Joined the Biblical Counseling Movement

by Sean Perron
by Sean Perron


When a husband knocks a hole in the wall because his wife upset him, is it mania or sinning in anger? When a person panics on a plane or in an elevator, is it a matter of trusting God or an attack from the body? When a woman comes to you depressed and hopeless, will you counsel her to find joy in God or counsel her to purchase Prozac? Or both?

I am a part of the Biblical Counseling movement. I consider myself a part of this wave, and have bought into their philosophy hook, line and sinker. I have done so because I have been persuaded by the Scriptures. I have seen the fruitfulness of skilled counseling from the Bible and watched lives be transformed by the Spirit. Having confessed my allegiance, the question remains: What is this movement, and why should you be interested?

Essential to Biblical Counseling is the sufficiency of Scriptures. Biblical Counselors are fully confident that the 66 books of the Bible are enough to help people with their “problems in living”. The movement is for believers who take the Scriptures seriously and believe the inspired Word alone is sufficient to counsel any scenario related to life and godliness.

Let us be clear; we do not mean the Scriptures will suffice in the cheap pathetic way. It is not as if the Bible is all we have, so we are forced to call it sufficient. No. Biblical counseling teaches that the Scriptures are all we need for the most complex problems in life. It is because the Scriptures are gloriously sufficient to speak into our lives. 2 Peter 1:3-4 says,

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

Peter tells us it is through God’s very great promises found in the Bible that people overcome sin and grow in holiness. Do not miss the sweeping ramifications of these verses. God has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. How has he done this? Through the knowledge of Him and by his promises.

If someone has a problem growing in godliness, the Scriptures sufficiently speak to it. If someone is trapped in habitual sin, the Bible adequately addresses it.

We should desire to be a Biblical Counselor because we believe the Apostle Peter when he says God’s promises are precious and very great. The counselor who believes in the sufficiency of Scripture believes the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul (Psalm 19:7). We hold high the invaluable words of God which are more precious than gold. We believe they are sweeter than honey and seek to skillfully administer them in the lives of others.

Another relevant verse for this discussion is 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Is there a good work that needs to be done by the believer? Paul says the Scriptures are sufficient for this. Follow the argument being made in these verses: The man of God may be complete because all Scripture is profitable. There is nothing lacking. The Scriptures do not come up short in counseling. The Biblical Counseling Movement is zealous for the God of the Bible who has infinite power and matchless wisdom.

Although I believe the Scripture is sufficient to counsel, I am confident this post is insufficient to answer every question. Let me choose one and then allow the reader to pursue more.

Is secular psychology worthless?

No. Secular Psychology has things to offer. There are observations psychologists have made that are good and true. They may label someone with a bipolar disorder because they have noticed they have had prolonged spiking mood swings, irritability, racing thoughts, insomnia, and agitation coupled with one or more massive episodes of depression. (see chapter two in Good Mood, Bad Mood by Charles Hodge) These observations and many alike may all be true. But knowledge of their research or the terminology they use is not necessary.

When counseling a woman concerned about self-image and eating struggles, it may be helpful to know only four percent of women globally think they are beautiful. I might be helped to read that “researchers have found that “fat talk”—a phenomena in which a person makes negative claims about their weight to others—is an expected norm among women and a way for them to appear more modest.” (See the post: 9 Things You Should Know About Female Body Issues from TGC)

All such statistics and observations may be true, but they are not necessary. We do not need to know hundreds of notes from thousands of counseling hours to be capable counselors. The man of God is not equipped for every good work by them.

The sufficiency of Scripture is of paramount importance for every Christian. There are questions that must be answered and how we answer them determines whether we are being faithful to God and His Bible. We will give an account for how we help those around us. If the Scriptures are sufficient to counsel, then we must dedicate our lives to this endeavor. The needs of many are complex, but they are not impossible. I am confident that if we drink from the deep well of the Bible, we will thirst no more.

I am a part of the Biblical Counseling movement because I have come to believe in the power of Christ who grants to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. I pray you will consider joining this movement.