How Can I Make Good Decisions?
The Bible’s answer
The Bible gives us excellent guidance for making decisions. It can help us to “acquire wisdom [and] understanding.” (Proverbs 4:5) In some cases, it tells us what the best decision is. In other cases, it gives us advice that can guide us toward a wise decision.
In this article
Tips to help you make a good decision
Do not rush into a decision. The Bible says: “The shrewd one ponders each step.” (Proverbs 14:15) If you rush into a decision, you may overlook important information. Take time to consider your options carefully.—1 Thessalonians 5:21.
Do not make decisions based solely on your emotions or feelings. The Bible warns us that we cannot always trust our heart. (Proverbs 28:26; Jeremiah 17:9) For example, we may not make good decisions when we are angry, depressed, discouraged, impatient, or even overly tired.—Proverbs 24:10; 29:22.
Pray for wisdom. (James 1:5) God is pleased to answer such prayers. He is a caring Father who wants his children to avoid needless problems. “Jehovah himself gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and discernment.”a (Proverbs 2:6) He provides that wisdom primarily through his written Word, the Bible.—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
Do research. To make a good decision, you need reliable information. As the Bible says, “a wise person listens and takes in more instruction.” (Proverbs 1:5) Where can you find relevant and reliable information?
First, see what the Bible itself says about the matter in question. Because our Creator knows what is best for us, his Word contains the most reliable advice. (Psalm 25:12) For some decisions, the Bible provides clear direction, perhaps in the form of laws or commands. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) On many other matters, however, the Bible is not as specific. Instead, it gives guidance in the form of principles. These can lead us to a good decision, while still allowing room for personal preferences. To find relevant Bible passages, do research in Bible-based articles or publications, such as those freely available on this website.b
For some decisions, you may need to examine other reputable sources of information. For example, before making a purchase—especially an expensive one—you would be wise to do research on the product and the manufacturer, including any policies regarding warranties and returns. Of course, you should also ensure that the specifications of the product meet your needs.
“Plans fail when there is no consultation,” the Bible says. (Proverbs 15:22) So before making a decision, consult trustworthy individuals. For example, you would be wise to consult a physician regarding a medical decision. (Matthew 9:12) In some situations, you could talk to people who have had to face a situation similar to yours. Bear in mind, of course, that you—not the people you consult—will have to make the decision and live with the results.—Galatians 6:4, 5.
Weigh all the factors. Based on the information you have gathered, you might make a list of your options, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each one. And honestly consider the possible consequences of your decision. (Deuteronomy 32:29) For instance, how may your decision affect you, your family, or others? (Proverbs 22:3; Romans 14:19) Reflecting on such questions in the light of Bible teachings should help you make a wise and loving decision.
Make the decision. At times, we may hold back from making a decision because we feel uncertain. But if we remain indecisive, we could miss an opportunity or end up in an undesirable situation. To put it another way, indecision could be as unwise as a poor decision. Using an agricultural metaphor, the Bible says: “If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything.”—Ecclesiastes 11:4, Good News Translation.
Remember, too, that even the best decision may not be a perfect one. Choices often involve sacrificing something. Also, unforeseen events may arise. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) So use the best information you have available, and choose the option that is most likely to succeed.
Should I change a decision I have already made?
Not all decisions are final. Your circumstances may change, or you may discover that your earlier decision has unexpected consequences. Thus, it may be wise to reevaluate matters and select another option that is more likely to get the desired result.
Some decisions, however, should not be changed. (Psalm 15:4) For example, God expects married couples to keep their marriage vow.c (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:6) When problems arise in a marriage, every effort should be made to resolve them and not walk away from them.
What if I made a bad decision that I cannot change?
At some point, we all make a bad or unwise decision. (James 3:2, footnote) We may even feel regret or guilt, which is normal. (Psalm 69:5) Indeed, a healthy measure of these negative feelings can be a good thing if they stop us from making the same mistake again! (Proverbs 14:9) That said, the Bible advises us against having excessive guilt, which can be mentally or emotionally damaging. (2 Corinthians 2:7)d “Jehovah is merciful and compassionate,” the Bible says. (Psalm 103:8-13) So try to learn from a bad decision that you cannot change and do what you reasonably can to improve matters.
a Jehovah is the name of God as revealed in the Bible.—Psalm 83:18.
b You can also search jw.org using a word or a phrase related to your decision. This website contains Scriptural advice on many topics. Additionally, you can search for specific words by going to the “Bible Words Index” in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
c It is God’s will that married couples stay together for as long as they live. He allows divorce and remarriage only when a mate is guilty of sexual immorality. (Matthew 19:9) If you are experiencing marital problems, the Bible can help you to address them in a loving and wise way.
d For more information, see the article “I Feel Guilty—Can the Bible Help Me Find Relief?”