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Dear COA Family,

How does the Lord lead and guide us in our decision-making in life?

This is actually not the key question. How we understand the way that God leads us is tied up
very much with how we perceive who God is. The way we follow God’s leading is greatly
influenced by our understanding of God. So, the most important thing is to examine our
understanding of God to make sure it is the right one.

Let me give you an example.

I had counselled a young woman on the verge of a divorce in the past. She had only been married
for less than a year before she experienced numerous major conflicts with her husband. It was
then that she decided she could no longer live with those differences.

Yet one of the most telling remarks she made to me was this: “Why did not God close the door on
our relationship when we were dating? He could have done so and I wouldn’t be suffering all that I
am suffering today.”

In other words, she thinks that God is one who makes all of the decisions for her so that she
does not have to think, evaluate and decide what she needs to do. God is the one who controls
every detail of her life. She is akin to a little child or even a robot who simply lets her parents or
creator decide everything for her. That was how she responded to all of the situations she was
faced with.

I am afraid that this is a wrong understanding of who our God is.

Our heavenly Father has created us with a free will to choose to do what will please him and what is
good for us. He does not control us like machines. We are created with a will to choose and a
heart to respond with love. This is what makes true relationships possible.

God’s unique creation of us as free-will beings is also what makes true responsibility possible. If
we are manipulated by God in all of our actions, then it would not be right for God to judge us.
After all, all that we do is determined by God. And if that is the case, God should bear the
responsibility for our every unwise action and, by extension, every evil in the world. What a
repulsive thought this is!

Instead, the truth is we are responsible for our choices. God has granted us the means to
access his wisdom and good counsel for our lives. This is given to us in the form of his word, his
Spirit, our own intellect and wisdom from the community. We must consider our actions very
carefully in the light of all the resources he has given to us.

So don’t misunderstand or misuse the biblical concept of open doors and closed doors. It is not to
be wrongly applied to God intervening in every aspect of our lives to determine our decisions for
us in one way or another. God does not micro-manage us in this way.

In this light, not every open door, nor the one that is currently open to you is the right one for you.
You need to take the responsibility and the effort to discern if the open (or closed) door is
according to God’s will. Laziness and complacency in spiritual matters is your greatest enemy in
leading you to a path of destruction.

So, what was my response to the young woman? She should first of all change her view of God to
a right one. Then she will learn to take responsibility for her decision to ignore the red flags in her 
dating relationship. She will learn not to place the blame of her own actions on others and God.
This is the only way to grow in wisdom and maturity in discerning God’s will for her life.

God Bless,
Revd Ian