How do I know if it's God who's speaking to me and telling me to do something, or if I've just imagined it or it's just something I want to do? I want to make right decisions, but sometimes I don't choose the right way. — M.C.
One of the Bible's greatest truths is that God actually wants to guide us. He loves us -- and because He loves us, He wants what is best for us and is willing to show it to us. Many years ago, someone urged me to memorize these verses about God's guidance, which I did -- and I urge you to memorize them also: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The first step in seeking God's guidance is to be sure we actually want it. All too often, we want God to bless our plans, instead of asking Him what His plans are. Learn to test your plans by asking what you'll do if God says "No." Will you go ahead anyway? But God's way is always best -- and our goal should be to seek His will and not our own.
Then ask questions about the decision you're facing. Will this honor God? Is it forbidden by the Bible? What advice would others give me about this -- especially people who are spiritually sensitive and know Christ? What do my circumstances suggest about whether or not I should go ahead with this plan? What is the long-term result likely to be?
Most of all, pray about decisions you're facing, asking Him to make His will clear to you. As we pray, God often gives us an inner conviction of which way is best.