Here are 3 things that often happen when you are doing the right thing.
1. If Your Conscience Is Not Violated By This Decision
You can always know you are doing the right thing when you are obeying the Bible, but sometimes there are questions in life that are not directly addressed in Scripture. This is when we must pay attention to our conscience. As Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 8:4-7, which states:
Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that ‘an idol has no real existence,’ and that ‘there is no God but one.’ For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.”
Paul is saying that if you know false gods are not real, then you can eat food offered to an idol because it was food offered to nothing because idols aren’t real. But if you believe there are real false gods because you haven’t learned the full biblical truth yet, and then you eat food offered to an idol, this is actually sin for you because you disobeyed your conscience. In Romans 14:23 Paul also said, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
Therefore, even if something is not biblically condemned but you feel it is wrong, you should not do it because you are violating your own conscience. But if something is not addressed in the Bible and your conscience is not bothered by this, usually this means you are making the right choice.
2. If You Are Trying to Do the Most Loving Thing for Other People
When in doubt, we should do what we feel is most loving for others. This is what Paul was pointing out in 1 Corinthians 8. We already discussed how Paul said they could eat certain foods if their conscience was not violated by this, but then he went onto also consider the conscience of others. In 1 Corinthians 8:8-13 he wrote:
Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
Likewise, we should do our best to make decisions that are not only good for us but good for others. Obviously there are limits here. We are not called to submit to everyone’s opinion and live by the moral compass of others. But as Paul said in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” If you would violate your own conscience by following someone else’s opinion, it’s not possible for you to live at peace with this person because it goes beyond your control.
For example, maybe you dated someone who wants a second chance. If you feel it would be loving to give them a second chance and it would not be damaging to you, then there is no harm in giving them a second chance. But if you know it would hurt you to give them a second chance, then you should not comply.
In short, if you are making a choice that is rooted in love for others that is not sinful for yourself, this is a good sign you are doing the right thing.
3. If You Are Doing Your Best to Apply God’s Word to an Area of Your Life Not Expressly Talked About in the Bible
As I talk about often on this channel, so much of what we deal with in life is not directly talked about in the Bible. But that doesn’t mean we should not go to the Bible for wisdom. When a topic is not directly mentioned, we have to wisely apply general biblical principles to our lives in order to make the best biblical decision possible.
Unlike expositional preaching where you just go through the passage line by line and unpack the meaning, applying God’s word to topics not addressed in the Bible is a lot messier. There is room for disagreement about the best way to apply biblical principles to the life questions we have. I believe God’s grace and sovereignty can make up the difference for our inadequacies. God just wants us to do our best in trying to live biblically even if we don’t always get it perfect.
We should try to be perfect, but only Jesus is perfect. As Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Matthew 5:48). Ultimately this means we have to be perfected through Christ because that is the only way to be truly perfect.
If you are not exactly sure what to do but you have to make a decision, do your best to live out the word of God in the unique context you are in. If you do that, this means you are doing the right thing.