When we are faced with uncertain times, we can find ourselves stuck in a holding pattern because we can’t decide what to do. Margaret Thatcher said this about decision-making: “Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.” For the follower of Christ, our decisions need to be birthed in seeking His will and purpose for our life.
We need to think of all our decisions as big decisions. Most decisions reflect, in one way or another, our unseen values. If I’m a Christian, my every decision should be a Christian decision. What entertainment I’m going to enjoy, how I’m going to invest that extra money that came my way, what I’m going to do on my day off – all these are big decisions because they reflect my desire to glorify God in all I do and say.
Learn to consider every decision as an opportunity to honor God, and keep your unseen, biblical values as the underpinning for all the choices in life.
Big decisions are also birthed in an atmosphere of prayer, and I don’t mean muttering a quick prayer just before a decision is made. I’m talking about living in an atmosphere of prayer so that our heart is constantly pondering the choices that represent God’s will for our life. Very often it’s while at prayer that certain convictions develop or ideas come.
Big decision thinking includes God as partner in the decision-making process, and prayer is our way of recognizing the presence of the heavenly Father and acknowledging Him in all our ways. It’s our way of asking God for His proffered wisdom, given liberally and willingly to those who ask for it. It’s the incubator of our best ideas and the source of our freshest creativity. Prayer is our lifeline to finding and fulfilling God’s perfect will in all we say and do.
We also need the wisdom of those we trust. The book of Proverbs repeatedly reminds us to seek godly counsel before deciding what to do.
- “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers” (Proverbs 11:14, NIV).
- “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15).
- “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (Proverbs 13:10, NIV).
- “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established” (Proverbs 15:22).
- “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days” (Proverbs 19:20).
Speaking of Proverbs, we can learn another lesson about big decision thinking. Whenever possible, take your time so you can mull over issues long enough to understand them. Proverbs 14:8 says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way.” And Proverbs 14:15 says, “The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps” (NIV). Proverbs 13:16 adds, “A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t” (TLB).
Ted Engstrom wrote in his book on leadership, “Don’t make snap decisions. The spur-of-the-moment decisions are merely guesses. … Before announcing a decision, it’s best to take a little time; sleep on it first. God may have other plans.”
Finally, big decisions must be committed to God. You and I have a lot of decisions to make every day. We’re fallible people, and we’ll make mistakes along the way. But when we earnestly base our decisions on our unseen values, pray over them, make them thoughtfully, based on wise counsel, and commit them to God, He can bless them. If we make a wrong decision, He knows how to correct our path or redeem our mistakes.
At this critical moment in history, the Lord needs men and women who know how to make wise choices, who are growing more mature day by day, and who can then commit their decision to the Lord and press on.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif.)