Good Decisions

By Staff Writer

Categories: Direction, Power of Prayer

Issue:

How can we make good decisions? This is a topic we’ve been asked to address.

Response (staff answer):

Sometimes it’s hard to make decisions, even if decisions are small ones. Often, we worry that we will make the wrong decision, miss an opportunity, etc. So here are some general points to keep in mind:

  • Understand that decisions are really opportunities to see God in action.
  • Realize that God’s plan for us is infinitely greater than anything we could ever plan ourselves.
  • Trust that when we turn to God, God will lead us to decisions that will bless.

Human reasoning only takes us so far. We can list all the pros and cons of a situation and still not be clear as to which direction to go. That’s why it’s so important to get ourselves out of the way and let God do the work: “Let go, and let God!” The Bible teaches:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (Prov 3:5, 6 NKJV)

This proverb does not say that God “might” direct our paths; it says “He shall.” God indeed directs everything we do. We run into trouble when we forget or ignore this truth and try to outline our lives based on our limited human view. If we really want to make the best decisions, then we need to let the best decision maker in the world make the decisions for us—God. God knows what is best for us. Therefore, we need to yield to God’s will. While sometimes yielding to God seems really scary, it’s the ONLY way to guarantee that we make the “right” decision.

Here are four steps that will ensure that we make the best decisions:

  1. Let go of any pre-planned opinion about the decision—the process and outcome.
  2. Listen to God’s voice telling us what to do, showing us His plan.
  3. Obey God’s directive—whatever it may be.
  4. Follow through with continual prayer. Why?
    1. Decisions and their outcomes are ongoing.
    2. What may be right for one moment may not be right for another.
    3. If, perchance, we ignored God’s voice and made the “wrong” decision, we want to be able to hear God telling us what to do to make it “right.”
    4. It’s never too late to make the right decision.

So how do we know if it’s God’s voice we’re hearing? We read in James, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere” (3:17 NLT). We know it’s God’s voice, God’s decision, God’s wisdom when we hear, feel, or experience a sense of peace, mercy, gentleness, etc. When we’ve made, or rather obeyed, the right decision, we have a settled sense.

If we don’t have that settled, peaceful sense, then we walk down what we think is the best road until we either feel a sense of peace that we are on the right road or we get an indication that we have to change paths. We want to be willing to change whenever God tells us to change. It’s ok to do a course correction.

If we want to make certain that our decisions are God’s decisions, let’s ask ourselves these questions:

  1. Did I truly get rid of my own will, my own opinions about what I want?
  2. Did I listen to God’s voice, not my own?
  3. Is what I’m doing in obedience with what God told me to do?
  4. Am I still praying, still open to God’s voice?
  5. Do I have a sense of peace about this decision?
  6. Does this decision bless me and everyone around me?

When we can honestly, humbly give God our lives and turn every decision over to God, then we will find an unequaled sense of peace and confidence that comes from knowing we are doing God’s will. This may not be easy or pain-free, but obeying the decisions that God makes for us empowers us to do God’s work, enriches our lives, and blesses the world.

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