We all know that there are consequences for every decision that we make. Some consequences are good, some are not so good, and then other consequences are pure disaster. So we can easily say that the decisions that we make are vitally important. Well, maybe not all of them – I doubt that the decision I make on which shirt I will wear tomorrow with my jeans will matter to anyone but myself. But, if I were to make a decision tomorrow about what I will do for the rest of my life, well then, that’s a decision that I need to think about. Unfortunately there was a time in my life, where even those life-altering decisions were not made with clearheaded thinking.
That got me thinking about just what it takes to make decisions. I know how we made decisions in the business world – we conducted research, we analyzed the research, we weighed options, we determined costs, we wrote plans, we implemented the plans, and then we analyzed the outcomes. And the process then repeated itself. However, it occurred to me today that in all my years of attending church, listening to the talks that the Pastors give, or doing Bible studies that I have not heard teachings about how to make Biblical based decisions. Maybe you’ve heard plenty of teaching on making Biblical-based decision, if so, you may want to stop reading now. While I pray about major decisions, and look to see what the Bible teaches about the topic, I wondered if there was something more that I could do in making Biblical-based decisions. So I conducted a little research. I took what some some respected Christian sources had to say about making Biblical-based decisions and melded it with the process that I used in my corporate career and here’s what I came up with:
Pray – Approach God with the situation, ask Him to provide guidance through every step of the decision making process. Ask Him to show you where to find your answers, and listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
Examine your motives – Do an analysis on why you want to make this decision. What is it that is driving this desire that you have? Look at both the good and the bad sides.
The first stop should be in your Bible. Look for Biblical principles within the Bible that apply to your situation. For example – Perhaps this is a decision regarding taking on extra debt. If so, see what the Bible has to say about debt. And then see how those principles weigh against whatever you are making a decision on.
Gather all the facts that pertain to your situation. Make this a complete analysis – ask lots and lots of questions. Purposely look for any flaws in your logic, facts, and motives.
Determine the costs associated – they could time, money, quality of life, etc.
Talk to other Christians who have been through similar circumstances, what would they advise, how did the process work for them, what were the roadblocks that they experienced?
Develop a list of the pros and the cons of your decision. I find putting everything in writing will help you to better be objective.
Examine this situation from another angle, and that is from the perspective of just what do you think will happen if you do nothing.
Then, perform another analysis, and that is what would your parents (or Pastor, or Grandparents, or some super wise person like Einstein, or better yet Jesus) advise you to do (if you have not already consulted them).
Determine if there are time constraints involved. This is especially important if there’s pressure being put on you to act now! Don’t let yourself get pressured into something, chances are that you will regret your decision at a later date.
Determine what the ideal outcome looks like, and after you’ve figured that out, then try to figure out what could also go wrong.
Determine whether the course of action will have any effect on your Christian witness. If it brings glory to God that’s a great thing, but, if it hampers your Christian witness then perhaps you want to pass.
Pray – Yup, pray again, because it’s at this point you will make your final decision. Ask God for peace on the final decision.
Implement – Go for it, or, don’t go for it, based upon however you feel God is guiding you.
Post Analysis – I think this step is vital, capture on paper, the results that you achieved, and also note what you would do different if you ever had to make this decision again.
Even if you don’t face the same circumstances, some of what you learned could be valuable in another situation.
“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3, ESV)
I’m going to save this list, and my husband and I are going to try the process with a decision that we are trying to make. Maybe it will be helpful to you.