Life is full of choices. We start the day deciding if we’re going to get out of bed at the first alarm, or hit snooze and get a few extra minutes of rest. We decide what we’re going to eat for breakfast, what we’re going to wear, what route to take to work. Decisions happen all day long. Most of the time, the decisions aren’t too life altering. For instance, if we decide to grab a granola bar instead of fixing bacon & eggs, it won’t make much of difference. However, sometimes we are faced with major decisions.
I have often had to help people sort through the pros and cons of their decisions. Sometimes people hit a dead-end and don’t know what to do. Even the decision to not make a decision can have devastating consequences. I often encourage people to ask the question, “What does God want me to do?” I remember making the decision to attend Bible College. In the summer of 1978, I wanted to go to Pacific Baptist Bible College near San Diego. I really felt like God wanted me to do that. However, following a car accident, I had to fix and eventually sell my car and didn’t have the money to go across the country. So I prayed about it and sat out a semester and attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri in the beginning of 1979. That has been one of the better decisions I have made. I met Judy, received a fantastic education and made life-long ministry friends.
If you are making some major decisions I want to share one of my favorite Bible passages. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
I cannot tell you how many times I have used these verses to help people who seem to be stuck in decision making. So let me explain this as if you were sitting down in my office and asking for advice.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart…”
God is worthy to be trusted. He will never lead you astray. He loves you and wants what is best for you. He knows more about everything than you do. His way is always best. His way often seems counter to common sense, but that is where trust must come in. Sometimes you have to just trust Him. He shows Himself powerful to those who have faith in Him (trust Him). Trust is not an inactive thought. Trust must be acted on. A person may say they trust God with all their heart, but never put God to the test. So my encouragement is if you know God wants you to do something or stop doing something, follow Him. Trust Him! And if you don’t know what your next decision should be, tell Him you still trust Him. If He opens your spiritual eyes to what you should do, promise Him you’ll do it!
Don’t Trust Yourself.
“…Lean not unto your own understanding.”
We’re often told to ‘trust your gut’ when it comes to choices. And there are times when you will have to make a decision based on how you feel inside about it. When you’re not for sure what God wants you to do, you might have to just do what you think is best. But beware of your own feelings and rationalizations. Recognize that you have a sinful human nature that has a ‘default setting’ to reject God’s counsel – or at least question it. For instance, when it comes to decisions in my family, I often want to follow my own likes and dislikes. I want to eat at my favorite restaurant, visit my favorite amusements, and see my favorite movies. Just because a decision seems smart and wise to you, doesn’t always make it so. That is why it is important to bounce your ideas off your spouse, or Christian friend, and to pray about it. Don’t trust yourself to come up with the best decision.
Yield to Jesus.
“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”
I love Proverbs 3:5. It tells me to ‘acknowledge’ the Lord. This means to recognize that Jesus is the Lord of my life and I have and continue to yield to His control in my life. For instance, when I came up with the decision to train for ministry, I didn’t have 100% confirmation that God wanted me to go anywhere. So, I felt like God wanted me to attend PCBBC (it was a gut/spirit feeling). But I let God know that if He wanted to change my decision, I was okay with it. And He changed the circumstances and I could not carry through with my desire. He was directing my path.
I have found that if you ‘acknowledge’ the Lord in your decisions, He will direct your path. Notice He does not direct your feet, but the path. This means that He will direct/change the path you are on to be the best one. So, in a sense, it doesn’t matter what decision you make. He will make sure the path becomes the best one. The key to decision making is not the decision you make, but that you acknowledge the Lord in your decision. As long as you are yielded to the Lord’s control, He will direct your path and ‘make all things work together for good, to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28).
I hope this helps.
What has helped you make decisions?
What decisions are you making today?