Five Tips on Making Big Decisions
We make decisions all day long. Some are trivial, like; what do I wear today? What should I eat for breakfast? These are not life-changing decisions—I know some fashion-conscious people will beg to differ.
We also make more important decisions over our career/job choice, buying a house or car, finances, where to go on holiday, and so on. These are important decisions because the level of commitment to your decision is much higher and more far-reaching.
Then there are decisions we make regarding our relationships, and this is where it gets trickier. What friends we choose will either help or hinder us in our walk with God, and the same goes for what church to attend. These choices may have a significant impact on our own life and relationship with God. After all, bad company corrupts good morals.
Then there’s the life-altering decisions regarding our family, like; marriage and divorce, raising children and so on. Decisions here could potentially have far-reaching effects on the course of our future.
It’s worth nothing that we are not always aware that our decisions create long-term repercussions. Perhaps we cannot foresee how this decision will impact on ourself or others and this is why we need to seek God because not only does He care, but He knows the best course of action in all areas of our life. He sees the future impact on your spiritual walk and all that is important to living a healthy Christian lifestyle.
So how do we make life-changing decisions?
All decisions ought to be made from a position of peace and rest in Jesus. If you find you’re not at rest, you are likely not trusting that God is a present help in times of trouble. He is our treasure chest of wisdom and through Him, we are able to make a righteous decision. Psalms is often a good reminder of how God comes to our rescue and that when we are praising Him through the valley of decision, we will come through it with confidence that God is in total control. Those who don’t rest, end up falling away (and into temptation) from God because they are not communing with Him (Hebrews 4:11). If you are not rested, your emotions may lead you into not seeing clearly. People may make big decisions while suffering an emotional break-down, or perhaps are grieving, or have only just been through a traumatic experience. This should be avoided if possible because these situations can cloud your judgement.
Philippians 4:6 ‘… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.’
Pray, pray and pray. Ask others to pray for you. Every decision we make should be covered in prayer. It involves God in our decision and places Him in a seat of honour in our lives. By praying, we humbly seek God’s face on a matter and we recognise that we can only truly prosper in Him. If we have the heart to put God’s will above our own, it is less likely that our selfish ambitions will not cloud our judgement. The prayers of a righteous person are effective (James 5:16). Prayer also helps us not to be anxious because we are putting God at the helm of the ship.
The Bible is filled with wisdom, particularly Proverbs. Written in God’s Word is wisdom related to; finances, marriage, divorce, relationships, child raising and much more. The Word helps us to remember what is important to the Lord. It encourages us to overcome our flesh and do that which Jesus would do Himself. If we truly value what God values, we will be able to obtain a full confidence in our decision-making process. You will know deep down that your solution is right. Love for God and others should underpin all our actions in life. Thinking of others more highly than yourself is another great truth to consider. Sacrificial love should always be weaved through all of our relationships. We have access to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and if you lack wisdom, then ask God for it (James 1:5).
Proverbs 15:22 ‘Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counsellors they succeed.’
Ask Bible-believing Christians for advice. More than that, ask Bible-living Christians. Seek good counsel or don’t seek counsel at all because if you are not strong in your own convictions, bad counsel will inevitably persuade you into making a huge error in judgement. So the wise counsel here is not to just ask one person, but a few trustworthy and discrete people.
Asking people removed from the situation is best. People who are not involved closely with the decision and potential outcome are also a wise choice. Sometimes people may ask advice from another who has something to gain or lose from your decision, so this may cloud their judgement as well.
Surround yourself with those who are sold-out for Jesus, anything less, you may be sorely regretful because those in compromise also lead messy lives filled with error and regret. Those who live for Christ want to please Him alone, so they will tell you the truth. Man’s opinion doesn’t amount to much at all, unless a man gives you God’s Word and therefore God’s will on a matter. In the end, you must only do what Jesus wants you to do—not anyone else. No person has a right to lord over you, no matter what their position, so in the end, you are still the one who needs to make a decision.
Finally, consider all people involved, the timeline in which the decision must be made in and how the decision ought best to be put into practice. Avoid making rushed or irrational decisions. Don’t be pressured by anyone during the process, give yourself the time and space in which to seek God properly. Consider the temporal and future impacts (if foreseeable), as well as considering spiritual impacts upon yourself and others. Often we see only what we want to see, which is why it’s important to consider all these tips in the process.
May the Lord lead you into making a wise and godly decision.
-- By Judah Ayling