One of the wisest men to have ever lived had this to say about our decisions:
“A wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment.”
Think about that – both time and judgment. In other words, a wise man will discern both the proper time and the proper way to go about making his decisions.
This is important because we cannot impulsively move forward with a decision or quickly overact to our situations or we’ll certainly make matters worse…we’ll make a bad choice.
In life we daily face decisions that may not have black and white answers in Scripture. God is not going to write it on the wall or draw it in the clouds. So, we must make decisions on the basis of biblical principles and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Should I buy this new car? Which house should we purchase? What job should I take? What college should I attend? Which person should I hire?
Here are 7 life principles that my wife and I have tried to follow when attempting to make the best decision. Consider these as you are faced with the “what should I do?” moments in life.
1. Choose what is already revealed in Scripture.
There is no need to go any further in the decision process when the Bible is already clear about the choice you need to make. Get into God’s Word and search His truth. Much of our life situations are already addressed in the Bible. Ask God to give you Scripture about the choice that is in front of you and help you to clearly see His written will for your life.
2. Pray as you seek the Spirit’s direction.
There are times when the Bible doesn’t address specifically the choice that lies in front of us. Never underestimate the power and influence of prayer in these moments. God doesn’t hide His desires from us as if we are playing some spiritual game of hide and seek. No! God wants you to know and make the best decision. So, ASK Him what you should do! The problem with prayer is that we believe in it theologically, but not so much practically. If we did, we’d have no problem going to God in prayer on a daily basis for His direction in our decisions.
3. Gather as much information as possible.
Have you ever had “buyer’s remorse?” Of course. Much of the reason for it is because we most likely did not do our proper research on the product. Now, we regret we even purchased it. The same is true with our decisions. Do your homework! Make sure you have all the insight, information, and facts that you can gather to help you make the best decision. If not, you’ll have “decision remorse.”
4. Discern what is better and best not necessarily good or bad.
Keep this mind. Most of our decisions that are not already addressed in Scripture are not a matter of right or wrong, good or bad. They are a matter of what is better and best. As you are making your decisions look at it from this perspective: What is the best decision I can make here?
5. Counsel with two or three experienced, godly leaders.
Seek the advice and counsel of experienced, godly leaders. It’s easy to go to a friend who will tell you what you want to hear, but that’s not what you need. You need someone who has been down that road before. Someone older, wiser, and more experienced than you. Go to them and seek their counsel. And be sure they are a godly leader. We’re not just seeking the opinion of the older, but of the godly. Maybe that’s a pastor, a parent, or someone in your church that has seen success in their life. Go to them and seek their counsel.
And I emphasize two or three here. Recently, I was faced with a decision that I needed counsel on. The first two people I went to for counsel gave me good advice, but it wasn’t until I went to the third person that they gave me insight that the other two had not considered. This insight was the result of their experience and wisdom and it kept me from making a poor decision. Counsel, counsel, counsel when making decisions.
6. Wait, at least, 48 hours before making the decision.
This has been a life-saver for me. It’s not my nature to wait. I’m a quick responder, but several years ago someone challenged me with this principle: “Jonathan, wait 48 hours. Pray about. Weigh out the pros and cons. Sleep on it. Think it thru. After 48 hours you’ll have more peace about the choice.” This philosophy has kept me from sending emails in the heat of the moment and reacting to people negatively when my spirit and mind wasn’t in the right place. It has saved me time…money…friends…and a multitude of mistakes. Whatever decision is in front of you, consider waiting 48 hours before you choose to do anything. Remember, we are to discern both time and judgment.
7. When in doubt, don’t.
Simple, isn’t it? You’ve heard it all your life. If there’s any doubt about whether or not you should be doing what you’re doing and making the decision that you are planning to make, then don’t do it! God gives peace, not doubt. Wait until you have complete peace.
I pray that these steps will help you make the best decision whatever it may be. Refuse to rush your decisions. Seek out the wisdom of God and discern the right time and right way to go about it.