Five Guidelines for Wise Decision-making
I googled how to make a better decision’ and the following pieces of advice. I understand some of them, some of them just seem a little counterproductive when making a decision:
*Be independent. (all by myself??)
*Turn your brain off. (for reals??)
*Just decide. (ok, but how??)
*Think fast and slow. (huh?)
Whether we realize it or not, most of us have a system of making a decision. Some of us have steps that we take. Some of us multiple steps that we take in order to make a decision. Some of us just take one step – we check our gut. The issue with the one step approach in making decisions is – what if our gut is wrong?
You ever make a wrong decision based solely on your gut? No one’s gut is 100% when talking about make wise decisions and so it incredibly important that we as Christ-followers have a proven method, and a biblical method for making wise decisions. I read these guidelines years ago and they have proven to be a strong standard on how wise-decisions are made.
Five Guidelines for Wise Decision-making
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
God gives us the responsibility of testing and approving what His will is. We get to test and approve what God’s will is. That’s a huge responsibility! Testing and approving gives us a little insight to how to make wise decisions. There’s a process and if there’s a process there should be some guidelines…
So here are the five guidelines in making wise decisions:
Get rid of all the unbiblical options.
This is a serious no-brainer. Look at your options. Do any of the options go against the value, principles and commandments of Scripture? Those are the options to eliminate.
Ask God for wisdom.
Once you’ve eliminated all the unbiblical and sinful options, then we move to guideline #2. Oftentimes, we have decisions to make and even after we have eliminated all the unbiblical options we are still left an array of choices at our disposal. And in that moment, we can feel more than just a little overwhelmed.
What do we do when we are overwhelmed? So, where does being overwhelmed lead to?
Frustrated? Fearful? Frozen?
As we are overwhelmed with the scope of options when making a decision it’s important that our options lead us to pray for wisdom.
James 1:5 (NIV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
First, he gives it to us ‘generously to all’ and ‘without finding fault’. What an amazing promise to a simple request for wisdom!
A little boy and his father visited the country store. Upon leaving the store the owner of the store offered the little boy some free candy. “Get a handful of candy”, the merchant said to the boy. The boy just stood there looking up at his father. The owner repeated himself, “Son, get a handful of candy; it’s free.” Again, the boy did not move, continuing to look up in the face of his father. Finally, the father reached into the candy jar and got a handful of candy and gave it to his son. As they walked back home, the father stopped and asked his son why he did not grab a handful of the free candy. The boy, with a big smile on his face, looked into the face of his father and said, “Because I know that your hand is bigger than mine.”
God is eternally knowledgeable and eternally wise and His capacity for wisdom is much greater than ours, so it makes sense to go to Him when we need wisdom in our lives.
Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
It’s interesting to me that in the moment and seasons of my life when I am really locked into Bible reading and prayer and devotion and study – when situations come up that require me to exercise a bit of wisdom – it’s those very passages that I’ve been reading and studying that come back to my mind and help me in my moment of indecision.
It’s also very sobering for me to think that when I am having a season where I’m not locked into reading the Bible like I should be and staying in a daily habit of reading His Word, those are often also the times when I am dry with wisdom and don’t have the sensitivity to the Holy Spirit on what I should do next.
The Spirit of God draws our attention to the Word of God. And if you want your life to be marked by making wise decisions consistently, you must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in your life.
Seek and consider godly counsel.
Read the book I suggest at the end of this post and find some godly wise people in your life. I am constantly in search of wise godly people to include in my life. They have made a world of difference by listening, responding and speaking truth into my life.
Trust and rest in Him.
My cousin, Matt, is a pilot. I’ve talked to him a few times about flying and getting his license. It’s fascinating stuff. We’ve talked about how a new pilot will fly into cloud cover. Of course, in a cloud, there’s no visibility and so they’ll check their gauges and they look for the artificial horizon. That will show them whether or not they are level or not and then they will continue on. For newer pilots, though, they won’t always trust their gauges. So, while they’re flying in cloud cover, they’ll make an adjustment. They’ll make another adjust. They’ll make another. And soon they will find themselves flying out of clouds completely upside-down.
Because they failed to trust the proven method in front of them.
There are a couple of different ways to go through life:
You can go through life in which you second-guess every decision you make and in which you have to perfectly make every decision…
You can live the kind of abundant life that Jesus promised, where choices are real, and God promises wisdom for decision-making.
(For more help on decision-making and understand God’s will for your life, I HIGHLY recommend reading “The Will of God is the Word of God” by James MacDonald).