By: Kris Dolberry– I couldn’t wait to be a dad. I had built the crib, painted the nursery, and installed the car seat. Everything was ready. I could hardly wait for my new son to arrive into the world. I had pictured in my mind what the moment would be like. I had heard my parents say things like, “When we first saw you, we fell in love with you.” And, “You were the most beautiful thing we had ever seen.” So I had imagined that when my son arrived, he would be soft, cute, and cuddly. But when he actually arrived, he was 1 out of 3 at best. In fact, my first words to him were, “That’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen!” True story! And to my defense (and though he has grown into a handsome young man), he was! He was gray, slimy, and cone-headed. He looked like something that would need to phone home. This moment I had planned and waited for had arrived and I screwed it up within 10 seconds.
It didn’t get much better with my daughter. A few months after she arrived, I had the bright idea to hold her above my head, use my best dad-baby-talk voice, and wiggle her. What I didn’t know was that her mom had just finished feeding her. Then my dad-induced sea sick daughter fed me a mouthful of baby barf.
Needless to say, these were not my brightest moments. To say it another way, I’ve made better decisions in my life than those.
The average adult makes 35k decisions a day. Sociologists tell us that we make 226 decisions about food alone. Some decisions are clearly more difficult than others. Often the right one is indistinguishable. Proverbs would say it this way, “There is a way that seems right to a man (Proverbs 14:23a).” In those moments when two paths converge and I must choose one, how can I be assured that I am choosing the right one? Here are 4 questions you can ask of every decision
1) Does it lead me closer to or further from where I want to be?
It’s obvious that every decision we make comes with a set of consequences. You may not be able to see them immediately, but at the least, they set rhythms that lead to destinations. And Stanley says it this way, “Decisions set direction which leads to destination.” The question is, “Will the decisions you’re making today get you closer or further away from where you want to be?”
2) Is it wise?
When making important decisions, Christians often ask God to reveal His will for that particular situation. Our thinking is that if God shows us step by step where to go, we can turn our brains off and blindly trust Him. Bible scholars refer to that as God’s will of direction. Problem is, we do not see people in scripture asking God to reveal His will of direction so that they may blindly follow. God in His sovereignty leads His people, certainly. But, as Kevin DeYoung says in his book Just Do Something, “God is not a magic 8 ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the ways of obedience and invites us to take risks for Him.” Ask Him for wisdom. Then use the brain that He gave you to weigh the options and make a decision.
3) Is it Biblical?
If your decision stands in clear contradiction of Biblical parameters, it is an unquestioned automatic a no-go. The only way to know what the Bible says about the issues you face is to know the Bible. The only way to know the Bible is to spend time in the Bible. A great place to start is with a daily quiet time. You might check out Stand Firm. It is an easy-to-understand guide you can use to daily learn more and more about what the Bible says about issues.
The Bible doesn’t speak directly to questions like, “Should I buy a new car?” or “Should I take this job?”. But the Bible is clear about things like blind spots, attitudes and idolatry that can fuel our decision-making. If there’s anything that the Sermon on the Mount has made clear to us it’s that God doesn’t care as much about what you do as He does about why you do it. He’s much less interested in whether or not you should buy a new car. He’s much more interested in you living a life of sacrificial generosity. He’s not as concerned with the job you are in as He is about you using your gifts, talents, and experiences to glorify Him and make Him more famous.
3) Do my people agree?
If you have sought wisdom, sought the Word of God to hear God’s heart on the issue, and you still struggle to know which road to take, seek the counsel of a godly person. It could be your pastor, a friend, your Bible study leader, or your spouse. Remember, God said it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). He created us for community. This is why the writer of Hebrews said, “Do not stop meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25). God designed us to shine light into each other’s blind spots. Remember, as a follower of Jesus, you are not looking for self-help babble. You are looking for Godly wisdom. So, don’t expect to find godly wisdom from someone who is not godly.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve saved myself major headaches and seen God do things that never would have been possible had I not sought Godly counsel.
4) Do I feel peace about it?
In John 14:16, Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit whom He called our “counselor”. The word in Greek is paraclete. It could be translated comforter, helper, or advocate. It was used to describe one who would come to the aid of another. The moment you follow Jesus, you are indwelled with a counselor who will come to your aid in moments in which you are unsure of which decision to make. If you just can’t come to a place where you feel peace about pulling the trigger on something, could it be that that is your counselor within you? Trust Him.
Do you have a decision looming? Hopefully these 4 questions will help. What would you add to the list?
Kris Dolberry is a pastor, speaker, writer, and trainer of leaders. After serving in pastoral leadership for 17 years, Kris now leads Ministry to Men at LifeWay and serves as Executive Editor of Stand Firm, a daily devotional magazine for men. Kris is husband to Vanessa and dad to Konnor, Emma, and Brady. They live outside Nashville, Tennessee.