“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5, ESV)
How many decisions will you make today? Twenty? Three hundred? One thousand? Researchers estimate the average adult makes 35,000 decision each day. (Your first decisions today may have been whether to hit that snooze button or get out of bed.)
Not every decision will be life changing. Should I wear the blue top or the yellow? A salad for lunch or a hamburger? But be careful. Some seemingly inconsequential decisions may forever alter the direction of your life.
Three Defining Decisions
In Genesis 13 Lot made what seemed a valid decision. The land could not support the herds of both Abraham and Lot, so Lot chose to move eastward and “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (verse 12). In chapter 19, however, we find he and his family living in Sodom when God chose to destroy that city for its wickedness. Yes, Lot and his two daughters survived—but at what price? It began with one decision.
Daniel and his three friends faced a decision. Should they eat the king’s food and in doing so break the dietary laws set by God? After all, they were captives in a land far from home, and it would be risky to refuse. Daniel approached the problem with wisdom and discretion. Their decision to obey God’s commands, even if it resulted in personal hardship, brought blessings from God and ultimately advancement by the king (Daniel 1).
Although the child of Hebrew slaves, Moses grew up in the palace with all the privileges of Egyptian royalty. He enjoyed the best of everything for forty years. One decision, however, changed the course of his life. He chose to return to his own people (Exodus 2). Was it an easy decision? Probably not. But it was part of God’s plan, so it was the right choice. “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:24-25, ESV).
While none of us may be a Moses or a Daniel, the choices we make may have lasting effects. Lot escaped Sodom, but he and his family bore the consequences of that first decision of many years before.
Guidelines for Decision-making
How do I make good choices, you wonder? God’s Word provides the guidelines we need.
- Filter your decisions through God’s Word. If it goes against Scripture, stop! “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, ESV).
- Check your motives. Are you making this decision for the wrong reasons? “All a person’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs motives” (CSB). “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:14, ESV).
- Don’t make a hasty decision. Allow yourself time to pray and seek God’s will. Do you feel a check in your spirit or have others cautioned you? When in doubt, don’t. “It is dangerous to have zeal without knowledge, and the one who acts hastily makes poor choices.” (Proverbs 19:2, NET).
- Seek wise counsel. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future” (Proverbs 19:20, ESV). (Also read Proverbs 11:14 and 18:1.)
Ask yourself these two questions before taking a course of action.
Does this decision glorify God?
Will this decision compromise my integrity or hinder my witness for the Lord?
For some final advice, remember this. Although something may not be sinful, it still may not be the direction God desires for you. Also, do not assume that just because something seems easy, it is God’s will—or because it is difficult it is not God’s will.