Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to Make Good Decisions

When we are trying to make big decisions we are often filled with confusing emotions.

Some decisions may not seem life changing, but if we keep making even small decisions poorly, over time they have a big impact on our lives.

Many of the ways we make decisions are not wise, such as flipping a coin, or going to a palm reader. Other ways we make decisions are only partially helpful, such as discussing it with a friend who may not have the experience needed to give us a good answer. We need a set of objective filters that we can run our options through to help us make good decisions.

1. To Make Good Decisions, FIRST: Commit to do whatever the Bible says.
If a decision would go against the Bible, it is a decision that will eventually lead to more pain and difficulty in our lives than we would have had to experience.

Psalm 119:101-105
I have kept my feet from every evil path to follow Your word. I have not turned from Your judgments, for You Yourself have instructed me. How sweet Your word is to my taste—sweeter than honey to my mouth. Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

When u
sing the Bible to make good decisions, remember:
          The Bible will keep us from evil choices.
          The Bible gives us God’s judgments, which are always superior to people’s judgments because God sees the whole picture but people only see part of the picture.
          Following the Bible leaves a “sweet” taste in our spirit.
          The Bible sheds light in the darkness.
          It is important not to misuse the Bible. It is tempting to twist a verse to make it say what we want it to say. To avoid misusing the Bible, we must study it in the context in which it was written.
          The Bible is not a weapon to be used to crush our enemies, it is a guide for successful living.
          If any decision we are about to make would go against the clear teaching of the Bible, then we know it is a bad decision and should avoid it.

2. To Make Good Decisions, SECOND: Spend time praying.
We are unlikely to make good decisions if we have not spent quality time praying about the choices we have to make.

Luke 6:12-13
12 During those days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. 13When daylight came, He summoned His disciples, and He chose 12 of them to be His apostles.

          In Luke 6 Jesus was trying to decide who He would choose to be His apostles. This was a huge decision because the apostles would be the ones to carry on the work of Christ after He was crucified, risen and ascended back to heaven. Jesus spent all night in prayer about which people to choose as His apostles.

When using prayer to make good decisions, remember:
          Too often we either skip prayer, or only pray for a short while, before making a decision.
          We need to pray long and hard about the decisions in our lives.
          The Holy Spirit uses prayer to clarify things in our minds and hearts helping us to know which choices to eliminate and which to continue to consider.
          Though we may start with a large number of options, after Bible study and prayer, our list of options is usually much shorter.
          Having a short list is very freeing to the spirit.

3. To Make Good Decisions, THIRD: Focus on one option at a time and research it well.
It is easy to get sidetracked by too much information when we are trying to make a big decision. That usually results in us making a bad decision.

Proverbs 4:25-26
Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. 26 Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.

To make good decisions by focusing on one option at a time and researching it well, remember,
          To keep from being overwhelmed by too much information, we should first narrow our options through Bible study and prayer.
          Then once we have a short list of possible answers, we should focus on one option at a time.
          The scripture tell us to “fix our gaze straight ahead.” We cannot look in four directions at once if we hope to make a good choice.
          The scripture tells us to carefully consider the path. We often make choices without doing adequate research. We should do the research needed to make a wise choice.

4. To Make Good Decisions, FOURTH: Consider how our decision impacts others and make the choice that is BEST for everyone involved.
1 Corinthians 8:4, 7, 13
4About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one. 7However, not everyone has this knowledge. In fact, some have been so used to idolatry up until now, that when they eat food offered to an idol, their conscience, being weak, is defiled.  13Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat that has been offered to idols, so that I won't cause my brother to fall.

When this scripture was written, many people worshipped idols instead of God. A big part of idol worship was to leave a piece of meat in front of the idol for it to eat. Obviously the meat was never eaten by the idol because it was just a statue, not a living being. After the meat had sat around a while, it would be sold at the market to generate money for the idol’s temple. The meat was sold at a significant discount because it was old. Some Christians bought this cheap meat because they were poor and it was all they could afford. Other Christians thought this meat was cursed because it had been used in idol worship. This was causing conflict between Christians. The apostle Paul said that since the idol was just a statue, it had no power to curse the meat. Therefore, if Christians wanted to eat it, they could. BUT – Paul also pointed out that if eating the meat was going to confuse some Christians who did not understand that it was okay, then he would personally not eat it. The point Paul was making was that Christians should take into consideration how our choices affect the people around us.

When considering how our decision impacts others, remember,
                Though we live in a very “me-centered” culture, Christians are called to think of others.
                We are all part of various groups (family, church, workplace, sports team, life-long friends, clubs, etc.) and the choices we make impact those groups.
                Christians should take that impact into consideration when we make decisions.
                This does not mean that Christians should be slaves to peer pressure. It just means we should think about how our actions affect others and do what is best for all.
                By the way, doing what is BEST for all is different than doing what makes everyone HAPPY.
                Happiness comes and goes, but we will never regret making a wise decision that is BEST for all.

Conclusion: Four Filters To Help Us Make Good Decisions:
1.     Commit to do whatever the Bible says.
2.     Spend time praying.
3.     Focus on one option at a time and research it well.
4.     Consider how our decision impacts others and make the choice that is BEST for everyone involved.


  1. Excellent word for Christian poets and writers too, Terry, especially as we try to discern the writing God wants us to do. I'll post your URL on the Christian Poets & Writers blog - - to highlight your article. Thanks and blessings.

  2. Thanks Mary,
    I'm glad it is a helpful post and that you shared it with others. I pray it helps many people think more carefully about their choices.


  3. Hi Terry,

    Thank you so much for this reminder. I would be a great poster as a daily reminder. I have been so blessed by your teaching and glad that distance does not keep me from continuing to learn from your postings. Thank you for your devotion to continually find opportunities to bless the sheep even when your flock goes way beyond where your eyes can see.

  4. Shirley,
    Thanks for the kind words. And that is one of the main reasons I post things to the blog. I want to touch as many lives for the Lord as possible. God bless. Miss all you guys from Faith Community Church.