Dr. Randy Carlson
As a society, we don’t teach how to make decisions. I don’t remember ever having a class on decision-making. I don’t recall my parents ever sitting down and really teaching decision-making, and I’m not sure Donna and I did an adequate job with our own kids.
This topic of decision-making comes from another lesson I shared recently concerning 3 Things Needed in a Post-Covid World. One of those three is making decisions on how we want our life to be in a post-COVID world. Let’s look at three foundations for decision-making.
- We are commanded in scripture to make decisions.
We see plenty of evidence throughout scripture that demonstrates we are called to points of decision-making. But it’s also very clear in scripture that while we make a decision, God determines the outcome. It feels paradoxical at times, but God clearly wants us to make decisions.
James 4:13-15 says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (NIV).
As believers, we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). But faith is not blind. Faith is not ignorant. Faith is never foolish. As Christians, we are commanded to make decisions and walk by faith. Esther’s story is a great illustration of a decision. As she prepared to go to the king to plead for the lives of her people she says: “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16 NIV).
So she made an intelligent decision – it was prayerful, thoughtful and intentional. She didn’t know where the path would lead. She might lose her head. Today we say, “Wow, great decision, Esther!” But what if she had lost her head? It was definitely a decision of faith!
- Some decisions appear good at the time, but we later learn they’re really poor decisions.
You can probably think of a decision you made where you prayed about it. You thought it was going to be a good decision, and then later, you found out it wasn’t such a good decision. And that’s just a part of life.
- Some decisions appear poor at the time that we make them, but after the decision is made, it can turn out to be a good thing.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV).
We walk an exceptionally fine line about decision making, knowing sometimes good decisions later prove not to be so good; poor decisions may work out better than we thought and ultimately, God is superintending all of this if we submit ourselves to him.
God has a way of making up the difference with decisions. All of us have made poor decisions in our lives. I hope the following series of blogs on this topic encourage you to approach decision-making in a very thoughtful and intentional way. And, at the same time, help you realize you’ve got to let God be responsible for the outcome, because you and I can’t be responsible for the outcome of many of our decisions.
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