How do you make decisions?
I am a point in my life where some major decisions need to be made. I am one semester away from graduating Seminary with my Master’s in Divinity with a concentration in biblical counseling. (88 credit hours in 2 years!). Now do I continue in my current position that I have held since coming on as an intern 4 years ago? Or do I begin that painful process of transitioning to another area or ministry?
Lately, I have been reading some old friends. Friends because they are wise in counseling and advice, godly men and woman that bring me to the throne of the King.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Prov 15:22
Old because long dead writers have weathered the test of life and are much more reliable than those still living. A life that can be counted on is one that has been well lived and evaluated.
One such friend is Richard Sibbs. A Puritan writer who writes with a remarkably pastoral, caring heart. Advice in decision making is sound and does not rely on mystical and subjective feelings, open doors or some other sub-biblical method for making choices.
Many decisions can be simple, do I take the job at a restaurant or as a bouncer at a strip club? The obvious moral answer is the law firm. However, decisions are rarely so simple are they?
When a decision is equally balanced both cases seem glorify God and makes for the spiritual advancement of our spiritual good what do you decide? In some cases there is not a best answer and either choice is equally beneficial. In these cases how do you make a decision and feel comfortable?
Do not do these two things.
First, we do not make the choice on what feels best. We are so often led by self-love that our actions even if good are so often corrupted. By relying on our feelings we can easily sway the decision the wrong way.
Second, when things are clear and God’s moral will is obvious our further deliberation is dangerous and reveals a false heart, Gideon and the fleece anyone? Judges 6:36-40.
Seek counsel from godly pastors and friends. God has seen fit to provide friends and elders of a church to help us follow His will. God has gifted elders in a church for instruction in the Word of God.
18 Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war. Prov 20:18
Often times others can see clearly where our hearts are obscured through the smoke of our affections. Passion hinders the sight of what is to be done. Seek-out the counsel of upstanding Christians, a soul that is purged and cleared of sin is more fit to be used as a glass to receive the light from above.
After all the advice, extract that which is most right. This is done through prayer and continual reading of God’s Word. God gives discernment to us, a conscience to convict us of sin in our lives, in the end our choice is what we are responsible before God at judgment.
Commit it to Christ, the great Counselor of the church. We owe God this respect, to depend on him for direction in our lives, it is God who commands the ways of the world. Once inclined to a decision move forward in all trust without distracting fear.
Otherwise it is a sign that we do not trust God,
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.1 Pet 4:19
We can be assured that our duty in making a right decision is complete and we leave the results to God.
What blessed assurance we have that when we are faithful to make a decision based on the above ways God is working out the circumstance for the good of those called to His purpose.
We owe God this respect, to depend upon him for direction in the particular passages of our lives, in regard that he is our Sovereign, and his will is the rule, and we are to be accountable to him as our judge. It is God only that can see through businesses, and all helps and lets that stand about.
Richard Sibbes, The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 1 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1862), 211.
Seek first the kingdom of God.