Making Decisions. . .God's Way

. .

Sometime back I remember reading what I thought was a well-reasoned article on decision making.

After a couple of paragraphs. . .I knew the writer was either a hamburger short of a happy meal or he was having a bad day when he wrote the article.

If that seems harsh. . .consider his suggestion on how you should make a MAJOR decision.

The author suggested the readers write out all their choices, put them in a hat and draw out one. He then said … if you’re disappointed in the selection you know one of the other ones is the right choice. The author encouraged people to repeat the process until they found the right decision.

Now in fairness. . .let me say, if you’re choosing a restaurant…I don’t have a problem with that method…but not a decision that affects your family, career or life goals is a different matter.

By then, I knew I had to write “Making Decisions. . .God’s Way.” In a rapid fire order. . .God gave me the seven keys and a week later directed me to finish the teaching.

1.      Relax. . .free yourself from distractions.

In order to make a proper. . .godly decision. . .it’s imperative that you create an environment free from the world’s many distractions. . .a quiet place.

In other words, find a place where no one else is talking or doing anything which will draw your attention and break your focus.

In His Presence is a place where you can “relax.”

Psalm 9:9 in Message Bible says:

“God's a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you're never sorry you knocked.”

Be mentally and spiritually prepared to open your heart to receive what God is sending your way.

I like what Jude 1:1 says in the Message Bible translation:

“. . .Relax, everything's going to be all right; rest, everything's coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!”

Finally, when you allow yourself to rest and relax in Him. . . something’s coming your way.

Daniel 12:13 in the Message Bible says:

"And you? Go about your business without fretting or worrying. Relax. When it's all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward."

It’s important. . .that you choose the proper time and amount of time to relax. . .to clear your mental thought processes from the swirl of what goes on around you daily.

As you relax in His presence. . .a spiritual and mental clarity will be loosed in your life.

First thing in the morning is a good time because you should be rested and your mind hasn’t zeroed in on all that has to be accomplished that day.

2.      Pray for the mind of Christ to function fully and freely within you.

When you’ve relaxed in the proper environment. . .the next step is to allow the mind of Christ that’s in you. . .to stir your thought processes.

2 Corinthians 1:16 in the Amplified Bible says:

“For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.”

We have the “. . .thoughts, feelings and purposes of His heart.” Call upon them…

If that doesn’t position us to make a proper decision. . .nothing ever will.

We must tap into the mind of Christ.

Proverbs 20:5 in the Message Bible says:

“Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within.”

How do you draw out the wisdom from the well within. . .the mind of Christ. . .His thoughts, feelings and purposes.

By locating. . .reading. . .speaking. . .confessing the scriptures that speak to the decision you need to make.

Write out the scriptures. . .in your smart phone, iPad, tablet, on note cards or whatever format allows you to refer to them frequently during the day. . .and not just during your quiet time.

Above all. . .never make a decision that’s not biblically based.

Decisions about your future should never be left to chance.

3.      Get Benjamin Franklin Involved.

When faced with an important decision Benjamin Franklin would take a sheet of paper draw a line down the center of the paper. On the top left-hand side he would write “Reasons For This Decision.” On the right-hand side he would write “Reasons Against This Decision.”

He would number each reason and at the end of the process would make his decision based on which side of the page had the highest number listed but the important part is to be able to look at both sides of the question.

My version of the Benjamin Franklin method utilizes scripture for each reason for and against a particular decision.

List all the reasons for each decision with the appropriate verse. If need be. . .use a verse more than once.

Make sure you have all the facts. . .not just the opinion of someone.

Think about it. Are you doing this to please someone else or are you doing what is best for your family?

Isaiah 11:3 in the New Living Translation says:

“He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay.”

If you investigate. . .you will not hesitate to initiate your decision.

Remember, the scriptural admonition found in Proverbs 18:13 which says:

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

Here’s the Brother Harold translation of that verse.

It’s a sin to make a decision in ignorance when the facts are available.”

4.      Consider the scenarios.

What’s the best case scenario you can hope for? If every decision you make is the right one. . .what will be the end result?

As you visualize the reality of success. . .is it what you desire it to be?

You must see how it is. . .before it ever will be.

Determine if the worst case scenario is worth the risk.

This thought process is easy for most people. . .because unless they’ve trained their mind they typically think of the worst case scenario of every decision first.

As you think about the worst things that could happen. . .it’s important to keep this mental exercise in a scriptural perspective.

Just think about. . .but don’t dwell on the worst thing that could happen. In other words, don’t sit and think up every possible thing that could go wrong.

Give minimal thought to the negative things that might happen. Think instead on ways you can avoid this happening.

Even if things go wrong. . .you have the assurance. . .that God will help you. . .no matter what. But that does not mean jumping into something foolishly.

Matthew 6:34 in the Message Bible says:

God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

God will help YOU. . .are you getting this? Say it out loud. . .GOD WILL HELP ME.

Now that’s something to shout about . . .forget the worry about tomorrow. . . enter His presence right now whether you “feel” Him or not . . .embrace His promises . . . experience His power and enjoy the fullness of life that only He can give in the midst of every trial and temptation.

Matthew 6:34 in The Living Bible says;

Jesus said, “So, don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.”

Truthfully, there is no such thing as a Worst Case Scenario when God helps us deal with whatever situation comes up.

If we are daily seeking to be obedient to His voice, when something hard comes up, we can know He has a way through itaround it … or over it.

The next question you need to ask and answer is. . .what would be the public reaction to this scenario and does it matter to me?

Dr. Seuss once said:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

As you review each scenario you need to include the possible costs. . .financial and otherwise of your pending decision.

As you’re reviewing the pros and cons of the decision. . .in the natural, I would recommend you assign a probability percentage to each possible outcome based on as much fact as you can gather.

In the spiritual realm, I would simply quote Mark 9:23 in God’s Word Translation which says:

“Jesus said to him, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.”

5.      Ask your mentor.

Once you’ve heard from God you will need to follow His direction. But if you are still pondering God’s direction, you can also talk to your godly mentors to see if they can bring greater clarity.

Ask your mentor how they think you will feel about your possible decision in 5 or 10 years. . .and whether or not that even matters.

Deuteronomy 17:9 in the Amplified Bible says:

“And you shall come to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall consult them and they shall make clear to you the decision.”

When it comes to financial matters. . .it’s sad to say that many Christians will discuss their finances in great detail with a banker or loan officer. . .but never talk to the one person who has their personal interest at heart. . .their pastor or spiritual mentor.

I can hear it now. . .but, Brother Harold, my pastor doesn’t understand finances the way a banker does.

While that may be true. . .I can assure you that your pastor knows the Master Banker better than any loan officer ever could. See if he or she can shed light from a pastoral perspective.

And let me tell you from personal experience. . .that wearing a suit, having an impressive title and sitting in the lobby of a bank. . .doesn’t make you an expert.

I remember a banker and a friend. . .trying to talk me out of paying my mortgage off in advance because I would lose the interest deduction on my income tax returns. I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain why. . .I’d save much more money by having no interest payment at all. . .but he couldn’t see it. . .at the time.

Two years later, as he saw good things happening in my bank account. . .he asked me to explain it to him once again. As you might imagine. . .that individual is no longer a banker.

I’d rather receive advice. . .financial or otherwise. . .from someone who hears from God than someone with a degree in finance.

I mean, no disrespect to bankers. . .in fact, a godly banker can be a great advantage if you’re blessed enough to know one. They know God’s ways and the world’s financial system too.

I’m just saying. . .a spiritually savvy pastor or mentor is better than a worldly banker.

When I need to make an important decision. . .I’m looking for the truth and it only comes from one source.

John 8:16 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Yet even if I do judge, My judgment is true [My decision is right]; for I am not alone [in making it], but [there are two of Us] I and the Father, Who sent Me.”

6.      Get started.

Once you make a decision. . .you need to stop talking. . .and even quit praying. . .and as we say in Texas. . .get a move on it.

Exodus 14:15 in The Living Bible says:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march!”

Ernest Hemingway said:

“Never mistake motion for action.”

Once you recognize that the Holy Spirit led you to make the right decision, don’t look back.

Never allow the enemy to cause you to second guess yourself.

The enemy’s goal is to create doubt and confusion . . . he is the enemy of clarity and decisive action.

Take action. . .not just talk about taking action.

Benjamin Franklin said:

“Well done is better than well said.”

Don’t talk about it. . .just do it. . .because your Heavenly Father is watching every step you take.

Proverbs 5:21 in God’s WORD Translation says:

“Each person’s ways are clearly seen by the Lord, and he surveys all his actions.”

Andrew Carnegie said:

“As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

Proverbs 14:23 in the New Living Translation says:

“Work brings profit; talk brings poverty!”

In 2010, I wrote 30 ways to overcome procrastination and those 30 keys are just as real today as they were eight years ago. It’s also important that you avoid procrastination. . .of any kind. . .and for whatever reason.

1.      Get Started.

2.      Create Assessment Of The Time Needed To Complete The Project.

3.      Don’t Let Time Assessment. . .Delay The “Start” Of Your Task.

4.      Maximize Your Moments.

5.      Rearrange Other Assignments and Time Slots.

6.      Start Somewhere but start.

7.      Tackle the most difficult part of the assignment first even if you have to break it down into several steps.

8.      Create Reasonable and Flexible Timelines.

9.      Reward Your Success For Each Timeline Achieved

10.    Do It Now. . .No Delays.

11.    Ask Yourself: Is This The Easiest Way To Accomplish This Task?

12.    Continually Question Yourself on how to do things better.

13.    Take a deep breath Before You Start.

14.    Properly Prepare Your Work Area.

15.    Eliminate Distractions from your Work Environment as much as possible.

16.    Use Your Timelines As Incentives

17.    Announce Your Timeline to your spouse or best friend.

18.    Flow With Your Energy levels.

19.    Plan A Function To Help Ensure Your Project Is Completed.

20.    Establish Leisure Time breaks.

21.    Utilize Unexpected Time Slots.

22.    Create A Realistic And Functioning “To Do” List.

23.    Enlist The Support Of A Trusted Advisor And Friend.

24.    Plan For The Unexpected.

25.    Don’t Take Your Foot Off The Pedal of your routine.

26.    Achieve Or Your Refocus Your Timelines.

27.    Delegate.

28.    Your Stress Level Is Reduced With Each Timeline Accomplished.

29.    Secure Additional Resources.

30.    Reward Yourself Over A Job Well Done.

Finally, heed the advice of Ephesians 5:16 in the Amplified Bible which says:

Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.”

7.      Monitor your progress and evaluate your decision.

Simply said, you must inspect what you expect to prevent defects if you want to be perfect in your plan.

As I was preparing this teaching I came across Lamentations 3:40 in the New Living Translation which says:

“Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord.”

In monitoring your progress. . .you will find that any turning from the Lord or minimizing your time with Him. . .will adversely affect your progress. That’s why monitoring or self-examination is one of the most important things you can do.

1 Timothy 4:15 in the New Living Translation says:

“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.”

Focus is critical to the success of your daily plan. . .which impacts the success of the decisions you make and the actions you take.. That’s why your “complete attention” to every detail is so important.

Checking your progress each day around lunch time and make any necessary adjustments . . . ensuring your success.

One final thought.

Galatians 6:4 in God’s WORD Translation says:

“Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.”

People may doubt or question what you say. . .but will believe what you do.

Here are a couple of great quotes to provoke your thinking on making decisions. . .God’s way.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said:

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Tony Robbins, the author and motivational speaker, said:

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”