Solomon told us that “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!” He went on to say that if you’re going to do anything else, “develop good judgment.”. Sounds easy enough, but you and I are smart enough to know, and have lived enough life to have learned that wisdom isn’t a given, and good judgement is often hard to find.
But you and I have decisions to make. We’re choosing things for our own lives that matter, and we’re making decisions as leaders that affect other people. So when we need wisdom to make a decision where do we find it?
The problem usually isn’t the things that we know we are supposed to do. Though we will fight it if we REEEEAALLLY want the other thing, if it’s a black and white issue, most people I know will eventually make the right decision. It’s the grey areas that we struggle with. Those decisions that don’t seem to be on the map. You know the map, right? “Turn right here.” “In 2 minutes get off this road.” Those amazing GPS apps on our phones have made it nearly impossible for me to drive anywhere without assistance. I just wish I had the same assistance when it came time to make decisions in my life and leadership.
So I want to give you 5 questions that I believe will help you make better decisions every time.
1. What does the Bible say about this issue?
If you don’t allow the Bible to speak into your life you’ve probably already skipped past this one. However, I believe the Bible to be an incredible source of wisdom. It even calls itself “a lamp” for our feet and a “light for our path.” There are a number of places in Scripture that you can find specific instructions to help guide the decisions that you are making. If you don’t know where to look don’t be afraid to look at the keywords in the back of your Bible or Google “What does the Bible say about ______?” Check several resources to insure that it’s valid. It’s not cheating. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, and the Bible says “yes” or “no” then your next step is pretty simple. Just do what it says.
2. What is God saying to me about this issue?
I’ll start the same way this time that I started last time. If you don’t believe that God speaks to you then this may seem irrelevant. When I say “speak” or what is God “saying”, don’t get hung up on thinking about the audible voice of God. Perhaps you have heard God speak audibly. I never have. And yet God has spoken to me in many ways. Obviously I believe God speaks to me through His Word, which I talked about already. But He also speaks through worship, prayer, nature, circumstances, and more. You might call it an impression or a feeling. God promises that if we need wisdom, all we have to do is ask for it, and He will give it to us “generously.”
It’s important that this comes after searching the Bible because the Bible is a timeless revelation of God’s Word to His people. It has stood the test of time, and God will not contradict Himself by telling you something that doesn’t line up with His Word. So check the Bible, then check yourself.
3. What are the wise people in my life telling me?
If you are the wisest person you know, you need some new friends. Proverbs tells us to “walk with the wise to be wise.” I want to surround myself with people who have wisdom in a variety of areas of life so that I can lean into their wisdom when I’m attempting to make decisions. I have wise people in my life in the areas of finance, real estate, parenting, marriage, leadership, pastoring, and more. I lean on them regularly.
One of the greatest ways wise people can help me is to determine if what I’m hearing from God (#2) lines up with what the Bible says (#1). Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
4. What are the possible consequences (both good and bad)?
If you still don’t know what to do, make a pros and cons sheet. Put all the possible good results that could come from this decision, then list the possible bad outcomes. Look them over. Does either column make your decision easier or clearer? Count the cost, even if money isn’t involved. You won’t regret it.
Finally, if you still aren’t sure. You’ve looked in the Bible, listened for God personally, talked to wise people, and counted the cost, here’s the tie-breaker.
5. What would the wisest, Godliest person I know do, if they were me?
Try to remove yourself from the situation. To the best of your ability, take the emotions off the table. Zoom out and view the situation from the outside looking in. Now picture the person you believe to be the wisest, Godliest person you know. Maybe you don’t even know them well. Maybe you just see them from a distance, but you admire them and their ability to make decisions. If they were in your shoes, what do you think they would do? If you have a relationship, or access to them, perhaps even ask them that question: “If you were me, what would you do?”
Two closing thoughts:
First, don’t allow the fear of making a wrong decision cause you not to make a decision. I’m not talking about taking your time or waiting for more information. I’m talking about the “paralysis by analysis” that so many of us are guilty of. We don’t want to get it wrong, so we do nothing at all.
It’s like a friend of mine. When they are sick they refuse to go to the doctor because in their mind “no news is better than bad news.”
Avoiding it doesn’t make it better. When it comes to decisions, many times avoiding it makes it worse, the decision harder, and the cost greater.
Second, don’t let what you “want” to do in your head overpower what you “know” to do in your heart. We can all justify what we want to do. You’re looking for the right decision, not just your preferred decision.
You’re a leader. People are waiting on you to make decisions. Use the wisdom of God, surround yourself with wise people who can help you when necessary, and make the call!
I believe in you!
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