I read that the average adult makes 35,000 decisions every day. Most of these are minor issues like what cup to choose for coffee. Others choices are more important, like whether to spend secret place time with the Lord or not. Even if you don’t feel like you are successful in making decisions, the good news is you are developing a greater skill in making the choices that lead to blessing and increase.
There are two extremes in the kinds of people who make decisions. The first is the impulsive, feeling-based decision maker. They do not consider the consequences of their choices because they are only concerned about being happy now. On the other extreme is what I would call the religious mindset decision maker. These are sincere people who walk in regular double-mindedness and instability because of a haunting feeling that their decisions might be wrong and displeasing to God. They have a fear of punishment mindset. Both of these extremes can be overcome and healed through what I am sharing with you today.
God has helped me so much to have greater confidence in the decision-making process and to increasingly see the fruit from positive choices I have made. I have summarized what I have learned in the following six traits of dynamic decision makers.
- They base their decisions on the Bible and its core values – The Bible is the “owner’s manual” for life. I have never followed God’s clear direction and regretted it. Certainly there can be short-term discomfort in choosing God’s wisdom, but there is a long-lasting blessing. And not following God’s core values can have pleasure for a season (Hebrews 11:25), but it creates long-lasting problems. The Book of Proverbs is a great place to start for understanding God’s wisdom and His core values for successful living.
- They believe they are good decision makers – The Bible says we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and I can safely say that means we have the DNA of a great and healthy person in decision making. The nature of faith is we believe before we see. As we declare things like “I always know what to do and have incredible grace to follow through on what I know to do,” we will build the identity needed for life-launching decisions.
- They know when not to make a decision – They understand to not make major conclusions or decisions when angry, lonely, tired, hungry, or without considering the consequences of choices.
- They include the right people in their decision making – “There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors” (Proverbs 15:22). “He who walks with the wise will be wise” (Proverbs 13:20). Who our friends and influencers are will dramatically affect the type of decisions we make. If we only hang out with turkeys, we will make turkey decisions. If we are connected with eagles who have a track record of making wise choices, then we will be much more prone to make very blessed choices. Also, in every situation possible, it is wise to include in the decision-making process those who will be impacted by what is decided. Their “buy-in” will help relationships be strong.
- They clarify their options and have a story from God for what they decide to do – It is important to list the potential options for directional or situational choices. Under each option, list the pros and cons of that direction, plus what key people in your life are saying. Then add “God stories” that occur for each option (dreams, prophetic words, unusual coincidences, etc.). “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:9-10). Paul concluded he was to go Macedonia because of his God story. We are to conclude in a similar way. And the greater the risk we take in life, then the more powerful our God story needs to be. (And a note here: I prefer saying “I believe God told me,” rather than “God told me.” It is hard to give constructive feedback to people who overuse the “God said” card.)
- They learn to make decisions in faith – Romans 14:5 says “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.” Once we have gone through a good process in making a decision, then we need to attach faith to the decision. In my relationship with God, I tell him that He can change my mind through another God story, but until He does, I am going to move forward being fully convinced. All of heaven gets behind those people who attach faith to their decisions.
Dynamic decision makers aren’t simply trying to avoid bad decisions, but they are more importantly believing they are going to make catalytic decisions that dramatically and positively impact their lives, their descendants, and their nation.
For more on this topic, please listen to my podcast.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.