We are powerful people growing in faith-filled decision making, but there are times in life when we should not trust our thinking. Here are nine times when it is very unwise to make substantial decisions or come to any major conclusions.
- When We are Tired – “But (Elijah) himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers’” (1 Kings 19:4). When we are tired, things can look much worse than they really are. Once Elijah rested, he had a better perspective. Sometimes one of the best things we can do for ourselves is just to take a nap.
- When We are Angry – “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). There are times where righteous anger works for us, but the “anger of man” has caused many harmful decisions and conclusions to be made. It is the wise person who says, “I need to walk away from this now so I don’t say or do something stupid.”
- When We Fellowship with the Wrong People – “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). The people we allow into our inner circle will dramatically affect our thinking and choices. This not only includes our relationships but also the media we “fellowship” with. If “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17), what and who we listen to actually counsel us, whether we’re aware of it or not.
- When We are Lonely – “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Isolation creates delusional thinking. Elijah succumbed to this in 1 Kings 19. The psalmist in Psalm 73 also battled lies, even becoming envious of the ungodly. This deception stayed with him until “one day [he] was brought into the sanctuaries of God and in the light of glory, [his] distorted perspective vanished” (Psalm 73:17 TPT).
- When We are Disconnected from God – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). These fruits will cause us to make good decisions and conclusions. They are not attributes we work on, but they result from a life-giving connection with God. He is the true vine, and any good fruit will come out of our abiding in Him (John 15:5). If we try to change our behavior without addressing our relationship with God, then we miss the most important component of victorious living.
- When We are Prideful – “Peter answered him, ‘Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away’” (Matthew 26:33). Peter’s pride cut him off from God’s empowering grace. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Pride is an enemy of good decision making and good conclusions. When we believe we are better than other people, when we believe our success is the result of our good works, and when we don’t think we need to spend time in prayer and the Bible, pride has infiltrated our thinking and will keep us from seeing clearly.
- When We are Emotional or Not Feeling Well – “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). Whether it is that time of the month, an emotional funk, or fighting off a sickness we all have times where we cannot trust the perspective we have. The Bible frequently uses the phrase, “And it came to pass.” I am glad it does not say, “And it came to stay.” Often the best thing we can do is say to ourselves, “I am going to wait a few days before deciding or concluding about big things in my life.”
- When Facing a Mob Mentality – “And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!’” (Numbers 14:2). Sometimes we find ourselves in groups who are offended or lash out in judgement in an attempt to solve a problem. This can happen when we are physically with people or in social media settings. Either way, it is dangerous to allow the offenses of others to sweep us into hasty conclusions and decisions which are contrary to our core values. Stepping away from the heightened emotions of the moment will bring much-needed clarity.
- When We are Disappointed – “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 6:1). Hope is our safety net when what we believed in faith did not happen. When we face disappointment, it is time to reexamine our theology or establish new foundations of faith. Hope returns when God’s Spirit heals us emotionally and our beliefs are restored. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
Successful people find ways to protect themselves from doing or saying dumb things when they are not doing well. This is a season where God’s grace will use the nine truths above to help you rise above lies and the temptation to make impulsive decisions. My podcast has more insight on this topic.
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.