As Christians, I’m sure we have all struggled with making certain choices. I suggest here a decision-making framework for a Christian, based on: Scriptures, Spiritual Community, Prayer and Godly Wisdom.
Ascertain the specific decision to be made or issue to be resolved.
Pray and ask God to help you identify the specific decision or issue.
Be precise. Narrow the issues down. E.g. “should I quit my job?” is narrow and precise.
Whereas, “should I quit my job and join Company A?” is not narrow and precise because there are 2 separate issues in it. Whether to quit job is 1 issue. Whether to join Company A is 2nd issue.
Search your heart.
Pray Psalm 139:23-24:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
Consider if there is any such thing in your heart which affects your decision-making:
- Emotionally unhealthy attitude: bitterness, jealousy, anger, spite, impatience, self-pity
- Pride: glorified self-image
- Greed for power, status, wealth
- Inferiority or superiority complex
- Fears (of uncertainty, of people’s perception of you, or family expectations, etc.)
- Past hurts
If the Holy Spirit reveals in your heart any such negative thing, pray for God to remove them so you can be free in your decision-making process. Remember that the truth sets you free. And for freedom, you’ve been set free.
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your deepest desires and His desire for you.
Identify Biblical principles which should affect your decision.
E.g. the principle to not stumble a brother or sister, not be unequally yoked, generosity in our giving, good stewardship of talents and resources.
Or will the decision lead to sinful or unedifying behaviour, e.g. requires lying or promotes gambling or involves high sexual temptation?
Be truthful about interpreting the biblical principles and verses. Good to read up generally endorsed interpretations, and seek advice if necessary.
Apply these principles to each option.
Consider all options, collect all relevant information, consult all stakeholders
Consider all plausible options you can take about the issue.
Make a list of pros and cons for each option.
Consider how feasible each option is.
Consider the likely consequences of each option.
Collect all relevant information relating to each option. Talk to people. Read up.
Consult your stakeholders, mentors and spiritual community
Consult your stakeholders, that is, everyone who will be affected by your decision: spouse, children, other family members, close friends, colleagues, etc. Consider their thoughts, feelings and desires.
Consult your mentors and spiritual community for advice.
Consider God’s commandments and whether this glorifies God.
How does each option express loving God, loving neighbour and fulfil the Great Commission?
How does each option glorify God?
Does any option hinder my witness to the Gospel?
Pray for freedom and peace.
Pray again to ask the Holy Spirit to free you from any negative thing which hinders your decision-making.
Pray again to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal which option gives God the most glory and expresses your deepest most authentic self.
It’s permissible to sincerely ask God for signs to confirm the right decision. But you must be careful that it’s not a way to cop out or self-justify any decision. So for me I don’t try to look for it too much because the heart is deceitful. Trust that even if there is no sign forthcoming, your decision made through the rest of these steps is one made in godly wisdom.
Pray for internal peace as you decide on the option.
If you do not yet have peace about the option, give it some time (if possible), and pray again for peace. Sometimes, God is making you wait.
Sometimes, you may not get internal peace in this process, but that does not make a possible decision wrong. Instead, proceed to make the decision and learn to entrust the decision to God, in accordance with Psalm 37:4-5, trusting that you have done your best to delight in God, and to commit your way to Him in faith.
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:4-5).