Let's be honest, some of us are terrible at making decisions. We all know people that couldn't make a decision if their life depended on it. If you were to leave the decision on where to have dinner up to them, there is a possibility you might starve. During those times, I often wonder what is going through their mind that makes it so difficult to decide. More importantly, I wonder what happens when the decision that needs to be made is much more significant, say for example which job to take, where to move, whether or not to marry this or that person, etc.
We are bombarded with decisions around every corner. Some of them really have no bearing on how our day or even our life will play out (i.e. what to eat for dinner). However, there are many decisions we make that have huge implications on life. These decisions will effect every decision that follows and will change the entire outcome of our life. How we respond to each of these decisions we encounter is of utmost importance. I also believe that our response to these decisions has a lot more to say about our faith than we probably realize.
As Christians, we spend a majority of our time waiting on God (and if you've read my post on waiting, you know this is something I'm not great at). We can all think of instances in Scripture in which individuals were told to wait on God. The disciples were told to wait for the Holy Spirit. David waited patiently (sometimes) for God to make Him king. The Israelites waited for guidance and direction (again, sometimes). The authors of Lamentations, Psalms, Hosea, and others encouraged us to continually wait for God. Although waiting is a Biblical principle, I often wonder if it is possible we have taken it a little too far when it comes time to hunker down and decide.
Do we really need to wait on God before we make any decision and take action? Does God really have something to say about everything in life? Is it necessary everything is filtered through prayer? Or in some instances, do I just need to make a decision and take action? My answer to all of these is both yes and no! In the following few paragraphs, I am going to lay out three different types of decisions and how we are to respond.
First off, there are the decisions that should be quick and easy. I believe God’s Word is clear on many things. We should avoid sexual immorality. We should encourage one another. We should feed the homeless. We should share his message. Do we really need to wait on God to give us direction on whether or not to do things such as these--the Biblical mandates Christ has given us? Probably not; because, he has already given us his answer via Scripture. And let's not forget that He has blessed us with common sense (well, some of us at least). So, these decisions shouldn't require a waiting period. And let me add to this category, decisions on what to eat for dinner, what color of car to purchase, etc. Decisions like this just require that we make a decision and live with consequences (both good and bad). These decisions I refer to as the "just make a decision" decision. And let's be honest, to say we need to pray about these decisions is just a delay tactic!
For some Biblical examples of these types of decisions turn your attention to the creation account, the words of Jesus found in Matthew 28, and Paul’s writing found in Philippians 4:8-9. In the first passage we find that Adam and Eve, in the garden, have been given one “No!” and what seems to be a limitless number of yes'. There is no need to ask God and wait to see if the fruit from each tree is acceptable to eat. They already have the answer. The second passage is often referred to as 'the Great Commission.' Jesus' words, 'therefore, go...,' couldn't be more clear. Not wait. Not pray about it. Just go, and make disciples. Now for the final passage. 'Whatever' is the key word here. In two verses it is said seven times. Again, the possibilities are endless. Think about and do anything that is true, honorable, etc.
The second type of decision is the "wait on it" decision. I can't deny the fact that there are many things the Bible is unclear on. It is in those areas, I know waiting on God is a must! And for those decisions, waiting should be coupled with prayer. The Bible clearly tells us that prayer should be our first response. And that we should be in prayer continually. If you want a list of these types of decisions, I can't give them to you, because they will be different for different people. The important thing is to make prayer a priority with these kinds of decisions. However, the key here is that at the time of decision, make a decision, don't wait until then to pray about it. If you have spent time leading up to decision d-day, you should be able to comfortably make a decision. God has hopefully given you direction; if not, perhaps this decision has just turned into the third type.
Finally, the third category of decisions we must make. These decisions are kind of like a walk in the dark. We can't deny there are times in all of our lives where God doesn't give us clear direction, yet a decision is required. More often than not, these decisions will have time tables on them. And in these cases (and all cases), indecision is a decision (and it's usually the wrong decision). While some people may argue that something on a time table isn't God ordained, I would disagree. This is where the whole concept of faith comes into play. Sometimes we have to make decisions based on what little knowledge we have.
You will find Paul and Silas making these kind of decisions in Acts 6:6-10. Even though they didn't have clear direction, they trudged forward in faith, that somehow, someway, God would make things apparent. And when they were headed in the wrong direction, Scripture tells us 'the Spirit of Jesus stopped them.'
It is these times God builds our trust. These decisions teach us that God really does "work things out for the good of those who are called according to his purpose." While it may be difficult to take that step not knowing where it will lead, we need to realize that even if it is wrong, God has the ability to fix and reconcile. If we are seeking God, He will direct our steps. Even in the midst of indecision and wrong decisions, God is sovereign. So, if you are still waiting on God, perhaps he is waiting on you.