Dr. John B. MacDonald
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Do you feel like the image in the picture when it comes to making the right decision on an important matter? (The image is intended to be somewhat playful.) 

How do you make important decisions? 

The goal of this series is to introduce you to a biblical approach for making right decisions. 

We all make decisions 

We all make decisions – some are simple; others more difficult. 

Many of our decisions are small matters: simple and straightforward. Some of our choices are unconscious; others require more thought – but not much. For instance, if you wear socks, which one did you put on first today? Or, if you're in a traffic jam do you wait it out, or do you take a detour? It becomes a bit more challenging when you plan your travel route for a well-deserved holiday. 

Other decisions are more critical and more difficult. Should I go to college, and if so, what course of studies should I pursue, and what college should I attend? Should I apply for a job posting in another city? What do I believe about whether it is ever right to lie? What should my position be on, say, accommodating gender dysphoria at a Christian youth camp? 

You get the idea.

There is a whole spectrum of issues upon which we are called to make a decision – some petty; others life-changing. 

How do you make your decisions? 

Well, we make some choices by default. Returning to the question of which sock you put on first, you probably didn’t give it a thought. For me, I always put on the left sock first. After that, everything goes right! (That was a little joke.) 

Some people search their horoscopes, consult a fortune teller, or engage in some other pagan mechanism. Others may engage in less harmful approaches such as flipping a coin or spinning a bottle. A similar method, with a supposedly Christian twist, involves those who open a Bible at random, let their finger glide to a stop on the page, then open their eyes to see what supposed wisdom awaits. 

Others make lists of pros and cons, then choose the best option. But that still doesn’t answer how they decide what is a pro and what is a con. 

Consider the most recent decision you made on an important matter. Take a moment to recall how you made your decision and write it down. 

Did you write your method of making that important decision? If you did, you can go to the next step. If not, I encourage you to do so as a bit of self-revelation of your methods.

As you analyze what you wrote, what elements were involved in your decision-making process. For example, did you:

  • Discuss the issue with another person you respected for wisdom and confidentiality? If no, why not? If yes, how did you choose the person with whom you spoke?
  • Write out a list of pros and cons you thought were relevant? If so, what determined what was relevant? What tipped the scale toward the decision you made?
  • Consider various options, or was it a ‘yes-no’ kind of decision?
  • Apply relevant Biblical principles or models to your situation? If no, why not? If yes, how did you decide what was relevant?
  • Pray about it? And if so, what were you expecting as an answer – if you got an answer at all?
  • Have second thoughts after you made your decision?

Of course, you may have considered other things that guided you toward the decision you made. What were they? 

How reliable is your decision-making process? 

If you are a follower of Jesus, you should want to discern and implement God’s will for your life. But what is that will, and how can you detect it? 

If you’re anything like me, discerning God’s will is neither easy nor painless – but it is always rewarding.

So, how should we make decisions that conform to God’s will for our lives? 

Is there only one primary path that you must walk – any failure along the way means you can only expect second-best, if not less? Take the wrong ‘fork in the road’ and it's game over? Ouch … 

How have you been making important decisions? Is your process beneficial and effective for making the right choice? 

If you’ve got it all together, let me know so I can get you to write a few posts in this series. Hmm ... I don’t really expect to hear from anyone in this category. 

If you have read this far, I’m going to presume that you yearn to know a better way to make the right, the best, decisions for your life’s path

I’m almost 70 – and almost 50 of those years have been as a follower of Jesus Christ – and I’m still learning. So, let’s walk together on this and see what we can learn.

The way forward 

This is the first post in the series. I’m not sure how many there will be. In a way, that’s up to you. 

I’m going to start with the question: What is God’s big purpose or goal for you? The answer to this question will orient you to the main issue or issues.

The biblical answer to the question is: God’s big purpose for you is that you become more like Jesus Christ. Here are some basic Bible texts in support: 

  • In the past, the Father determined that every follower of Jesus will be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29 and context).
  • In the future, when the Son (our Lord Jesus) appears, we will be like Him (1 John 3:1-3 and context).
  • In the present, we are invited to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in His work as He transforms followers of Jesus into the image of the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18 and context).

Taken together, these and other biblical texts confirm that God's great goal for you is to become more like Jesus Christ in his perfect humanity.

Until the next post, I’m recommending that you read the following three posts and think about God’s big purpose for your life:

Let me know whether you think you’re interested in this series. What kind of questions do you hope it answers? 

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                    NEXT post: God's will for you

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

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