June 4, 2018
Veronica Podbury has written about five keys from the Bible for sound decision-making. She says that the dangers and long-term consequences of making the wrong choice can be huge. Fear of being wrong can force us into not making a decision at all, while desperation can lead us into decisions we’ll live to regret.
The apostle Peter had to make a quick decision one dark night when he saw Jesus walking on water towards the fishing boat he was in. Full of faith, he called out, “Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you” (Matthew 14:28). When Jesus did, Peter stepped out of the boat. We look to this as a great example of courage even though “when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water” (Matthew 14:30-32). The great thing is that, for a while, Peter’s bold decision to trust Jesus enabled him to walk on water! How many of us would love to do that! Peter had Jesus there right in front of him, calling him to come. For us, deciding what to do generally is not so clear-cut. We can, however, draw out five key principles to guide us.
1. Keep God involved.
It sounds almost too obvious, but when we are in frightening circumstances it’s tempting to fall back on purely rational thinking to solve our problem and inform our decision-making. God has given us our minds to think things through sensibly, but there’s a danger that, at the time we most need to rely on God for guidance, we can behave like nonbelievers.
2. Seek guidance from Scripture.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living” (2 Timothy 3:16). God will speak to us through his Word, often leading us to a particular Scripture that will bring fresh light to our situation.
3. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Jesus promised us he wouldn’t leave us without guidance, but that the Holy Spirit would come and guide us into the truth (John 16:13).
4. Seek the advice of wise and experienced believers.
People around us may give useful advice in their areas of expertise, and friends may try to tell you what to do, but the “counsel of the saints” has a different level of advice and shouldn’t be neglected.
5. Let God’s peace rule in your heart.
After all the above, the final test is this—look for an internal and communal sense of God’s peace about your decision. “The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make…” (Colossians 3:15-17). This is the peace that “is far beyond human understanding” (Philippians 4:7), a peace that is not determined by circumstances, but reassures you that you are walking close to God and have found his guidance.