Have you ever experienced being tormented between two decisions? I do. Have you ever experienced asking God a sign like that thunderbolt from heaven to let you know what you should do? Well, I also do. I believe most of us had experienced how hard it is to choose between two choices especially if both of the choices are not really bad.
There are some questions in our life that are easy to identify whether they are wrong or right. The Bible is very clear in some aspects of what we should do or not. For example, God tells us to keep the Sabbath. When we are faced with the question whether to keep the Sabbath or not, the answer is obvious: we need to follow God’s commandment and keep the Sabbath. No questions asked. The same is true when it comes to His other commandments. But what about those gray areas where it seems both choices are right and are equally moral. Sometimes, we are confronted with making decisions that are not outright wrong or right but we wish that God will miraculously show His hand and point us to the right decision.
We are human beings that have limitations. Though we have the ability to predict certain extent of the future, we still see things very hazy and unclear. When we make decisions, we sometimes ask ourselves the great “what if’s”. It is true that one decision will lead us to another and we are amazed how a small decision can lead to consequential domino effect. We wonder what if we take another path or what if we never choose at all. What if we have taken different course of actions? Where should we have been?
Being indecisive can be very stressful and sometimes it leads to sin. Indecisiveness is not sin of itself but its effect can be destructive. James tells us, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). When we cannot make our minds, we can make the wrong decisions instead of making the right one. James 1:8 clearly points to a person who is controlled by his unstable emotion and passion; who makes a decision based on what seems good at the moment and will change immediately when things are not going according to plan. He is someone who is easily persuaded by other people and will just go with what is popular. He agrees completely with someone then will change his or her perspective when presented with other opinion. Is this you? I admit; indecisiveness is one of my greatest weaknesses.
Jesus, our Lord and Master, taught us, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ be ‘No’. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). Strong words for double-minded Christians. Even the ancient Israelites who became borderline followers of God as they serve idols at the same time were strongly rebuked. The prophet Elijah asked them in that historic day when he confronted the prophets of Baal in Mount Carmel: “how long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him” (I Kings 18:21).
Making a decision and sticking to it can be hard but if you endure, the reward is worth it. King David asked a vital question to God, “LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?…” and David gave the answer, “He who swears to his own HURT, and does not change… he who does these things shall never be moved” (Psalm 15:5). God is please to Christians who keep their word and make a firm decision.
So what are the antidotes for being indecisive? The truth is there is no “one-size fits all” antidote for being indecisive. One practical solution for one problem might not exactly fit to another’s problem. But thankfully, we can derive some general principles from the Bible. The scripture is full of priceless gold nuggets and all we have to do is to diligently dig to find them. Here are some principles that you can use in times you are faced with different decisions.
1. Start with What is Clearly Commanded in the Bible
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Following God’s commandments are always mandatory. The others are just optional. Keeping the Food Law is mandatory. Pleasing your tongue and filling your belly is optional. Keeping the Sabbath is mandatory. Closing a business deal on a Friday night is optional. By this, you might know what I am talking about. If one choice will lead you to compromising God’s commandment, then you need to cross that option out of your list. If you really want to know God’s will for you then let Him guide you by not compromising with your Christian values.
2. Seek Godly Advice
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 11:14).
Seeking counsel from your pastor or elder can be a great help. They have been endowed by God with godly wisdom and they can give you sound Bible-principled advice. You will be really amazed how much guidance you can get from them. Moreover, you can also approach brethren who have been in the same situation before. They can give you information from their perspective. After receiving advice, pray to God that He will let you see more clearly with the advices you gathered.
3. Choose the Option which will Glorify God
“For you were bought at a price; therefore GLORIFY God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:20).
Like what was already mentioned, some options are really not morally wrong. In this case, you should ask yourself if the decision you are about to make will help you glorify God. This includes being a light of the world so that when they see your good works, people will be driven to glorify God. There are some choices that are less beneficial when seen through the lenses of human eye but more spiritually fulfilling. Dedicating your life to God’s work is one good area to start with and from there you can start aligning every decision of your life with that choice.
There are times that both choices are not morally wrong or right. In this case, God gave us the freedom of choice and whichever you choose, learn by heart that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
4. List the Pros and Cons of your Options
“A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3; 27:12).
It is very important to not just analyze your options in your mind but writing them down gives you a concrete idea. In case if you have two choices, label them as option A and option B. Concentrate on option A first. Make two columns by drawing a line between them. Write on top of the left column as the ‘pros’ and the right side as ‘cons’ or vice versa. Try to list all the positives and negatives of your option A. After that, you should score each item depending on how much impact they can make in your life. Finally add all the points in one column and do the same to the other column. Then you should subtract the negative from the positive. When you have the answer, do these same steps to the other option and see the difference between the negative and the positive. Finally, compare the results of both options A and B. The one with the highest score is most probably the best choice.
5. Ask for God’s Will
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (I John 5:14).
We all pray for God’s will to be done. But how much do we really mean it? Are we REALLY prepared to step out on our comfort zone and trust God that the ultimate result of following Him will lead to our own good?
In making a crucial choice or even a simple one, you need to look for what is important to God and what He wants for you and NOT what you want for your life. We are already counted “as sheep for the slaughter (Romans 31:36)” and we are supposed to be dead already as we bury ourselves in that watery grave. We need to realize that “it is no longer (we) who live, but Christ lives in (us)” (Galatians 2:20) as we come out from the water. Therefore, we do not have any right to complain every time we suffer for God’s sake.
As we start to follow God’s will, remember that His will is for our ULTIMATE good and “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalms 84:11). Have a submissive and humble attitude when you pray. Ask for a willing heart to obey.
These are just some of the principles that you can use when making decisions. Remember that God is not the author of confusion and He is more than eager to direct your path. Though every once in a while we make the wrong choices, do not forget that it will remain a mistake if you do not learn from them. I sincerely hope that all of us will make right choices in our lives as we strive harder to make it to God’s Kingdom!