Lesson 8

CHAPTER EIGHT

DECISION -MAKING

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

C Write the Key Verse from memory.

C Explain the Biblical approach to decision-making.

C Summarize guidelines for decision-making.

C Explain the purpose of a model.

C Explain the value of a model in decision -making.

C Use a Biblical model for decision making

KEY VERSE:

A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

INTRODUCTION

Making decisions is a difficult task facing leaders each day. Each decision is important, because decisions on small matters over a period of time affect your entire life and
ministry.

A decision is a choice. You must find an answer for a real life situation and decide what action you will take. Decisions determine destiny. Decisions made by a leader affect not only his destiny, but the destiny of his followers.

Life is an endless succession of choices and decisions. Making choices is a

responsibility. Refusing to make a decision is in itself a decision. This lesson presents guidelines for making good decisions and a Biblical model for decision-making.

THE BIBLICAL APPROACH

The Biblical approach to decision making is not voting by the people. It is not the

democratic approach or "majority rule.” The problems of this approach are illustrated by the story of Israel at the border of Canaan (see Numbers 13).

Democratic process in the Church produces compromise, legalism, and competition .

Rules of order, motions, and votes limit revelation by the Holy Spirit. Voting often

results in hurt feelings , anger, and church splits . These are not Biblical ways of decisionmaking for the Church. They are methods the Church has adopted from democratic
government styles of the world.

Acts chapter 15 is an excellent example of a Biblical approach to decision-making. This example concerned a problem of Jewish customs. To solve it, the leaders met, prayed, examined the facts, and arrived at an agreement under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

God sets leaders in the Church to make decisions . He gives them wisdom to fulfill this responsibility . When there is a decision to be made, leaders should meet together, pray, examine the facts, and arrive at an agreement under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

GUIDELINES FOR MAKING DECISIONS

Here are some guidelines to help leaders make good decisions:

1. IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM:

What is the issue, problem or question that requires a decision ? Gather all the available information concerning the matter. State the problem in a brief written statement. You cannot make the right decision if you have not identified the right problem .

2. FOLLOW THE MODEL FOR DECISION MAKING:

A model is an example of something. It provides an example for you to follow. A model for decision making provides an example to follow when making decisions. On the next page is a Biblical model that will help you make wise choices within the will of God. Look at the model, then read the explanation which follows:

A BIBLICAL MODEL FOR DECISION MAKING

Identify the problem , question, or life situation for which guidance is sought.


Is it dealt with in Scripture by specific command, general principle or example?


Yes

Column I

Make a decision
based on the Biblical comm and
principle , or exam ples

No

Column II

It is a questionable practice ?

Make a decision based
on the an swer to these questions

Does it glorify God ?

What is your motivation ?

Is it necessary ?

Will it promote spiritual growth ?

Is it an en slav ing ha bit ?

Is it a compromise ?

Will it lead to temptation ?

Does it giv e the ap pearance of evil ?

Does it violate your conscience ?


How will it affect others ?


Pray , then make a decision .


Check the umpire of peace.

Column III

It is a life situation ?

Proceed w ith these steps :

Pray

Study the Scriptures

Listen to the voice of the Holy
Spirit and miraculous guidance
if given


Seek Christian counsel

Analyze the circumstances

Use Biblical keys to direction

Make decision

Check the umpire of peace .






If you do not have peace, continue to seek the Lord using the model.

USING THE MODEL:

The fist step in the decision-making model is to identify the problem, question, or life
situation for which guidance is sought. Next, search the written Word of God to
determine if the problem is dealt with by commandment, example, or general principle.
Guidance for many decisions, especially on issues of right and wrong, is already provided
in the Bible.

Yes:

If the answer is "Yes, the problem is dealt with in the written Word of God" then make the decision based upon this written revelation . (See Column I on the model.) Make sure your decision is in harmony with the Scriptures.

No:

If the answer is "no,” then proceed on with the decision making model under the word

"no.” There are two choices on the model for situations not dealt with in the Bible. You must determine whether the decision to be made involves a questionable practice or a real life situation .

Questionable Practice:

A questionable practice is something not specifically identified in Scripture as either right or wrong. It can involve a choice of entertainment or leisure activities, a habit, food and drinks, or style of dress.

If your decision concerns a questionable practice, ask yourself the questions listed on the model under Column II. After you answer each of these questions and pray, make the decision on the basis of your answers to the questions on the model.

Life Situation:

A life situation is a major choice which can affect your future life. It can include , but is not limited to, decisions regarding marriage, ministry, occupation, residence, choice of churches, etc. For decisions on life situations, use Column III. First pray about the decision. Ask God for His will to be accomplished in your life. Ask Him for wisdom to make the right decision. Ask others to pray with you. Study the Scriptures and claim the promises for direction given in the written Word of God.

Acknowledge supernatural revelation, should God choose to send it. There are many

ways God speaks to men supernaturally to reveal His will and help them make decisions. These include methods such as visions, prophecies, dreams, angels, and an audible voice.

But such supernatural revelation is the exception rather than the rule. One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is to provide guidance:

Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all

truth: for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will shew you things to come. (John 16:13)

The Lord most often guides in this way. If supernatural revelation is given, praise God! But always remember…No dream , vision, prophecy, or other revelation is of God if it conflicts with His written Word .

Another Biblical method which aids decision-making is Christian counsel. Wise counsel from spiritual leaders is important:

Where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there

is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15)

You should also analyze the circumstances affecting the decision and use the Biblical keys for direction given in Proverbs 3:5-6.

3. IDENTIFY VARIOUS OPTIONS:

When you follow the model for decision making, you may discover several different solutions to the problem you face. Identify various options and evaluate each possible solution on the basis of:

The Risks: Balance faith with common sense and reality. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each possible solution. Open and closed doors of circumstances may affect your decision.

The Resources: Do you have the needed resources to implement a certain solution ? No
decision will be better than the people who must carry it out. No decision will be
implemented if you do not have or cannot trust God to provide the necessary financial
resources.

The Results: Which solution will give the greatest results with the least effort? There is no reason to do things the hard way. If there is an easier way to achieve the same results, choose it (unless God should reveal otherwise).

4. SELECT THE BEST SOLUTION:

After you have examined all possible solutions, select the best one. You have asked God to guide you, so believe that He will. You normally should select the solution that is best in terms of risks, resources , and results.

We say "normally,” because sometimes God leads in a way that does not appear best to natural thinking. Remember that God’s ways are not your ways. Sometimes His plan may not seem best to natural reasoning, so be open to this.

There is a certain amount of risk in every decision unless God speaks directly to you

through His Word or divine revelation. Do not be afraid of making the wrong decision. Most wrong decisions can be corrected.

Remember that the Holy Spirit guides your decisions:

A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

When you make a decision and you do not have peace in your spirit, continue to seek the Lord using the steps on the model. Inner peace is one of the ways the Holy Spirit
confirms right decisions. Do not make a final decision until you have the peace of God
confirming your choice.

5. COMMUNICATE THE DECISION:

Let people know the decision you have made. Communicate it clearly before you act upon it.

6. IMPLEMENT THE DECISION:

Once the decision is made, implement it (put it into action) and then go on to something else. You gain nothing by worrying about past decisions. Instead, after a period of time evaluate the decision.

7. EVALUATE THE DECISION:

Evaluate the decision you made. Did it solve the problem? Is it a good decision? Is God blessing it? Do you need to make a change? Most decisions can be changed if
necessary. Many decisions can be improved. Be flexible and open to change as directed by the Holy Spirit.

A FINAL WORD OF CAUTION

Never make a decision when you are angry, upset, or under pressure. Do not make

decisions too quickly. Take time to hear the facts. Most decisions do not have to be

made immediately. It is Satan who pushes and causes panic and hurry. The Holy Spirit leads gently. Never be in a hurry in the decision-making process:

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. (Psalms 27:14)

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. (Psalms 62:5)

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him… (Psalms 37:7)

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall

mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)