As men, we must begin to cultivate the ability to make good decisions that have long-term effects rather quickly. As leaders we must have the ability to do this well. Leaders often make decisions on the fly, in the heat of the moment, and each decision is expected to be beneficial for the good of the organization or other people.
Here are some personal rules that I use—and more than likely have learned from other people—for making decisions (big or small):
1. Pray about it.
I make sure that every BIG decision is always taken before the Lord in a humble manner. I pray that God would reveal his will to me through his Scripture, through wise counsel, and through the ability to make a wise decision.
2. What does Scripture say?
I always ask this question second. What does the Bible say about this issue? Make sure to avoid proof texting here or choosing a random Bible verse. We must interpret Scripture with Scripture, and we must look at a topic from Genesis to Revelation to see what the entire counsel of God’s Word says about it. The next step is crucial every time and is especially beneficial when dealing with issues the Bible does not directly address.
3. Seek wise counsel.
Ask the advice of those in your life that are wise. Make sure to ask those who won’t just tell you what you want to hear. Remember, there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14), and that is what we are all about here… making decisions with wisdom.
4. What are your desires?
Many people often downplay this last point, but I want to highlight this last point as the icing on the cake when making decisions. Desires, if righteous, are God given. We must not turn away from our desires as mystical or play off our desire with the thought of God’s will not being our own. Delight yourself in Yahweh, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
5. Make your decision and go enjoy God
Finally, we must always remember that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism, letter A). Whatever we decide to do with our life must be seen under the umbrella of this glorious truth. When we understand this truth, we might not know exactly what God wants us to do regarding a major or a career, or a job or a move, but we will know what the entire aim of our life is and always will be with absolute certainty.
6. Stand bold in your decision; correct course (or repent) where needed.
Remember, we don’t want to be wishy-washy decision-makers and use the Holy Spirit like he is some sort of fairy tale character speaking directly to us. I never trust those types of guys. Let us be men who make well-informed, quick, and wise decisions for the glory of God and the benefit of our families, churches, and leadership platforms.
And just a few words about how to think, act, and feel after a decision is made.
Once a decision is made: 1) Go with it. Don’t waffle just because you’re unsure. If it proves to be a bad decision, and you can turn from it, then turn from it. Otherwise, go with it. 2) This is connected with the first point—accept the consequences of your decisions one way or the other. This doesn’t mean brushing off repercussions, it means taking them seriously, but taking them for yourself. If you made the decision, then you take the responsibility for the consequences, whether it is disaster or great reward. “Taking it like a man” means not letting those under your leadership take the heat you should bear. If you have people under you, your leadership becomes valuable to them when it protects them from negative consequences. That’s why the high school employee always gets his manager when a customer is angry. The manager is protecting his employees by saying “This is my responsibility.” And err on the side of taking more responsibility rather than less. You can even selflessly lead by taking more than your share. And don’t tell a soul. 3) Trust God and be at peace. Trust that he is sovereign over your life, and may have something in store for you other than what you can see or imagine for yourself. And trust that God’s love is redeeming, turning even your bad and sinful decisions for good.
And when we fail, as we will soon enough, let us repent quickly, learn from our poor decisions, and teach others not to make the same ones. As time moves away from that stupid decision we made, let us learn to teach others not to do the same. And ultimately, let us rest in his glorious sovereignty. For there we will find our strength.
BIO: Greg serves as an elder and family ministries pastor at Foothills Church in Knoxville, TN. He is the author of Reformational Manhood: Creating a Culture of Gospel-Centered Warriors and is the lead editor of CBMW Manual. Greg received a M.Div. in Biblical and Theological Studies from SBTS and a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Boyce College.
He is married to the lovely Grace and is the father of Cora and Iver. An outdoor, CrossFit, and basketball enthusiast, he sleeps outside as often as he can.
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