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Which Source?


Decision-making is as old as time itself. In the Old Testament, the first book, Genesis, Adam and Eve were given the first ultimatum. They were told to eat from every tree in the Garden of Eden, except for one. They were warned that the day they ate from that tree, they would surely die. So we see that from the start, every decision has a consequence, and this is what makes decision-making so ominous at times. We may think, “If I do this, I’ll get that. If I don’t do this, this may happen. For example, if I need a place to live, I need to get a job so I can afford to rent an apartment or buy a house. If I get a job, I will likely be able to afford one or the other depending on the salary I am offered. If I don’t get a job, I won’t be able to afford much of an apartment because I will have to depend on someone else to take care of me or I will have to go on welfare. Whatever happens to me, I will have to arrive at some sort of decision because obviously, I need a place to live.


One thing I have discovered when having to make any kind of major decision, is that the process involves many different factors. I have often made lists to see if the good outweighs the bad. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Interestingly, when I was still single and dating someone, I would do this. I would list what I liked about him and then I’d list what I didn’t like about him. But I never came to any conclusion until I had really prayed about it. Then a different dynamic would unfold. Prayer would bring God into the situation and pretty soon I would have an answer as long as I was listening and willing to do what God was impressing me to do. This is the walk of faith that Christians talk about. Many times answers from God come through specific Scripture passages. Sometimes they come by revelation through another prayer-filled believer, who is also listening to God. Other times God will speak in a still small voice, but His voice will be unmistakable because it will also line up with His Word. God is never limited in how He speaks to us; it is enough for us to know that He will answer us.


But sometimes we will hear conflicting messages about what we should do. This is especially true when we’ve been asking many different people what we should do. Many times our loyalties will be divided. For instance, two different friends may ask us to go out with them on the same night. We don’t want either friend to feel rejected, so we must come up with an answer that is honest and yet tactful. But we may risk losing a friendship! Or family members may each have a special dinner on the same night. In our case, my husband’s family would want us to come for Christmas dinner every year, yet my sister’s family would have already invited us to their place. Sometimes, not knowing what else to do, we would go to both places just to please everybody. Other years we decided to have Christmas in the country to avoid this stress-filled conflict. When other people are involved, especially loved ones and dear friends, decision-making can send us into a similar state as Hamlet — we feel like we’re going to go mad! This is when we need to discern the source and motivation of the other voices we hear. And we need to do a lot of praying.


There is another voice we need to be especially aware of, and that is the deceptive, cunning and evil voice of Satan. It sounds right, but is full of deadly poison. Satan likes to stir up trouble and lead us down the wrong path, so when he sees us in a state of indecision, he will take full advantage of it. If we are not relying on God by praying and reading His Word, which equips us for all decisions we need to make, Satan will fill our minds with confusion to try and keep us distracted as much as possible from any thoughts of consulting God. Generally, when we feel agitated, lose sleep and continue in an anxious state, God is no longer in our decision-making process. In fact, if we do not have peace in our hearts about a decision, then we know this is not from God.


On the other hand, God uses the times when we are in a state of decision-making, to draw us closer to Himself. If we truly don’t know which way to turn, God hopes that the first thing we will do is turn to Him. He already has the answers and He knows what the best decision is for us. We can rest confidently that our times and our lives are in His capable Hands. Someone reading this may wonder, “But what about those many times, we may not hear from Him?” You may be in a situation right now where an important decision needs to be made and you have prayed and prayed, yet still you are not hearing from God. You think you know what to do, but still, you want to be sure you are making the right decision. Throughout the rest of this book, we will be dealing with this very issue, among many others, and we’ll start with discussing what might be considered some pretty major issues most of us will have to deal with at one time or another.

The Act of Decision-Making