Making Decisions Biblically

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Pulling your hair or losing sleep over a tough decision? This sharing might help you out. Recently, I had to make a decision and during my devotional time, I was greatly impressed by the disciple’s method in Acts 1:20-26. They had to decide whom to replace Judas after his suicide. Let’s break down their actions step by step and see what we can learn.

1. What is the Decision?

Acts 1:20
“For it is written in the Book of Psalms… ‘Let another take his office.'”

As I mentioned, the decision was whom to replace Judas with. You would need to clarify in this first step what your decision is specifically about.

2. Criteria for Selection

Acts 1:21-22
So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us-one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”

Next, the disciples came up with a list of criteria:

  • He must be a male.
  • He must be present with the group from Jesus’ baptism till ascension.

Similarly, you need to come out a list of criteria. I like to come out with two types of criteria:

  • Necessary criteria: If a selection does not meet this criteria, it is immediately rejected.
  • Optional criteria: Only a preference, all else being equal.

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s hard to come to any decision. Remember what the Cheshire Cat told Alice when she wanted to find a way home.

Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where –”
Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

3. Candidates who Meet the Criteria

Acts 1:23
And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias.

Two men met the criteria: Justus and Matthias.

Prayerfully consider all options that meet your criteria and write it down.

4. Pray for God to Reveal His Choice

Acts 1:24
And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen…”

Now is the time for prayer! Ask God to show his choice to you as he alone knows what is in the candidate’s heart. We can assume that God has made a choice in his wisdom. Note that this is very different from asking God to bless whatever your decision is. We let God reveal his choice to us.

As missionary Jim Elliot once pointed out:

“God always gives his best to those who leave the choice with him”

5. Wait on God to Reveal Through the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:26
And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

In the past, the disciples cast lots to make a decision. This could mean writing the candidate’s names on a piece of paper and randomly picking them out of a container. Is this still applicable today? Corporately, yes but individually, no.

  • Corporately: This would be voting in a group setting. We still need to ask God for wisdom in making a decision. Some have even recommended that only a high percentage agreement (e.g. at least 75%) would be accepted since the Holy Spirit must speak clearly to everyone.
  • Individually: A person does not need to cast lots. That was before the Holy Spirit was given. However, one should ask close family, friends or associates for advice in their decision.

Remember: The responsibility for showing us the answer is on God, not us. We need to trust he will reveal his answer and if necessary, wait on him however long it takes. 

Remember from now on you do not make your own decisions. You find out God’s decisions and make them yours.

– Derek Prince 

May you make better decisions in the future.

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