5 Questions to Ask Before Making a Major Decision
We all encounter seasons of life that require us to make significant and potentially life-changing decisions. These decisions are commonly connected to things such as marriage, career changes, and children, but they can come in a variety of ways. What qualifies as a major decision will be viewed differently by each individual, but there are some commonalities associated with these decisions. There is usually some degree of difficulty involved in making the decision, it is not something you decide quickly, and, more often than not, there will be some anxiety and worry that accompanies making this decision. Whatever qualifies as a major decision to you, be sure to ask yourself these five questions before making it.
Have you prayed? Jesus modeled this for His followers. When facing a major decision or life-changing event, Jesus made sure to carve out time to spend praying about it. When considering who He would pick to be His disciples, He spent all night in prayer. All night! If Jesus felt as if He needed to pray so fervently and earnestly before making a decision, how much more do we? Often we can make a decision with little to no prayer and expect God to make sure it goes exactly the way we planned and envisioned it. Not exactly what we find in the Bible. But going to prayer concerning a major decision we have to make doesn’t mean we will receive direct and clear guidance. We might and we might not. But we are always helped by going to prayer concerning a decision—whether we get clear direction or not. Prayer postures our hearts to receive anything the Lord would desire to speak to us concerning our decision, puts us in the proper frame of mind to be making major decisions, and reminds us of what is really most important—our relationship with the Lord. When we are confident we have prayed for wisdom and listened for the Lord’s voice, we should feel free to make our decision.
Have you considered the counsel of others? Whether or not we feel comfortable admitting it, there are areas of life and issues that we struggle to understand. You could say that we could be considered ‘under-qualified’ when it comes to making decisions in those areas. This doesn’t mean we are unintelligent or foolish, but rather that our giftings and strengths are better used in another arena. Especially when we have to make a decision regarding an issue that we do not have particular wisdom about, we would be wise to humbly ask the counsel and advice of those who are “in the know.” Proverbs 15:22 teaches us that the likelihood of plans (and decisions) going well are increased when we consider the counsel of others. In and of ourselves, we are ill-equipped to handle everything life throws at us. But with the help of family, your brothers and sisters in the Lord, and leaders in whom you trust, you can be better prepared to make wise and biblical decisions.
Have you thought about how your decision will impact your role and commitment to the local church? One thing is clear as you read the Book of Acts and witness the lives of the early Christians—church mattered! It seems as if their life and vitality came through their role and commitment to the local church. This is not saying that work, family, and other things are unimportant and we should refrain from committing to them (which is an extremely foolish notion), but that among the commitments we find in our lives, church should be near the top of the list. The local church is where we are encouraged and encourage others. It guides our Christian lives and is how the Kingdom of God advances. I have seen (tragically) the following scenario played out seemingly countless times. Someone meets Jesus (or is in the process of meeting Jesus) but refrains from becoming committed to a local church. They stay on the outskirts, refuse to offer their time and lives in ministry, and come on Sundays to simply consume. It’s only a matter of time before that person falls away. Understanding how important the local church is should shape how we make decisions. How will making a certain decision impact our relationship to the local church? If moving from one area to another, is there a good local church that you can be a part of? Church is that important and should be thought of when making decisions.
Have you thought about the future, consequences that may arise, and eternity? When making decisions, sometimes it proves difficult to think of anything other than “now.” But only thinking of now leads a lot of people to make foolish decisions. What is good for us now may not be good for us in the future. What feels good now may negatively impact our eternity. We should think through our decisions with eternity in mind. We also need to consider the consequences—and be prepared to face them—if a decision we make doesn’t work out. When we critically think through decisions like this, we increase the chances of making a wise decision for ourselves and our families.
Are you in unity with who you need to be in unity with? If you are married, it is extremely important that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to making decisions. It doesn’t mean you have to agree about everything, but there does need to be some sort of healthy understanding when it comes to making major decisions. As parents, it is not wise to let children make decisions, but we should think of how certain decisions will impact them. They should maybe even have some input regarding some issues. When you are in unity with your spouse and family regarding a major decision, this honors God, your spouse and family, and better prepares you for the impact that decision will have on your lives.