10 Crucial Considerations for Spiritual Decision Making

Ever been stuck in a decision?  One where perhaps you’re discerning a better and best more than a right or wrong?  Or, perhaps you are making a wise vs. stupid decision, but you aren’t sure which side of wise or stupid you are on.:-) Some decisions clearly do carry a right and wrong choice, as defined by God. And others, if not carefully pursued, can begin innocently and yet end up badly. Also, there there are those that can end up being better or best–decisions we don’t want to miss making.

A question I’ve been mulling around in my head and heart over the past week or two is not (in the best of my Bible reading, praying, discernment and advice seeking over the last couple of weeks) one that has a right or wrong attached to it or is of utmost importance. It’s really only about writing, and how much extra time (beyond my already very busy job) to devote to this hobby I quite enjoy. Beyond books, (which is my main focus in this hobby) I am continually learning that there’s so much more I “could and should” learn to do with blogs, social media, etc. to enhance the ability to get the message of these books out there. But alas, there are only so many hours in a day. I need to decide just how much extra time to spend on these things.

I also have a few Christian friends who are currently making some decisions of a different nature. As a result, I put together a few questions I’m asking myself concerning spiritual decision making. Let me know any others you consider, as well as how these considerations may have helped you make decisions.

One request.  Please stop and read the scriptures, for they are the real meat in this little list. And also remember that our decision making influences others’ lives whom our lives touch..

  1. Will the decision(s) I make (big and small) reflect a true “seeking the kingdom first” heart and attitude—where it is evident to those around me that the kingdom of God  and his righteousness are more important to me than anything else?  (Matthew 6:19-34)
  2. Will my decisions be made only after Bible study, prayer, perhaps fasting, and seeking advice? (James 1:2-8; 2 Timothy 2:15; Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16-17)
  3. Will my decisions help me help more people find a true relationship with God? (1 Cor. 9:19-27, John 4:34-35)
  4. Will my decisions reflect the Godly practice of seeking advice and seeking the good of the whole?   (Romans 12:1-5; Proverbs 15:22)
  5. Will my decisions reflect a “servant heart” and will they help me exercise humility in my life? Currently, does this heart and attitude show itself in tangible ways in my life—ways that help guard me and my family from the temptations of entitlement or self-serving? (Philippians 2:1-11)
  6. If my decisions carry a price tag, will I begin with a “tithing spirit”— a decision to give to God a generous portion FIRST? Does the current way I handle my finances reflect a “first fruits” heart toward God and inspire my family to think first of giving back to God? (Mark 12:29-44)
  7. Will I let things I have already done for God, cause me to think it’s now “my time”? ,,, I deserve this or that? (Luke 17:7-10)
  8. Will my decisions help me be of greater service to the church? Ephesians 5:15-16; John 4:34-35; Luke 8:14-15)
  9. Will my decisions help me be more focused on God’s purposes, or will they add complication and distraction to my already busy life? ( Luke 10:38-42; Luke 8:14-15)
  10. Will my decisions be affected by what others will think of me more than what I can know  is best as defined by God and his word—as far as I can discern? (Mark 12:14)             crucial considerations for sdm

Elephant in the Living Room

The other day I was visiting a friend in Burlington, Vermont, when I noticed a small dragon in her living room.   I inquired as to the friendliness of this creature in the room and whether or not it was supposed to be “out”.   I was told it was actually sunning itself, so yes – it was supposed to be there. I guess I was relieved – and tried to find solace in the pure enjoyment this dragon displayed while basking in the sunlight.

However, often critters can make there way into our living rooms and wreak havoc – while we ignore them, tiptoe around them or pretend they are not there.    I am speaking of the proverbial “elephant in the living room”.  (Here is a concise definition I took from Wikipedia. “Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.[1] It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.)

Likely, we have had elephants tiptoe into our living rooms at one time or another.  There may even be one currently residing there.

While I think elephants are amazing creatures – I don’t want one in my living room.  Yet, at times I have allowed them to be there out of fear of speaking honestly.  Several scriptures have helped me tremendously that I refer to as my “elephant busters” – (emphasis added)   They are:  Ephes. 4:15-16
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. [16] From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

John 8:31-32
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. [32] Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Mark 12:14
They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

No matter how difficult, I pray to always be honest and to not let creatures take residence in my living room, or any rooms of my heart.

If they move in and we ignore them, they will destroy our living rooms and leave a room full of elephant d.u.n.g.  In order to avoid the refuse there are several keys to be aware of.  They are: Discernment, Understanding, “Niceness” and Graciousness.  While speaking honestly, it is important to discern the best ways – including timing to approach a difficult situation.  It is also important to understand that there may be pieces missing in our understanding.  A tone of gentleness and kindness (or niceness) is also something we are instructed by God to practice.  It is also of utmost important to remember that God is a God of grace and mercy.   While he is just, he is also merciful – a God of grace and truth.  I desperately need his wisdom, power and guidance as I go through life.  May we all find the integrity, unity, freedom and love that truth produces.