Friday, June 05, 2009

Making Decisions

Recently I came across a book by pastor Kevin DeYoung that I just love. It's called Just Do Something or How to Make A Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing In The Sky, Etc. Isn't that great title? It's a short, powerful read (I read it in one sitting on a lazy spring afternoon) but it gives great advice. So, I ordered several copies of it and it is my gift to grads this spring. Oh, how I wish someone had handed a book like that to me at a pivotal moment like that in my life. But you know what? I'm still in those pivotal moments! I'm making decisions all the time about my kids' schooling, ministry opportunities, purchases, friendships, involvements, and any number of things. Additionally, I'm counseling my teenagers regarding how to make wise decisions and be confident that they're acting according to God's will. I would write a well-written, thoughtful review of this book, but that's already been done by Tim Challies here. I encourage you to go read the review, and if you get a chance, pick up the book.

This morning during my quiet time I happened upon something along these same lines that I wanted to share today. This is from John MacArthur's excellent book Truth Endures, which is a collection of his sermons from the past 40 years of his ministry. I highly enjoy this book. The sermon I read today was entitled "Making the Hard Decisions Easy." The sermon is found in its entirety here. (Isn't it amazing that such resources are available to us with just the click of a mouse? How I appreciate such ministries!) Here are his points for helping make decisions in a practical, God-honoring way. As he puts it, the ease or "E's" of making decisions:

  • Expedience Will it be spiritually profitable? 1 Cor. 6:12 (Will my doing this enhance my spiritual life? Will it cultivate godliness?)
  • Edification Will it build me up? 1 Cor. 10:23 (Will it strengthen me? Will it move me toward Christlikeness and toward greater spiritual maturity?)
  • Excess Will it slow me down in the race? Heb. 12:1 (MacArthur says, "There are lots of types of bulk: legalism, ceremonialism, and needless waste of time suck your energy and foul up your priorities. So you need to ask yourself a simple question, 'Will it slow me down in the spiritual race: Anything that impinges my effectiveness in serving Christ I won't do.")
  • Enslavement Will it bring me into bondage? 1 Cor. 6:12 ("We should never allow a non-moral thing to become our master.")
  • Equivocation Will it hypocritically cover my sin? 1 Pet. 2:16 ("In other words, don't put a veil over your evil intent, be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, Is this really something that benefits me spiritually and is for my spiritual profit?... Or am I cloaking over my evil desire?")
  • Encroachment Will it violate the Lordship of Christ in my life? Rom. 14 ("Ask yourself, Is this something I believe the Lord would want?... Don't train yourself to violate your conscience. Ask yourself the question: Will this violate my understanding of the lordship of Christ?)
  • Example Will it help other Christians by its example? 1 Cor. 8:9-11
  • Evangelism Will it lead others to Christ? (Will they see a difference in my life?)
  • Emulation Will it be consistent with Christ's likeness? 1 John 2:6 (Would Jesus do it?)
  • Exaltation Will it glorify God? 1 Cor. 10:31 (Will what I do exalt God? Will this lift up His holy name? Will this honor Him? Will this adorn the doctrine of God in my life? Will hHe be glorified and honored and praised as a result of this?)
We all have many decisions to make every day. Even every hour! These principles and books have helped me as I continue to endeavor to make each decision- big or small- honor God. It is so freeing! It is a journey, and He is so good. I hope these help you if you have some decisions to make in your life, or if someone you know is at a crossroads. God is so faithful to guide us.


Linda said...

Thanks so much for sharing this Cyndi. I am one of those people who agonize over big decisions - trying desperately to know for SURE if it is God's will.
These guidelines are so practical and good.
How is everything? I've missed you but know that your time is well spent with all that you have going on with the family.
Blessings to you Cyndi.

Jill said...

I bought this book a few weeks ago and LOVED it!! I, too, wish I'd had it many moons ago. But, it really was freeing to read and brought so many thought-provoking ideas up.

Thanks for sharing all of the great resources you find!

Jessica said...

Kevin De Young spoke at the NEXT conference I went to a couple of weeks ago. The session was for men, but I think there is some important points in there for everyone. His message can be found at