I have the good fortune (misfortune?) of being located in a highly competitive congressional district right in the midst of election season. Every day I am bombarded with material trying to influence my decisions in the voter’s booth.
This has all made me ponder more closely the concept and impact of decisions. And I’ve become convinced that the way we approach decision-making in our lives is one of the most powerful means that God can use to form us.
Let me explain.
Each and every day, every one of us makes thousands of decisions. Thousands.
But outside of the occasional major life choice, we’re often barely conscious we’re making so many decisions. In other words, apart from the big stuff, the decisions we make are sort of like white noise in the background of our lives.
Yet many of the decisions we make—whether seemingly small or big—help us become either more like Jesus or less like Jesus.
In the last few weeks before the fall semester started, as we pondered our options in light of the impending derecognition, we faced a big decision: Do we choose to make life and ministry easier and adjust our requirements to align with the CSU system’s new policy? Or do we continue to have leaders sign our doctrinal statement and face the tough consequences?
Instead of just allowing pragmatism to win, we asked ourselves, “What decision is more faithful? And what decision will help us continue to develop staff and students who are more like Jesus?”
We paused. We prayed. And we were convicted that we could not comply with the new policy because doing so would mean lying. We couldn’t pretend we weren’t requiring our leaders to be Christians when we know that Jesus requires his kingdom leaders to be committed followers.
One decision, and a clear opportunity to move toward or away from Jesus.
On a much smaller scale, I’m faced with the same opportunity every day. Do I decide to turn on the TV and numb my brain every time I’m tired? Or do I decide to spend a moment being present to the Lord and inviting him to refresh me?
Do I buy the less expensive product that was manufactured in a manner that exploits the planet and other people? Or do I spend a little more on something that I know was produced ethically?
Three Steps for Making Wise Decisions
I have found three simple steps helpful in guiding me to make better use of decisions and the growth they can bring.
Pause. When you know you’re faced with a decision, take just a minute and slow down. Create space.
Reflect. What potential does this decision have to form me to become more like Jesus or less like Jesus?
Respond faithfully by moving toward Jesus.
It’s true—these steps will definitely complicate your life! But imagine the potential and impact of each of us taking a step back and making more thoughtful decisions—decisions that shape us more closely into the image of Jesus.
What strategies have you found helpful for good decision-making?
Matt Meyer has been on staff with InterVarsity since 2006 and now works as an Area Director, serving campuses on the coast just north of Los Angeles. He is married to Bekah, who is also on staff. Matt blogs irregularly at kingdomintersect.wordpress.com.
For more help on making decisions that help us become like Jesus, check out these resources: