Common Decision-Making Practices
When it comes to decision-making, it is so easy for leaders to find themselves on one side of the spectrum or the other:
feelings or instinct ———————— rigorous cost analysis or risk analysis
On the one hand we might say we want to leave room for the Holy Spirit to lead us and on the other hand we cite references like Luke 14:28-32 about counting the cost. What I have so often found is that people at both sides of the spectrum are often more guided by personality or circumstances than by doctrine.
We need a better standard for making decisions because . . .
- Feelings can be unreliable.
- A rigid analysis can be stifling.
Decisions That Line Up with God & His Purposes
Let’s look at the passage referenced above, Luke 14:28-32, about counting the cost.
The verse before this passage: “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Lk. 14:27)
The verse after this passage: “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Lk.14:33)
These verses about counting the cost are in the context of fully following Christ … discerning what it will take to follow Him and then pursuing it to the abandonment of what stands in the way. Making decisions therefore needs to be about lining up with the Lord and His purposes, not our personalities or circumstances. Following are a number of articles to read about lining up with God:
How does cost analysis factor into making decisions?
Finances, people resources, and required time and energy weighed against the benefits does have a place in decision-making but should not be the ultimate criteria. In the end we must ask: Will it help us progress toward God’s purposes? Then we must consider where faith enters into the equation.
How does risk analysis figure in?
Most people would rather avoid conflict and failure. The example in Luke 14 about the king considering whether he can win a battle with his available resources is about avoiding defeat. But, we must be real in this assessment. Is our concern about pleasing people or God? … about being comfortable or conforming to Him? … about us looking good or honoring and glorifying God?
What place do feelings or instincts have in making decisions?
Sometimes the Holy Spirit prompts us in the way we should go. Sometimes we sense a peace or lack thereof about a decision. While God does work in these ways, we can run into trouble if we rely on our feelings or instincts as the primary standard for making decisions.
To Read: Role of Feelings or Instinct
In the next post we will look at some specific questions to ask to help us know if we are lining up with God and His purposes. You can subscribe to receive e-mail updates of new posts.