These are just a few recent examples of the kinds of important decisions (certain unnamed) 13-year-olds face. Sometimes, especially when s/he’s tired, s/he’ll waffle back and forth between his/her options. This will continue until one or both of his/her exasperated parents cries, “Just make a decision already!”
And while my junior high days are long past (thank you Jesus), I must admit I still have my own issues when it comes to decision making. In addition to the daily trivial matters, decisions now come in Adult sizes. Things like Careers and Kids and Major Purchases. NBD.
So I’ve compiled a list of five questions to ask when facing a significant decision. Perhaps they’ll be helpful to you too. They’re a kind of “checks and balances,” if you will, to keep you from making an unbalanced decision. (You can think of them as fingers on a hand. Or points on a star. Or whatever helps you remember them.)
1—What does GOD’S WORD have to say about it?
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105, NLT)
It helps to know God’s Word. Is this decision specifically addressed in Scripture? If not, are there some general principles that might apply to it?
2—What impressions am I sensing in PRAYER?
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. (James 1:5a, NLT)
Have you prayed about it? Are you sensing any promptings from the Holy Spirit? As sheep spend time with the Shepherd they come to know Him and recognize His voice (John 10:3-4). Keep in mind that God will never contradict what He has already revealed in His Word.
3—What are the DESIRES of my heart?
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:4, NLT)
The world says, “Follow your heart.” God says, “Follow Me and let ME give you the desires of your heart.” When your heart is fully surrendered to Him, He will mold it to reflect His heart. I like the way 1 Peter 4:2 (NLT) puts it: “You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.”
4—What WISE COUNSEL have I received?
So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers. (Proverbs 24:6, NLT)
The key word here is “wise!” Look for someone who has walked with God and has a track record with Him. A person who has gone through a similar situation successfully or has learned from their mistakes can also give wise counsel. Other good choices are spiritual leaders, people who know us well, and professional counselors.
5—What are the CIRCUMSTANCES (Open and Closed Doors)?
When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. (2 Corinthians 2:12, NLT)
I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. (Romans 1:13, NLT)
In 2 Corinthians 2 we see an example of an open door, and in Romans 1, a closed door. While we don’t base our decisions solely on circumstances, God will use them to guide us and/or redirect us.
Let’s face it, whether you’re 13 or 30 (or a certain unnamed age like myself), decision making can be difficult. The good news is that our God walks with us through all of life’s crossroads. He can be fully trusted to direct our hearts, answer our prayers, and open and shut the right doors to lead us safely to His will.