If you or your organization is facing a MAJOR decision, it presents an incredible opportunity to depend on God solely. But too often we shrink from the possibility of the better future because we look for the “safe option.” Or worse yet, we let one opinion or option or person dominate decision making because of too much influence and power. Occasionally we get an opportunity to make a major change and think differently about a situation, and that circumstance usually has a short window of availability. The safe option doesn’t necessarily lead to success. As a matter of fact safe options can often lead to stagnation.
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Philippians 1:12
The answer is solely depending on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The opportunity you have in front of you is there to advance the Gospel, period. You MUST trust the process. So many times I see people and organizations short circuit the process because they want too much too fast. They want their way. I love helping people maximize those moments of opportunity and I love it when I see people, businesses, and churches making courageous, careful, calculated, wise decisions. Let’s look at two different examples, David’s appointment as king from the old testament, and Paul’s perseverance in prison in the new testament. Here is how to approach the change process…
Rock Solid Decision Making – Three Words
New Testament (Paul in prison)- “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:14
Overcome Fear – “Use your fear as fuel.” I am not saying be careless, but if there is an opportunity that balances carefulness and courage, it’s most likely a wise option. A wise mentor once told me this, “just enough risk and just enough known results.” Remember when Samuel was looking for a successor for Saul? Take David for example, yes he was the youngest of eight before he was chosen by Samuel, but he measured up to the older brothers. Remember HE KILLED THE LION AND THE BEAR. David had the ‘it factor’. He was both a risk and a known loyal family member.
Measure Choices – “Consider ALL options.” If you have been convinced there is only one option, you have more than likely been deceived and you are trapped and need to break free from this deception. There is great insight and wisdom in asking someone from the ‘outside’ their opinion on your situation. Only considering one option to change is utter FOOLISHNESS and NEVER the wise choice. David was anointed as king, but even David was compared to his older brothers and found to be the Lord’s anointed. But in case you have still have fear in the decision making process, here is a question: ‘What are you really afraid of?’ Boldness without a higher purpose is meaningless. But courage that will lead you closer to the end goal is clearly the best option.
Old Testament (David anointed) – “Then Jesse called Abinidab and Shammah and made them pass before Samuel, And he said neither has the Lord chosen this one…And then he sent and brought David in…’Arise and anoint him for this is he.'” 1 Samuel 16:8-12
Question: Are you really trusting the Lord and weighing all your options?
New Testament (Paul sacrifices for the Gospel) “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.” Philippians 1:25
Take Hostile Ground – “Safe choices lead to stagnation.” Do you want to personally grow? Then look for the greatest opportunity payback, but realize there WILL BE opportunity cost. Paul chose to stay on earth for the MAXIMUM gain of the kingdom, but it cost him greatly! If something is broken and isn’t producing, you need a change. Progress demands it. So many times we keep with a direction even when it is going bad or worse yet, average. Even though it was excruciating, Paul continued on his trajectory. Denial won’t help, excuses won’t help, “just believing,” won’t help either. One more thing, beware of manipulation, ultimatums from people in the decision making process are usually manipulations.
Take Your Time – “Quick choices lead to much regret.” SLOW DOWN! If possible test the outcome before making a decision. Even David had to kill Goliath before he was accepted as king. Rushing into the decision is rarely a good option. Unfortunately we are prone to sacrifice long term gains for the short term feeling. Is there a long term process to make the change? If not, stop dead in your tracks and invent the process BEFORE you start making decisions. MOST SINS we commit are a result of a lack of patience and shortcutting the process. If only Adam and Eve would have walked away from Satan in the garden. SLOW DOWN, measure the progress in terms of the LONGEST TERM GAIN. The cheapest, quickest, easiest choice will probably lead you to a faithless, barren result. Most of us want instant results and instant gratification, or just want the decision behind us.
Old Testament (David defeats Goliath) – “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone…” 1 Samuel 17:50
Question: What is the ‘upside’ and ‘downside’ of your various options?
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27
Clarify Your Purpose – “Wisdom blindness comes from personal agenda.” People and teams have to fight ‘wisdom blindness’ continually. Usually the culprit is pride and hidden agenda. Either way it’s sin. Paul was intensely focused on letting his life point to one outcome…the Gospel. What is your higher calling? What is your team’s goal? What is your family’s clear vision? What is your committee’s ultimatum? What is your church’s ultimate responsibility? Are you carrying out the mission with the utmost carefulness and with the best intentions, or have you let your own desire get in the way of God showing up and doing the miraculous? And by the way, “if there is no disagreement, you might be deceived.”
Clarify Your Prayer Strategy – “Without fasting and prayer, you won’t prevail.” If you are needing to make a major decision and haven’t fasted and prayed. STOP! Not just prayed, but have you let the Holy Spirit fill the lack in your stomach with a dependence of sustaining presence…and answers? Don’t even pass go or collect $200 if you haven’t fasted. Get clear, silence the noise, put aside the internal agenda, get rid of the pride and see beyond your own preferences.
Old Testament (David focused on Goliath) – “His sling was in his hand and he approached the Philistine…” 1 Samuel 17:40
Question: Have you been distracted or deceived in your decision making process?
Trusting God for His wisdom and courage to change…
“…May you be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Colossians 1:9
Josh Conn is a 20 year ministry veteran, father of six, founding executive coach at activate coaching and the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ. 217church meets Sundays at 9:30am & 11:00am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ. Visit www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here.