How to Test Your Decisions
Three Questions to Ask Yourself When Facing Hard Choices
By Bethany Lockett — Editorial Assistant
Dan Lister faced an impossible situation. His decision might even cost him his job.
Because of a mistake made by the global business unit he worked for, Dan had to choose between pleasing his superiors and protecting his employees. No matter what he did, he would face opposition. In the end, he felt that his employees were depending on him and chose to stand alone as a dissenting voice to leadership. After prayer and discernment, he felt it was what God had called him to do.
A short time later the company restructured and Dan was not retained.
Despite the personal risk, Dan remains confident in his decision. Drawing from his years in BSF, he anchors his work in Proverbs 29:25: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”
But how could Dan discern God’s voice? Where did he find his confidence?
Many of us struggle to make choices that honor God amid the expectations of work, family, or culture. We want to put God first, but we fear losing our jobs. We want to act with integrity, but we fear disappointing our boss. We want to speak boldly, but we desire approval from our co-workers.
For Dan, the confidence to stand for God under pressure is built on years of intentional Bible study and faithful Christian community.
When faced with a challenge, Dan asks a few simple questions.
Where do I look for security?
Early in his career, Dan read an article that said men in the workplace believe they are only three mistakes away from getting fired. He could relate. He constantly worried, “if I mess up, I’m gone.”
“I got stressed out pretty early in my career because I had two children and a wife to support,” he shared.
He was trying to do everything — from his job to his marriage and parenting — in his own strength. Then Dan’s wife, Samantha, convinced him to try BSF. Studying Romans, Dan discovered a life-changing truth.
“It’s not Christ plus anything. It’s just Christ”
Later, when Dan lost his job as the leader of that global business unit, he found confidence in the truths God had revealed years earlier.
“It’s not Christ plus anything.
It’s just Christ.”
“God impressed upon me, ‘I’ve put you here for a time. I’ve got you. You’re not in control of this, I am.’”
Dan’s security did not come from his own strength, but from God’s sovereignty. During a time of complete dependance on the Lord when he was without a job, Dan’s family of six watched God provide in unexpected ways. Ultimately, God opened a job opportunity in Dan’s home state of Texas.
Today, when he reflects on that time of transition, He knows God used that season to strengthen his faith. When he asks, “where do I find security?” the answer is rooted in God’s promises.
Where do I turn for guidance?
In the business world, Dan grew comfortable making tough decisions. As a husband and a father, he felt confident in his role. But when the two worlds collided, Dan struggled for wisdom.
When his three daughters were young, Dan’s employer asked him to move to San Paulo, Brazil. When he toured the city, the culture felt foreign, and his first impression was marked by concrete walls and barbed-wire fences. “I thought, no, I’m not bringing my wife and little girls down here.”
Ignoring God’s guidance and godly counsel, Dan instead moved his family to Cleveland, Ohio. Though they settled into a comfortable life, Dan felt unsettled as he continued to pray for God’s will in his life. He lacked a sense of peace.
After several months, Dan finally surrendered to God’s will and admitted to Samantha that he thought they should move to Brazil. He was shocked when she simply replied, “I know.” God impressed on Dan that he was not any safer in Cleveland than he would be in Sao Paulo if he was not in the will of God.
Together, Dan and Samantha discovered that seeking God’s guidance may feel risky, but the reward outweighed their fear. During their time in Brazil, God graciously allowed them to teach the evening men and women’s classes which provided a special time in their marriage and drew their family together. And the Lord prepared them for difficult seasons to come.
“God impressed upon me:
I’ve put you here for a time.
I’ve got you.
You’re not in control of this.”
Later, when Dan considered moving the family to Texas, he “tested” whether his decision was from God or himself by asking, “Am I making this decision because I want more money? Am I making this decision because I want a job title? Am I making this decision because I want to move back to Texas? Or am I following God’s direction?”
Dan knew that using Christian language can justify almost any decision.
“We can take almost any decision and make it look right. We know the language and we know what to say, ‘I prayed about it and God’s going to use me here.’ You can convince almost anyone around you that what you’re doing is God’s will. Who’s going to argue with that?”
Truly seeking God’s guidance requires faith, and honesty, and sacrifice. The risk is worth the reward.
What am I holding back from God?
Finding the courage to make godly decisions in a world that rejects absolute truth is challenging. Throughout his career, Dan has discovered that he cannot serve God and the world. He says, “Don’t be two people. There’s not ‘Work Dan’ and ‘Church Dan,’ there’s Dan.”
Through our study of People of Promise: Kingdom Divided, we read about generations of leaders. Along the way, God provided prophets to offer wise counsel and deliver His Word. Those who listened to God experienced the blessing of His wisdom. Those who ignored His Word are remembered as weak and selfish rulers. We may not live in the time of kings and prophets, but we also have a choice. Where will we find our security? Will we test our decisions? Will we surrender every area of our lives to God?
Truly seeking God’s guidance requires faith and sacrifice.
When we seemingly stand alone in our faith, God is right beside us. Like Dan, we can seek God in prayer, echoing the words of King Jehoshaphat:
“… We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
Bethany Lockett is an editorial assistant at Bible Study Fellowship Headquarters. She is a third generation BSF-er and native Texan. She joined BSF after graduating from Wheaton College where she studied spiritual discipleship in a digital world.
Submit a Comment
Our BSF staff approves each comment to maintain privacy and security. It may take 24-48 hours for your comment to be posted. Be sure to check back for replies from the author or other BSF members!