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

Editorial Assistant

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.

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98 Comments

  1. What an encouraging message!

    Reply
  2. What a beautiful account of the push and pull of identifying God’s voice in a believers
    decision making process !
    I loved your openness, about the struggles!.
    Thank you for sharing !

    Reply
  3. Very insightful and loved the terminologies, truth, and truths!

    Reply
  4. Thank you for this film strip (as it were) and the story about Dan. Wonderful information, maps, ….

    Reply
  5. Oh wow! Thank you, God for Dan’s testimony. It was so timely; I am sitting here on my bed on the last day of ‘2022 . I just posted a prayer request and decided to explore the blog for my first time. The request was concerning job transition. I did not go into detail, but I can almost copy word to word and replace Dan’s story with mine however within my job context as a teacher. I have stood up for what I believed was right which I attribute to my over 20 years in BSF and I got let go of my job indirectly for that.
    I have seen Gods miraculous provision in my transition as I have school going children and continue to pray for that.
    But what he shared has just hit me like a ton of bricks and God speaking to me on how I need to behave during this transition.
    “Am I making the decision because I want money, a title (that was my latest one) or do I want Gods will! BAM! God help me to release trying to control and I submit to the scripture quoted
    “I do not know what to do but my eyes are on you 2 Chronicles 20:12
    Thank you for sharing

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    • Winnie- we are praying! thank you for sharing

      Reply
  6. A modern Christ-led man living by God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation. God, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He changes not and we can always trust Him. Dan’s story is an inspiration for me, a retired woman, still in the same house after 46 years. What can I do for God in my neighborhood and my circle of friends and acquaintances? Read the Word, Pray and trust God to show me in His way and in His time.

    Reply
  7. I really needed this for today.

    Reply
  8. Thank you for this blog as Dan’s situation and circumstances plus trusting in God resonated with me. I was in a similar situation on the work front, amazing how God is using this blog to confirm His hand on my life, both work and personal.

    Reply
  9. Dan’s words were most encouraging. I know He is always with me and that I can always trust His ways. This year’s Kingdom Divided lessons have served to strengthen my faith and deeper trust in where He leads me. He is my Lord and Savior and I pray I will always seek Him to lead on the path He has set before me. To God be all the glory and praise. 🙏🏻

    Reply
  10. I was blessed to have Dan as my teacher leader in São Paulo. God had used him to eucourage me for many many times throught lessons and insights regarding his personnal and professional life. His family is a testimony of dedication and service to the Lord.

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    • I’m encouraged by Dan’s reliance on God and His Word, even in making decisions at work.
      I have prayed like King Jehoshaphat’s prayer when things looked impossible. And even now as in faced with major decisions as we cross into 2023, my eyes are on God

      Reply
  11. Dan;s story pointed very strongly to “Put God First”!! Thank you, Dan.

    Reply

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