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. Please add listening feature

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    • Dear Wendy – we would love to add a listening feature! We don’t have those capabilities on the blog yet but hope to explore that option

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  2. I thoroughly enjoyed Dan & Samantha’s testimony of encouragement! It’s very helpful to know a way to evaluate our thoughts and decisions against God’s word, especially when we don’t hear his Spirit guiding us, or we’re battling that inner leading.

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  3. God is all that I need! Thank you for reminding, the message is so needed in my life at a time when I am at a crossroads. Waiting for God to direct me is a test of patience and fortitude. Blessings to you !

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  4. It’s always encouraging to see people loving the LORD God most of all. Thank you for a well-written story of God’s goodness to Dan, Samantha and their family.

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  5. Thank you o sharing .It has given me clarity on where do I find my security.Be blessed

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  6. Praise the Lord , for He knows everything, yes… need to seek God for everything , for He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords…Amen

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  7. God is in control. He is a God of provision. What He calls us to do, He will equip us to do. I am retired and often find myself lost in my new status, lost and confused about what I can do for God’s kingdom, but He will provide directions and answers. If we seek Him, we will find Him.

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  8. I am so grateful to God for this arricle. Reminded me of when we are called by God to say “yes” to Him it means to reliquish the desires of our hearts to Him. We see dfficulties and impossibilities but God sees opportunities of knowing Him and His great plans for us. He wants us to see through His eyes and feel though His heart so that moment by moment we will depend on Him wholeheartedly.

    We see this in the study of the People of Promise: Kingdom Divided, where Kings after Kings know God but did not obey God completely and wholeheartedly. Obedience is not once and for all time. It’s a day by day, moment by moment choice to obey God. It matters because we think we know better but definitely not.

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    • Yes God knows best

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  9. Beautifully written, powerfully received….
    Thank you for this message. It’s so relevant and needed.

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    • I joined bsf in year 2020 , was recommended by a friend who work at our Trinity Methodist church,during our first lockdown, because of Covid, and i am glad that i joined bsf and later i found it very interesting , the following year 2021 i let my family and our 2 sons to join bsf till now …thanks to God for He is our Almighty and everlasting father, the Prince of peace.

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  10. As for me, taking the hard decision is always because I had to choice the obedience of God’s Word ; and all things later are to give me “LIFE TO FULL” as Jesus told in JOHN 10:10. May all my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ be encouraged!

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    • Thanking God for you to share this article with us , to let us assured who we can depend on.

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  11. How timely! We face this right now in our church. Do we embrace the stranger? or distance ourselves.

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  12. I’m enjoying my journey in this study. It give me the desired to want to know more and more of what & how I can apply in my life as I battled with multiple myeloma. The fear and the unknowns can at times pulled me away from trusting and putting my faith in my Lord GOD.

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    • I will hold on to God as long as I shall live in this world , for He has given His word ,that He will take care of us till age.
      Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously and He will give you anything you need.
      Matthew 6.33 NLT

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  13. Simply………….”AMEN”

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  14. Amigo e irmão!
    Com muita alegria soube deste trabalho incrível!
    Orei a Deus suplicando as bençãos do céu para sua vida e sua família que aprendi a amar
    Muito bom o mundo precisa de homens corajosos!
    Beijos do Brasil cm muita saudade.

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  15. This study came at a time when i needed to be reminded that the battle belongs to God & we’re already victorious through Christ… It has strengthened my faith and hope to keep pushing on koz God’s got this… Please stand with me in prayer to declare victory over the three court cases I’m going through…. That despite the opposition & corruption, i shall be victorious and God will still set a table in front on my enemies…. Whom I’ve forgiven & I’m praying to soften their hearts.

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  16. I thank God for the opportunity to serve with Dan here in Brazil, São Paulo! We learned a lot weekly from Dan and Samantha, God used his family from him a lot to bless our classes! Example of leadership, service and dedication to God was the legacy left in Brazil!! God continue to bless his family greatly! We will always be in prayer and grateful! God is always in control and his sovereign purpose is accomplished.

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing this story – God knew I needed to hear this message today. It is year-end review/bonus discussion at my work place this week. Unlike most of my co-workers, I made a conscious decision not to actively seek money or title for my own interest in the discussion, because I know God has already provided my family/me graciously and I should look for His will, not self interest.

    A close colleague of mine challenged my approach and asked me this question: Do you think Jesus will fight for your bonus when you just choose not to ask anything for yourself? And I answered: “Yes, I trust my God will take care of me. He knows everything I do.” Deep down in my mind, I have self doubts whether I did the right thing and this thought has been haunting me for days. I think I just got my answer. 🙂

    Thank you BSF for all you do and glory to be our God!

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  18. Dear BSF leadership, You have another strong example of leadership based on Christian decision making. Talk to Jamie Lawson (she is an Accountant and Financial expert that works at BSF headquarters) about her walk to BSF leadership and then headquarters. Both her and her husband are a wonderful example for all of us of Christian values and listening to the Lord as he leads your career’s and life choices. I would love to see a woman of God profiled too.

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    • Yes, Jamie is also a wonderful example of leadership!

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  19. I feel blinded when my eyes are not on Him!!!

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  20. Appreciated Dan’s blog which has many helpful truths for seeking God when our different “worlds” clash. In Dan’s words, “Truly seeking God’s guidance requires faith, and honesty, and sacrifice. The risk is worth the reward.” Thank you Dan!

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  21. Through this study, I am learning not only to trust God to strengthen and guide me, but also to respond to the guidance He gives me.

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    • Sally – what an amazing gift!

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  22. What a beautiful story of God’s testing and provision! The study of the kings and prophets is a clear example of the true result of following God’s commands! Thank you!

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  23. What an encouraging article.

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  24. I would like to thank Bethany Lockett for writing this article and Dan Lister for opening up and sharing his personal life with BSF members. I can relate to much of Dan’s story. I am not a business person (rather, a teacher and physician), but my wife and I have been members of BSF since 2010. It has propelled us forward in our faith and walk with Jesus. Reading and studying scripture together, and praying together has also helped us make tough decisions in our lives. We, too, have learned that the safest place to be is in God’s will, despite the external circumstances. We just moved to my wife’s home country of Hungary in July, so I can relate to feeling like a fish out of water. Although I know Hungary pretty well by now, it is still “foreign” for me, and there are times when I long for the comfort and familiarity of our home in the USA. But we know that God has called us to be here in this season. He has even provided a way for us to continue our BSF studies through online group participation. Thanks again to BSF Headquarters and glory be to God for all He inspires you to do.

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  25. Hi , I’ve had brain surgery and I’m a type one diabetic, but I have a VNS, now, BY GODS GRACE, He has taught me a lot, although I still have to learn, and when I had my brain surgery, I asked God to let me remember him, and I met a Christian sister, Sharon, Green, true Christian, and she saw me and asked me to join her and BSF so by, GODS GRACE, he has taught me a lot, and I still have a lot to learn, and I want to get back into studying BSF on and I was able to study with BSF in revelation and it’s amazing how God has taught me but I need to be more in with God thank you Lay Dale

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  26. This was a wonderful blog!
    Thank you, Bethany ❣️

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  27. Good Morning from Singapore Bethany

    I started with Mathews and signed up for Kingdoms Divided. Kingdoms Divided left me disappointed because it was one king after another king study. After reading the first few kings, I discerned that all the stories about the kings were that one should not be foolish and depending on one’s wisdom.

    As a result I was very disappointed in doing Kingdoms Divided until I received this BSF email which sort of reminded me what I was studying and my early discernment.

    Thank you

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  28. Truly seeking God’s guidance requires faith and sacrifice. Such a true statement. As Christians, we can still fall prey to thinking we can have faith and just skirt the sacrifice; making excuses why we can’t do something God might be calling us to do. The sacrifices we make to follow the Lord might not not only challenge our physical comfort, but our mental comfort as well in order for us to be able to grow spiritually.

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  29. Thank you for this article. I am facing a situation very different than Dan’s but it is requiring the same kind of trust in The Lord. Thank you for the encouragement this story provides and for the real life reminder that HE is in in control of our circumstance and lives, NOT ME! I’m so thankful to BSF and this year’s study of PPDKD because it is helping me to trust God more and more everyday. I am praying like Jehoshaphat did in 2 Chronicles 20:12 ” We do not know what to do but our eyes are on you.” This article encourages me to keep my eyes on THE LORD and not on my fears or what ifs as the enemy would try to get me to look at or focus on. I am praying for HIS WILL to come to fruition because He is good and can be trusted. His ways are not my ways, His ways are ALWAYS better than my ways.
    Thank you for sharing this story!

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    • Margaret, I am on the exact same page of the journey through the Divided Kingdom study. Jehosophat’s prayer has had such an impact on me. I have to pray it multiple times a day. So much of this study helps me see how God works and how He wants our hearts.The love I saw when God spoke to Israel in our study 2 weeks ago, “Here am I! Here am I!” made me realize that He is right here with me! I just need to receive Him and receive His love. And then devote my heart to Him!
      God bless you.

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  30. I am new to BSF. Thank you for this post. Truly, my prayer is, Lord I do not know what to do, but my eyes are on you. In Jesus name i pray. Amen.

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  31. Really good article, thank you for the points: ‘Truly seeking God requires faith, honesty and sacrifice. The risk is worth the reward.’ And also, ‘Don’t be two people, don’t be ‘work Dana and church Dana’ just be Dana. (inserted my own name here)

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  32. I am blessed by BSF and the study of Jonah. God chose Him for the task of speaking to
    Nineveh, But in the end it revealed Jonahs heart, and the Merciful teaching of our father .
    In everything is a lesson, and we need our Father’s constant guidance to see us through.
    When we heed the call, is when He does a deeper work.

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  33. What impressed the most is that I may have a 3rd generation BSF person. My grand daughter is 8 years old and in a BSF class.
    Passing on to the next generation and to the next and on and on as long as the earth remains is my heart’s desire. I pray I, my children and grandchildren will hold on, taking God guided decisions like Dan, in this life will be one of the legacies handed down from generation to generation. Amen

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  34. I read the blog and saw the pictures which were impressive. I have a hard time remembering the kings and the people of the Bible. I started Amos and found it difficult to answer. I am so glad I read the blogs because I often pray for wisdom and knowledge. When I go to class, I’m hardly where the other women are. FRUSTRATING!!

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    • Irene – you are not alone! God will use your faith and perseverance – thank you for sharing. It is so encouraging to read about your persistence in the challenge. Your heart for God’s Word is evident. Praying for you and your group!

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    • Irene, your hungry heart for God is a blessing to others. I am praying you will not be frustrated but soak up all that God is teaching through His Word. I use the prayer guide on the BSF blog each day as I pray and ask God to teach me. It has been such a blessing in my life and keeps me focused on the truths in the scripture for that particular lesson. God is so good and will continue to teach us the rest of our lives.

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  35. LOVE His truth as it is the only safe place to live!

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