Dr. Keith Thomas was the first pastor I served with as a full-time vocational minister. He took a chance on me as a young “kid” with very little experience. In my first years of ministry he was very gracious with a lot of “rookie” mistakes I made. Now over 10 years into ministry, I still revert back to many of the principles Dr. Thomas taught me. This decision-making matrix is one I still use regularly. I have also shared this with many, many people throughout the years.
If you find yourself needing to make an important decision, ask yourself these questions before saying “yes” or “no”:
- What are the Circumstances?
Do the circumstances allow for me to make this move in my life? If so, proceed with caution and continue to ask the other questions in this matrix. If not, perhaps God has closed the door to the avenue you’re pursuing.
- What are your Gut Convictions?
We have all heard the phrase, “Go with your gut.” That is not bad advice as long as you are filtering the “Gut Question” through the rest of the matrix. Your “gut” is not always right but it certainly helps you focus your attention on the other questions within this matrix.
- What are your Godly Convictions?
This is the Holy Spirit at work within you. What do you sense the Holy Spirit telling you to do? This is not what you hear from other people, or what you read in the Bible. This is what you sense the Spirit of God telling you to do. What does He say? Keep in mind, God’s Sprit will never contradict God’s Word.
- What does Godly Counsel say?
Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” If you are contemplating a decision, do not make that decision without the counsel of two or three godly people in your life. Again, keep in mind, legitimate godly counsel will not contradict the Word of God.
- Is there Scriptural Confirmation?
In the course of your normal Bible reading, is there a verse that has jumped off the page and spoke to your current circumstances. God’s primary means of speaking to people today is through His Word. It is easy to go and look for a passage of Scripture that will conform to your circumstances. But remember, we are to conform to God’s ways, not the other way around. That is why I emphasize IN THE COURSE OF YOUR NORMAL READING, look for Scriptural Confirmation to give you guidance.
I could go into far more depth with each of these questions, but this is a good staring point from which to launch. If you are facing a big decision in your life and need some help working through this matrix, or if you want to know more about these questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.