Decision Check List
I picked up an old book the other day. I had been using it for decoration on my mantel because I liked the shiny, gold lettering on the spine of the book. It says: On HOLY Ground by Charles Stanley.
Y’all. I know. You don’t put CHARLES STANLEY on a shelf!! I mean, this man. He is a spiritually gifted messenger of the LORD! Plus, he raised Andy Stanley, which just might be my favorite pastor to listen to on podcast.
Shame on me.
On Holy Ground is a daily devotional book with a scripture and short thought for the day. I first picked it up right after I graduated from college. Back then, I wrote little notes down at the bottom. It was fun to read them and see what stood out to young adult me. Reading it now, I’m picking up completely new things. Isn’t it funny how our perspectives change?
But this post isn’t about that book. It is about a message from Charles Stanley.
Gabe heard it and told me about it, and I was like "Oh, that is GOOD STUFF. Can I have your notes?!" Confession: I didn’t actually listen to the message.
I understand if you want to stop reading now.
Because Charles Stanley has a WORD from the LORD. (Why I say that in my head in a Veggie Tales voice, I’m not sure. Ha!)
Maybe this will speak to one of you as well.
The sermon was titled “Identifying the Voice of God.” (You can listen to its entirety by clicking HERE.) How do we know when we have heard from God? Isaiah 30:21 says, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”
But how do we KNOW?? How do we know it is really God speaking?
Dr. Stanley suggested the following list: - Is it consistent with the word of God? He will never, ever, ever contradict His word. Which also mean…we gotta read our bibles. (Finger pointing at myself!)
- Does it conflict with human reason? This might seem crazy, but if the answer is “Yes”, it just might be the Lord. Why?? Because God works in opposite world. You want to be first? Be last. You want to be “rich”? Give away your money. You want to be “smart”? Realize the wisdom of the world is foolish. If it defies human reason, it will require of us faith.
- Is it clashing with fleshly desires? That is a good sign. We are not to gratify the flesh, but rather, gratify the spirit. Which is kinda like, “duh.”…only, when I am really living it out, it is HARD. Because I like sitting on my couch, eating Doritos and watching Netflix, okay? But sometimes God says “Kayla, get up!” I think I’m preaching to myself right now. Let’s move on.
- Will this challenge my faith? The Lord wants to push your faith and make it bigger. Bigger faith will build and grow your intimacy with Him.
- Does it call for courage?
Because it often will. Jesus followers gotta be brave, y'all.
- He’s going to cause you to think about its effect on others. The decision you are facing will impact others. EVEN if you think it doesn’t. Our relationships are a huge part of our role as Christ followers. - He will caution you to be patient. UGH. The P word. It is so counter-cultural. (Which, looking at bullets 2 & 3, is probably a good sign it is right.) But patience requires….? Trust. Faith. I’m seeing a pattern here. - He will bring up future consequences. The world’s advice is “Hurry up! Don’t let this pass you by! YOLO!” You only live once? Not the mentality of a Christian. Our future is eternity. And our decisions need to reflect that. God will help us think through the future ramifications. Are we saving up treasures on earth? Or heaven? -If God leads you to get advice, He wants you to check out the lifestyle of that person. This one was interesting to me. I had just heard a sermon from Andy, where he said, “If you want to know what kind of Christian I am, don’t listen to my sermons. Look at my life.” If we need advice in a business, don’t just find someone who is GREAT at the business. Find someone who does it well and lives the kind of life you want to live. What is most important to that person? Seek out people of character. - Whatever He says will contribute to our spiritual growth. We have been foreordained to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. If a choice doesn’t cause us to become more like Christ…if it doesn’t push us to make us and the world around us better…it’s not of God.
- There will be a calmness that develops in your spirit. Have you ever been there, when you just get a sense of peace? It doesn’t necessarily make the decision easy. But the Lord promises us a “Peace that surpasses understanding” when we walk with Him.
Are you standing at a crossroads, wondering which path God would have you take? Do you have a big life decision? Or just an ordinary, everyday decision weighing on your mind? Maybe this list will help guide you. The Lord longs to walk along beside us. If we listen, He will show us the way.