The Anatomy of a Decision

The Anatomy of a Decision

Decisions …Decisions


We are all faced with a multitude of decisions, each with their own set of consequences. Some will be more significant than others, and the leading of the Holy Spirit becomes imperative if we are to fulfill God’s plan for our lives. Very often correct choices are not immediately obvious, because we do not have all the facts up front. What may appear to be a good move now may later turn sour. However there is a way to avoid making wrong choices. The Holy Spirit knows all things and will help you make God ordained decisions.



The ‘Revelation Sieve’

All that we read, hear, and think about, needs to be ‘filtered’ through a ‘revelation sieve’ to make a wise decision. Any ‘leading’ you feel you have from the Lord, ought to be confirmed by two or three witnesses.  

“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.  Deut 19:15-16

Many Christians get excited when something even remotely resembles a word from God. “I have heard from God,” they may excitedly say. Then they proceed to rush off half-cocked, later to crash and burn, lamenting that they had “Heard from God!” Yet time was not taken to get confirming witnesses. I know personally of two couples who got married at Bible school on the basis of one ‘prophecy’, later to get all messed up out of the will of God. They did not stop to check things out and get confirmation.


A house I stayed in as a youngster whilst visiting in the country, had water tanks that caught the rainwater from the roof. The tank had different types of sand to filter the dirty roof water. When you tapped the water at the bottom of the tank, it was clear and drinkable. It had been ‘filtered’ through the different layers of sand. God’s leading through the Holy Spirit will be ‘clear and drinkable’ when you take the time to filter the impressions and words you get through the ‘revelation sieve.’


The Word filter is the first and foremost step in the process of making a decision. The choices you have to make have to fit within the framework of God’s already revealed will. His word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. Be sure to shine the Word on what you are planning to do. See if there is something in the Word that God can and will ‘quicken’ to you. It will ‘stand out’ and minister life to you regarding the decision.



Your word is a lamp to my feet

And a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105 


Be sure to consecrate what you are planning to do to the Lord. Be prepared to back off without stubbornly clinging to what you believed to have been from God. If it was from God He will repeat the message in some way. You have to believe that God has your best interests at heart. He will not withhold any good thing from you if you walk uprightly before Him.



For the LORD God is a sun and shield;

The LORD will give grace and glory;

No good thing will He withhold

From those who walk uprightly.  Psalm 84:11 


However, God will keep you from something that looks good to start with, but which will eventually harm you. He knows the beginning from the end and what we are like, so He puts others in our lives to balance out our excesses and weaknesses.

The second step is to seek the counsel of wise elders in your church. God can and does speak through others who may have an angle on things that you have never thought of. Zeal without wise counsel can be dangerous.


Plans are established by counsel;

By wise counsel wage war.  Prov 20:18 


The third part of the ‘revelation sieve’ involves prophecy. If you received a prophecy or some other word from someone that did not know the circumstances, then they may well have heard from God. These utterances should confirm what God has already been speaking to you. Why would He take the time to speak to someone else, and not give it to you first, His own dear child of the faith? Someone else’s ‘word’ must witness with your spirit. Let peace be the umpire and judge. The God kind of peace will be real even in the midst of the pressure of your decision-making circumstances. After all, you do want to please God with your decision! He will allow you time to check things out, and will not be angry if you want to be sure. He is your Father and wants the best for you.


In addition be sure that you have a witness in your spirit and do not step out on someone else’s word alone. The decision must sit well with you and agree with what you already know to be the will of God for your life. If you step out on someone else’s conviction and not your own, they might move on and you may be left stranded without a sustaining sense of certainty. After all, you have to live your own life, so take the time to filter what you hear through the inner witness of your own heart. Do whatever it takes to develop a confidence in your own ability to hear the voice of God in your own heart.


The Example of Paul and Barnabas


Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  Acts 13:1-3

Here Saul (Paul) is sent out on his first missionary journey after the Holy Spirit spoke to the group at a special time of fasting. He leaves the local church where he had been serving to fulfill the call on his life. He had been saved and had been told by God through Ananias in Acts 9:15-18 that he was called to bear God’s name to the gentiles, even kings! We see that come to pass in the rest of the book of Acts.  Paul was trained in the Word under Gamaliel. The apostle Peter confirmed Paul’s ministry in the Word, acknowledging that there were things Paul knew that even he Peter found it hard to understand. Remember Peter had sat under Jesus, the Master, for three years!


In short, Paul was well grounded in the Word! He already knew that he had a call from God, yet was faithfully serving alongside other seasoned ministers in the local church in Antioch. His decision to leave the church and head on out in his ministry was no quick thing. It was the product of filtering ‘input’ from:


·         The written Word of God

·         What was already in his heart: the inner witness

·         A confirming supernatural utterance or prophecy

·         Counsel from wise leadership and peers


He became the greatest missionary of the book of Acts. The ‘revelation filter or sieve’ worked for him and his life provides a safe example for us to follow.


A useful rule of thumb to follow: if the decision is big, take enough time to be sure. Then have courage; it will still take faith to step out with confidence.

        For we walk by faith, not by sight.  2 Cor 5:7

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