If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. – James 1:6-8 (NIV)
Have you ever faced a difficult decision, unsure of what to do? The above scripture reminds us that God will grant us wisdom to make any decision. The God who is “wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29) is the most able of advisors. God may not dispense his wisdom in accordance with our timetable. In those cases we are to “be still and know that he is God” (Psalm 46:10) and to “wait patiently on the Lord” (Psalm 40:1). At other times, God may speak to us instantaneously. What is required in either situation is faith. Faith to wait in hopeful expectation or faith to ask decisively upon what God has instructed.
More often that I care to admit, God has given me clear guidance and I am reluctant to act. I am reluctant because I perceive the action to be unpleasant and anxiety producing. When I delay in acting, there are costs for doing so:
- Indecision increases anxiety. Putting off an anxiety producing decision does not decrease the anxiety associated with making the decision, but rather prolongs it. Think of a pending decision as a heavy box you are carrying around that needs to be stored on a shelf. The shelf is the final destination, yet you continue to carry the box around. I don’t care how strong you are, you will eventually tire from carrying the box. You may even set the box down for a while to take a break. You may even pick up another box, but you have not placed the first box on the shelf. Here’s the thing. We often don’t have the luxury of having to make just a single decision. We generally have to make multiple decisions. Indecision in one area of life can spread to indecision in other areas of life. By not making the initially decision we have not freed up the mental “shelf space” to make decisions and have created mental clutter instead.
- Indecision causes us to miss our “launch windows”. When sending a rocket into outer space, NASA will evaluate weather forecasts and orbital planes to determine the optimal time to launch. If the launch window is missed, the flight will need to be scrubbed until another launch window appears. Like NASA, God has “launch windows” when the time is right to act on his prompting. If we do not act, we miss out on or delay an opportunity for God to work through us. Initially, the Jews rejected God’s direction to invade Canaan for fear of the land’s inhabitants (see Numbers chapters 13 and 14). Once God pronounced his judgment on the Jews for their disobedience, they become remorseful and decided to invade the land on their own, despite Moses’ warning. The Jews were soundly defeated. Have you resisted God’s prompting to take action only to have the opportunity close? You missed your launch window.
- Indecision blocks us from receiving more of God’s wisdom and power. James 1:6-7 tells us the person who fails to act on what God has revealed should not expect to receive additional revelation. God is omnipotent and omniscient, but he uses these attributes efficiently. He will not continue to waste his wisdom and power on us if we squander it.
Note: This marks my 50th post and is a bit of a milestone for me. This blog is not my first blogging effort. About four years ago, I set up a site and wrote a few a posts, but quit shortly thereafter. This time around, with the Lord’s help, I was determined to keep at it. I haven’t always been as consistent in my posting schedule as I’d like to be, but I’m not allowing a missed schedule, writer’s block, fatigue or a host of any other factors from stopping me from plugging along. To God be the glory!