It is easier to make a good decision than to unwind a bad one. Christian leaders can relate to being asked for advise much more often with untangling the negative consequences of what might have been an avoidable decision in relationships, careers and finances, then being consulted prior to making it. Early in ministry on staff at Vineyard Columbus, I mentioned this to a fellow pastor, and he told me about the 5 C's.
The 5 C's of decision making are Counsel of Saints, Commanding Scripture, Common Sense, Compelling Spirit, and Coincidental Signs. The easy-to-memorize alliteration originated from Nicky Gumbel, author of the Alpha course that we offer. I’ve come to rely on this list quite a bit over the years.
Jesus' desire and plan for us, is to flourish. One of our most powerful gifts is our power to make decisions. Developing the skill to make good ones and avoiding the bad, is vital to living the abundant life.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (1 Tim 3:16). The Bible is the world's best single resource, for making decisions. It has many commands, principles, and wisdom for living life well. Searching the scriptures, which is easier now through free online tools, will provide you with direction about virtually every area of life, helping you to enjoy more of God’s blessing he intends for you.
Nearly every day, we make financial decisions. But, were you aware that on the subject of money alone, the Bible contains over 2,000 verses? There you will find commands, such as against dishonest dealing or co-signing loans. While other verses speak about generosity, greed, heart issues, or warnings about the dangers of debt.
Counsel of Saints
It used to be difficult to borrow money. Today, banks and credit card providers have made it easy and quick, to go into massive debt. They tempt us through emotional advertisement to ignore wisdom. But it is never easy to repay it. Likewise, repairing relationships we fell into, instead of thoughtfully examining them before, is more difficult. Sadly, we often make decisions emotionally, or based on external pressure, but we don’t have to go at this alone on our own strength.
There are many people around to advise you and lean on. For me, it hasn't been easy to humble myself, and put what I want aside while I sought advice, but I've learned it can be one of the most beneficial things I can do. Rich Nathan was advised against debt, when he was a new Christian. He attributes this to helping him financially when he was young in his career and family.
Proverbs 15:22 provides sage advice; "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." Before you sign a contract, enter in an important relationship, or make a career turn, humbly talk to several wise and Godly people, who manage their own households well (1 Tim 3:4).
In your circle, it is good to have mature Christian friends and elders as well as professionals in finance or law. You can rely on them for advise, or just to visit with periodically to share your life and to get insight.
In the Vineyard, we believe that God still speaks to us today. We don’t have to hear through a human intermediary. Ephesians 2:18 tells us, "For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit." We have growth classes that teach us how to experience God this way. Through prayer, fasting and scriptural meditation, God often guides us in the decisions we have before us.
Additionally, the scriptures are full of examples of the creative ways God speaks to us, sometimes through common sense, and wisdom gained through study and experience. Oftentimes, naturally or supernaturally in our environment, coincidences, dreams and visions.
Learn and grow
It has been said that "Knowledge is not power, but potential. The effective application of knowledge in decision making is very powerful." To deepen your understanding of the 5 C’s, we've developed a small group Bible study to assist your growth Email me if you would like a PDF of the study. Continue to develop and apply this life skill. You will increase your flourishing in every area of life, as you lean into the ways God has designed you to.