On Making Decisions

What influences decision making? In other words, what outward or inward influence persuades the decisions you make? I think it’s important to discern what influences the decisions we make and how we make those decisions. Let’s work with the example of King Xerxes. In Esther 1:10, we find the King severely under the influence of intoxicating beverages ordering Queen Vashti to appear before Him and others at a feast. She refuses to comply with his request. King Xerxes is angered by her rejection and immediately inquires his advisers about his next course of action. Their advice is to depose Queen Vashti and make her an example among the kingdom for women that refuse to obey their husbands. “The king and his princes thought this made good sense, so he followed Memucan’s counsel.” (Esther 1:21 – NLT)

There are a couple of issues worth noting here. Xerxes made a decision based on the emotion of anger. It was his anger that led him down this course of inappropriate swift action. We all know that a decision made out of anger is rarely a sound decision that is beneficial long-term. When I make a decision out of anger, my conclusions come out from an injured self and bruised pride. Anger can be an inward influencer: never make a decision while under the influence. These are the verdicts we regret.

The other item worth noting is the influence of alcohol. Xerxes was under the influence when he sought advice and made his decision. Alcohol impairs one’s motors skills and judgment. It becomes an outside force influencing the inward decision making process. This source of influence is strategic when making decisions. That’s why Paul says, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:17-18 – NIV) Paul knew the importance of proper influence when making decisions about life. It’s important to note that Paul’s emphasis isn’t on the absence of alcohol so much as it is on the influence of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.

What influences your decision making? For a believer to make sound decisions, the influence must come from the Holy Spirit. Do an inventory of what persuades you. Is it anger, remove it. What about another outside influence? Let your decision making be made under the sound influence of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to lead, direct, reveal, and make known His will in your circumstance. If you’ll ask, He’ll answer.