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The way to success is always upstream; you can't float there. To reach success, we must make decisions. We can't just "float" there.

Numbers 13 and 14 relates the story of the twelve spies reporting to Moses what they saw in the Promised Land. All twelve saw the same things. They all faced the same situations. But two, Caleb and Joshua, had a different report. They believed they could succeed.

People who succeed in life don't have it any easier than the rest of us. The Bible tells us that tests and trials are common to all. So what makes the difference between those who succeed and those who don't? Numbers 14:24 gives us a clue.

It's All About What's Inside
God said that Caleb would possess the land because he had a different spirit in him. You see, decision-making really has nothing to do with what is going on around us; it is a product of what is inside of us.

Joshua and Caleb's relationship with God gave them a different viewpoint than the rest of the spies. In Numbers 13:30, Caleb said, "Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it." The source of his statement was a "different spirit" within him. As we get filled with God, we too will make different decisions.

In the story of David and Goliath, we see that when David reached the front lines, he saw and heard Goliath just as the army of Israel. But instead of waiting in fear with the others, he said, "I'll go and fight that giant."

David, in the midst of the same circumstances, made a decision no one else was willing to make. The road to success is filled with decisions that others could make but decide not to. In the time of trial, we have to decide to advance.

In 1 Samuel 17:34-37, David told Saul about God delivering him from the lion and the bear, and he said, "This uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God." If the lion and the bear had devastated the flocks he was watching, the decision David made when he faced Goliath might not have been the same.

Past experiences are great parts of our decision making process, so it's important for us to analyze where we've been to see if that's where we want to go. If our past experiences aren't filled with success, we have to consider getting a different spirit about us.

We aren't limited to our past experience. We don't have to have the same heart that we had in the past. God can give us a new heart through our relationship with Him.

David's relationship with God was revealed during this trial. He related his past successes to God's enabling him, and he expected God to be with him again. David could make his decision with confidence, based on past experience.

A Developed Process
It's important to see that David's decision-making process had been developed before he ever faced Goliath. God will never lead us beyond what our hearts can contain, so He allows "lion and bear experiences" so that we can grow in the knowledge of Him.

Caleb, Joshua, and David all looked to God in their decision-making processes. Everyone else was looking at the circumstances. Their relationship with God hadn't been developed. But Caleb, Joshua, and David were able to make decisions, not based on what they saw, but on what they believed.

A third example is found in Daniel 3. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had been arrested. Because they had a relationship with God, they had made a decision to not bow down before the image of the king. In Daniel 3:14-15 they were given a chance to reconsider. Would they reverse their decision in the midst of trouble? It's one thing to make a decision; it's another to stand by it when threatened.

In verses 16-18 they said, "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." From their words, you can see that they had something in their hearts. What they had in their hearts was based on their relationship with the Almighty God. So they would not compromise.

Decision making process requires understanding your bottom line. Where is that line you will not cross no matter what? How far are you willing to go? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had a standard that they would not compromise. They would not worship a false god no matter what the consequence. That was their bottom line.

Notice what they said: "God is able to deliver us from the furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, but if not...." They weren't in charge of how everything would unfold, but their relationship with God gave them certain confidences. They knew God would deliver them out of the king's hand even if He didn't deliver them from the fire. Our decisions aren't based on knowing the future but on knowing God.

What was the apostle Paul's bottom line? In Philippians 1:20, he said, "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death." Paul wanted Christ to be magnified in him, no matter what. Paul had a decision to make: should he go home to heaven or to stay here on earth?

Paul wanted to be with Jesus, but he had other people's welfare in mind when he made his decision to stay. He considered what would be the best decision for all involved. That reminds me of what Jesus said in John 17:19. He said, "For their sakes, I sanctify myself."

It was for our sake that he set himself apart. Those of us called to leadership have to make decisions for the sake of those God has put in our charge. If the motivation for our decisions never goes beyond our own desires we will never attain the success that will fulfill us.

So here are some things to consider about the art of decision-making:
  1. Relationship with God is both tested and revealed at decision time
  2. Past experiences with God are solid stepping-stones to our decision making today
  3. Heart commitment to a standard that will never be compromised is of utmost value during decision-making
  4. The real reason for decision-making needs to include others and their welfare
If we will evaluate these things on a regular basis, decision-making won't be a difficult process.

Copyright © Word of Faith Church and Outreach Center
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tim Davidson
Web site: Word of Faith Church & Outreach Center
Tim Davidson is the Head Pastor of Word of Faith Church and Outreach Center in Bismarck, North Dakota. A 1977 graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center of Tulsa, Oklahoma, God has called Tim into the body of Christ as a teacher and pastor. Called to the Body of Christ as a pastor and teacher, Tim Davidson pioneered Word of Faith Church in Bismarck in 1980. He served as its Lead Pastor for 35 years and now serves as Founding Pastor. Pastor Tim has pioneered 6 churches in North Dakota and now serves as Regional Director for Rhema Ministerial Association International. Teaching believers foundational truths from God's Word is his passion. He has authored 3 yearly devotion books that are used both here and overseas to help believers become "rooted and grounded" in their faith. God is now calling Pastor Tim to share the treasury of wisdom and knowledge God has given to him with other pastors and churches.

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