What does the Bible say about indecision / being indecisive?Question: "What does the Bible say about indecision / being indecisive?"
Answer: To be indecisive usually means to have a difficult time making up one’s mind. Indecision can also apply to team collaboration in which no solution is reached. An indecisive issue is one that is not clearly marked out. We are indecisive when we are irresolute or lack strong conviction about a matter. Indecisiveness is common when we have to make a decision that will result in unpleasant consequences. There are times when remaining indecisive is wise. We may lack all the information, for example, or the issue is of little importance and an opinion would only be divisive. However, for the most part, indecision shows a lack of willingness to commit to absolute principles and to speak up for those principles. In that sense, indecision is a weakness (John 12:43).
Several places in Scripture show the folly of indecision. Lot’s wife perished because of her inability to decide between Sodom and obedience to God (Genesis 19:26). Joshua reminded the people of Israel of the necessity of choosing sides concerning their worship, and he clearly stated his decision: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). On Mount Carmel, as the prophet Elijah confronted Ahab and the prophets of Baal, he addressed the fence-sitting, indecisive Israelites: “Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’ But the people said nothing” (1 Kings 18:21). Under conviction by the Holy Spirit, Felix refused to make a decision and sent Paul away until a time more “convenient” (Acts 24:25). Jesus warned us that “no one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).
Romans 14:15 addresses indecisiveness about personal convictions: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” God has given us His Word to instruct us in vital matters (Psalm 32:8; 119:105), but He leaves room for personal opinion and conviction in lesser matters as we strive to be pleasing to Him in all things. What the Bible does not condone is wishy-washiness. When we pray for wisdom, we are to believe that God hears and will answer (1 John 5:15; James 1:5). When we ask in harmony with God’s will, we must “ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). In other words, faithless prayer is spiritual indecisiveness.
We must seek wisdom in order to know what issues are worth being decisive about (Proverbs 2:2–6). Social media blazes with scorching opinions on every subject, but many of those fueling the fires would benefit from being more indecisive. Our culture has substituted opinion for truth and passion for conviction. We need not have a hard and fast opinion on every subject, nor feel pressured to “take a side” when we lack all the information or education on an issue. Taking time to hear all sides of a matter is a mark of wisdom (Proverbs 18:13, 17).
But when it comes to the basic tenets of the gospel or the infallibility of God’s Word, we must not be indecisive (2 Timothy 3:16; John 17:17). More information is available to us than ever before in history, so there is no excuse for a Christian to be ignorant about God’s standards on the moral, civic, and relational topics of our day. Much spiritual indecisiveness is motivated by the fear of man, not a lack of knowledge (Galatians 1:10).
When we adopt the mindset that our opinion can challenge the time-tested declarations of God, we are creating an atmosphere of indecision where it need not exist. Simply because a biblical standard makes us uncomfortable or conflicts with political correctness does not mean we should be indecisive about it. When nationally known preachers are questioned about specific topics the Bible clearly addresses, it is an insult to that same Bible to communicate indecisiveness. That is not diplomacy; that is merely cowardice. It is interesting that Revelation 21:8 lists cowards first among those who will be cast into the lake of fire. Clearly, God takes this seriously.
The minds of healthy Christians are settled on the things that matter and humbly teachable on the things that don’t. They continue to study to show themselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15) so that they form godly convictions about even the “gray areas” of life. They are careful not to judge others who serve God differently (Romans 14:1–4), but they are decisive about God’s plan for their own lives. When we live in ways that are true to those convictions, we will not be shaken by every new idea or cultural whim (Matthew 7:24–27). Indecisiveness about what God has declared to be true has no place in the life of a Christian.
Recommended Resource: Decision Making and the Will of God by Friesen & Maxson
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