Making decisions is part of daily life. We can’t get away from it.
What we have to learn is how to make those decisions in a way that maintains our dependence on Jesus Christ in the process. Jesus’ followers had to learn that as well.
Casting lots was a cultural tool not a formula.
The practice of “casting lots” was common in the Old Testament. And, God even used it to give direction to His people. This is the only record of its New Testament use.
Casting lots as a cultural tool that God used with His people sometimes. He also used prophets and counsellors. Proverbs 16:33
Casting lots was not a formula then nor is it a formula today. What we read in Acts is simply a description of what they did not a prescription for how to make decisions today.
Descriptive versus prescriptive
Much of the Bible is written in narrative form. Narrative is usually descriptive not prescriptive.
Descriptive means it is observation of what actually happened, how people lived and the choices they made about how to do life at the time.
Prescriptive refers to commands from God about how to live or do something that applies to all believers, all people groups, and all time periods.
We can’t look at this passage in Acts chapter 1 about casting lots and create a formula for making decisions with God’s blessing on the result.
We also know that the Holy Spirit now lives inside every believer and can give us direction from the inside of our own hearts and minds for making decisions.
From our study of Acts 1, we can look at the process the apostolic leaders used and see that the same process applies to us.
The process for making decisions
Step 1. They aligned themselves with the purposes of God.
Since Jesus had originally chosen 12 to represent the tribes of Israel, they would fill that 12thspot for the purpose that Jesus had set before them. It was a position of leadership to fill. They aligned themselves with the purposes of God.
Step 2. They considered options who were also aligned with the purposes of God.
They used their own observations and mental acuity to evaluate the choices. Two men were equally good choices, and both were aligned with the purposes of God.
Step 3. They asked the Lord Jesus for His direction and for Him to show them the best choice.
In the New Testament writings after the gospels, whenever you see “the Lord,” that refers to Jesus. God is God the Father, Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit is the Holy Spirit.
The disciples submitted their options to their Lord Jesus and asked for Him to show them which to choose. “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen (Acts 1:24)
This is living dependently on God. God the Father who is also your Creator has given you a brain to use. He wants you to use your mind and heart to evaluate the options and then remove the options that are not lined up with His way of doing life. Once you have done that, ask the Lord to show you which good option to choose. It is an act of faith.
Step 4. They submitted to Jesus’ direction for them.
They asked for God to show them, and God did. Then, they submitted to that. Matthias became the 12thapostle and joined the leader team.
Decision-making is part of dependent living
Decision-making is a huge part of dependent living. What decision do you need to make this week? Follow those guidelines I just gave you, trusting Jesus with your decision-making.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His Spirit’s transforming power. And say yes to a life of adventure with Him!
Until next time, I’m Melanie Newton. And, this is Series 7 of Satisfied.