THE VINE | 5 Strong Spiritual Supports for Effective Business Decision-Making
If there’s one thing I have learned as an owner of two distinct companies, it’s that making calculated steps is crucial. Most would agree this is true for several reasons—it helps to prevent losses, to increase revenue and profits, and solidify long-term business successes and opportunities.
However, over the years I’ve found that in the process of wanting to be overly strategic I’ve allowed things such as facts and figures, and trends and forecasts to interfere with my approach, my projections and the overall outlook I have of my business.
As a Christian, my lifestyle is deeply shaped by my faith and the principles rooted in my walk with God. Yet, I’ve recognized that oftentimes in business faith isn’t factored into the equation. Many decisions, calculations and estimations are based on principles of business and the state of the market and economy.
"I'm convinced that my business goes hand in hand with my faith..."
Because of this, many times I’ve felt uncertain. Not knowing whether to rely entirely on spiritual direction or to seek direction from “tangible” business sources. But the question is, who said both don’t intersect and support one another? In business, there’s definitely a method to all the madness, but I’ve also witnessed the power of applying faith to the formula.
Contrary to popular belief, I'm convinced that my business goes hand in hand with my faith as I believe my destiny is predestined (Jeremiah 29:11). And as a believer, I understand that my future and purpose are also closely linked to my business and financial wellbeing.
I also believe that my career decisions and what I do with my gifts and abilities should honour God and that, ultimately, He should have a significant level of influence over the choices I make. Choices which I anticipate will lead me toward fulfilling my purpose and calling.
Although I’ve felt that I was making amazing business moves on quite a few occasions, there’ve been times when I knew in my spirit that I was either being led to pass on a “desirable” offer, sever a big business connection, take an alternate route—or, better yet, wait for a specific moment or season before taking action. In such cases, I’ve found myself doing one of two things...
Ignoring my spirit and going ahead with what I feel is “the best option”. And then having to eventually deal with the ramifications of exercising poor judgment—which ultimately, draws me back to seeking Godly guidance and support in order to move forward.
I’ve found myself using Godly wisdom and spiritual discernment to help order my steps and keep me in strong alignment with God’s will for my life.
As challenging as it can be to trust God’s direction and to “walk by faith and not by sight”, I’ve experienced—and continue to experience, the rewards of leaning on God’s direction to help strengthen my ability to strategize and execute effectively in business. This doesn’t mean that I don’t slip or fall off track, but the recovery phase has been much smoother when grace is added to the mix.
And, how so?
In this process, God has helped to continually fill in the gaps of my weaknesses and shortcomings while honing my character and producing traits such as patience and perseverance, and wisdom and integrity, and self-discipline and commitment—each amazing qualities that I apply to various areas of my life.
So, if like me, you’ve ever wondered how to take your business, career and purpose to the next level while factoring in faith, here are 5 powerful and effective supports to seek spiritually to help guide your professional decisions.
1 | WISDOM
The Book of Proverbs is a powerful account that shares lots about the importance of seeking and applying wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is of utmost importance, therefore get wisdom…”. Therefore, wisdom should be considered an invaluable possession, and we’re further encouraged by God to acquire it.
While we may be wise in our own eyes, truth is, our knowledge and way of knowing is quite limited and ever-changing. Our way of knowing is typically based on what we’re taught by others, what we learn from our lived experiences, and what we find in the resources and information we’re exposed to. These sources are all open to encounter change over time.
God's ways are not our ways. One of God’s greatest attributes is that He is omniscient. He’s all-knowing. So, for anyone who believes this to be true, it’s guaranteed that if God is the prime source of wisdom His counsel will surely be sound and everlasting—meaning that trends, patterns and even long-standing facts can’t bear as much authority as the wisdom God possesses.
"...God would know exactly which choices we should be making..."
The Bible, which is His Word, shares His everlasting message and is applicable to all that we encounter to this day. According to Scriptures, Jeremiah 1:5 reads, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”. So, if God has this degree of knowledge, then what better source is there to pursue for wisdom?
God’s wisdom pertaining to our futures would have to be absolute. If He designed our destinies, then when it comes to our decisions He would know exactly which choices we should be making in order to avoid failures, limit our mistakes and stay aligned with our purposes.
Normally, as professionals and business owners we'll find ourselves wanting to be in complete control of our companies, careers and meaningful decisions. However, when we know the limits of our wisdom we’re able to begin to humbly experience the full measure of God’s wisdom while we grant Him the authority to advise us in our day-to-day dealings. He desires to offer us this asset freely.
2 | U N D E R S T A N D I N G
Understanding is closely connected to wisdom. While Proverbs 4:7 begins by saying, “Wisdom is of utmost importance, therefore get wisdom…”, it ends stating, “…and with all your effort work to acquire understanding.” By definition, understanding is “a mental grasp”, “the power of comprehending”, and “the power to make experience intelligible by applying concepts and categories”.
Seeking spiritual understanding, therefore, allows us to comprehend why certain decisions must be made, why specific partnerships shouldn’t be formed, which will allow us to also understand how and why certain actions lead to particular outcomes. If we’re seeking wisdom spiritually it’s natural to ask for understanding. To have wisdom and knowledge but lack understanding is somewhat futile.
But do we gain all understanding?
Sometimes our understanding might be partial and we may not gain a complete understanding of the things we desire to know—which is okay. In such cases, our understanding of God and His majestic nature should quench our desire to "know it all". Having this type of spiritual understanding helps to provide peace and assurance. It gives us security knowing that in God's counsel and under His covering we are in a safe place. Our steps are still ordered.
3 | D I S C E R N M E N T
Discernment doesn’t come easily for everyone, but for those who have the ability to discern it’s definitely a major muscle when it comes to making choices. In decision-making, sometimes business-related opportunities and offers may look appealing when they’re introduced, but in the end they turn out to be disastrous.
How many examples come to mind of things that could’ve been avoided and prevented had the appropriate decision been made? Numbers of professionals and business owners have learned lessons the hard way due to poor choices that led to undesired outcomes.
"Spiritual discernment helps to create focus..."
Discernment, which is defined as “the ability to judge well”, is something that is strictly dependent on the individual making the decision. It usually comes in the form of an internal "impression" or "feeling", or it's perceived as an "instinct" or an urge of "intuition".
Unfortunately, what discernment can do is create additional worries and pressures in the process for a person who's really unsure about how to come to the best decision. However, the gift of spiritual discernment is quite unique, in the sense that it eliminates this pressure from the individual.
While seeking spiritual discernment that individual is no longer expected to entirely judge the situation or the opportunity independently, but instead, they’re expected to be guided spiritually to understand what it is that God sees in light of His wisdom, preconceived knowledge and comprehension of what the outcome of each choice will be.
Spiritual discernment helps to create focus by eliminating every factor that would interfere with our judgment. It allows us to focus on hearing exclusively from God.
4 | T R U S T
When risks and costs are high it’s challenging to make steps without understanding the reason behind them. Especially if making the wrong move could mean losing money, damaging a company’s credibility, and even losing a business or career.
So, it’s clear as to why decisions are typically made with as much certainty as possible. But what happens when God directs us to do something that goes against reason, our desires and what we consider to be the norm?
"...our greatest worries can be eased once we trust that God is in control..."
There’ll be times when walking in our God-given purpose will require us to do things that don’t seem to make sense; things that contrast what we envision; and things that oppose the natural order of business.
Moreover, when we’re in a place of uncertainty—a place where we as novice or experienced business owners will find ourselves at some point, sometimes all we can do is trust. When we don’t see or know the answer or the way out, or when the path isn’t clearly paved, our greatest worries can be eased once we trust that God is in control and trust that His intentions work in our favour.
5 | F A I T H
As written in Hebrews 11:1, “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Despite all the strategies and techniques that can be used to enhance our ability to make effective business decisions, I believe that faith is the strongest measure of support we can apply to this process. Primarily because faith allows us to dream, envision, and set objectives and milestones.
Faith allows us to believe for the impossible and to have confidence even when circumstances don’t appear to be promising. Furthermore, faith is the only support listed that encompasses each of the other four spiritual supports named. Spiritual wisdom, understanding, discernment and trust stem from a person possessing faith in God.
The advantage of applying faith in business decision-making is that it allows us to also strengthen our relationship with God as we trust and believe that He’s in control and that He’ll work all things out in our favour—not just for the moment, but for the entire course of our journeys.
"We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." -PROVERBS 16:9
With many ups as well as downs throughout my years in business, I’ve come to learn from, to love and to appreciate all that I’ve gained through allowing my faith to shape the ways I approach business and each decision made along the way.
I hope you stay inspired and contribute to the conversation by sharing your decision-making experiences in the comment section below or by liking and sharing with those who may need that extra bit of guidance and support.