What is a PiVAT Decision Tool? (part of Insert #2 - Monthly Insert for your Conversation Log)
The PIVAT Decision Tool helps you seek God’s direction for decisions you face.
Are you facing a decision right now? Life is full of decisions - big ones - like: "Should I marry this guy?" "Should I attend State University?" "Should we take this job promotion in another city?" "Should we buy this house, or car?" or smaller ones - like: "Should I go to camp this summer?" Should I take Physics my Senior Year?" "Should I go to the men's conference next month?" "Should we let our kids sign up for peewee football this fall?"
God has a perfect will regarding the decision you are now facing. But you must know: His way is often (if not always) different than ours - in fact - hugely different.
Isaiah 55:8-9 - "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
In decision making – there is God’s Way, and man’s way. Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
No decision is insignificant. You either make themon your own (which means you – in practice - consider yourself the LORD of your life), or you ask God what He wants you to do - in his perfect timing (which means HE is the LORD of your life). Nothing is too small for Him, God’s Way vs. man’s way always applies. He loves to show you which way to go, even in the small things!
Why use the PiVAT Decision Tool for big and small decisions?
1. The PiVAT Decision Tool helps you clearly define the decision to be made; factors, motives, alternatives, God’s Word, Godly Counsel, and God’s perfect will for you in this situation. Your PiVAT Decision Tool not only helps you seek his will, but also follow Scripture in determining it.
2. The PiVAT Decision Tool - helps you separate between mental thoughts, human emotions, and spiritual insight. I Peter 4:7 - "The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray."
The PiVAT Decision Tool is not a magic button that you just fill out the form - and the right answer pops out on the other end. The purpose of this tool is to help you 'count the cost' from God's perspective - which is complete, not your viewpoint - which is limited. Luke 14:28 - Which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has the resources to complete it?
3. The PiVAT Decision Tool - helps you seek God on even the factors that affect this decision; it encourages you to seek Godly counsel, and submit to God's perfect will and timing for you in this situation. Trust Him! He will lead you in the way chosen for you, in the way that is best for you - because He loves you, and you asked.
Some Thoughts About Decision Making
How you make decisions in your life is very important. Not just because right and wrong choices carry significant life impact, but because the way you make decisions reveals who is the Lord of your life. How do you make decisions? Do you just go by gut feel? Do you make the call – right or wrong - and live with it? Do you procrastinate until you have no real choices, so by default the choice is made for you? Even in simple decision making there is God’s Way, and man’s way. God’s way is always best. He’ll show you if you ask.
Kinds of Decision Makers Decisive types: These pride themselves on making a decision and sticking to it - right or wrong. They believe “decision makers make things happen.” These also typically can be prideful comparers of themselves with the "weak" – who ‘can’t make up their mind.'
The problem with decisive types is that they can be decisively wrong - with lasting consequence.
God’s Word for the Decisive Types - James 4:13-15 - Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."
Indecisive types: These struggle in making decisions at all. They often fear making the wrong choice, yet end up being left with no choice. They procrastinate hoping that things will just work out, or they fear disappointing people who may or may not even be affected. But needlessly delayed decisions rarely end up with better results.
God’s Word for the Indecisive Types - I Kings 18:21 - "Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will youhesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word.
God's Way of Making Decisions James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. Psalms 25:12 - Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. Psalms 32:8 - I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Isaiah 48:17 - This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Ephesians 5:17 - So then do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
How to Fill Out your PiVAT Decision Tool Before you begin: Ask God to show you what He wants you to do. Every decision has God’s Way and man’s way.
Decision to be made: Stated Specifically - Clearly define the decision to be made. The decision statement should not include the word or. It should be stated in a ‘do it or not’ format. For example. Not, “Should I buy the red car or the blue car.” Instead. Decision: Should I purchase the red car for $500?
Decision DeadlineDay/Date – Any decision required prior to Or dependent on this one? – Some decisions require another decision to be made first. Ask God which ones. He may want a PiVAT Decision Tool for each of those also. Sometimes you do not have enough information to make a decision. Ask God what additional information is needed in order to discern His will for you; maybe more details about the job, or opportunity...
Delayed Decision: What is the cost of indecision? - If I delay this decision, what is the cost? Ask God, “Is now the time to make a decision on this?” Sometimes a decision is too early – not enough things have transpired. Other times God’s will is quite clear, it’s time to stop praying and start obeying… (PiVAT Decision Tool helps!)
Decision Impact: Risks or consequence of the wrong choice? – It’s good to understand the weight our decisions hold, to guard against making rash ones. If we choose wrong here, what might the consequences be?
Decision Alternatives: Separate PiVAT Decision Tool? - List the decision alternatives specifically. Do nothing is always an alternative – with consequence. What other options are there? Ask God – there are likely alternatives that you have not thought about. Some alternatives merit their own PiVAT Decision Tool.
God’s Word:What Scriptures directly or indirectly address this? God’s work speaks about asking God for wisdom, seeking counsel, patience versus impatience. But God’s Word also contains principles which apply to every decision you will face: money, relationships, sex, work, family, marriage, parenting, legal, professional... Search the Scriptures to see what God says about this decision.
PRO’S Why would I do this (Ask God, He knows) – If God has you move forward with this decision – what are the key reasons why you would do this?
CON’SWhy wouldn’t I do this? (Ask God, He knows) – If God reveals you are not to do this – what are the key reasons why not?
Additional Information: Revelation, Mitigation, Resolution of Outstanding Issues. Further information required? PRO’S and CON’S all have additional information; clarifying positive or negative “offsets” that should be considered. "Flexible hours" – often means evenings and weekends.
Mitigation refers to – how negatives can be minimized or neutralized. Rarely do decisions have zero downside or risk. Resolving the key negatives may be a requirement for moving forward. God can move mountains and remove them, but some mountains are indications of a closed door. Sometimes further information is needed before you can discern God’s will. Usually when God reveals a course of action for you to take regarding a decision – there are things to be resolved – to move forward. At times the CON’S might outweigh the PRO’S ten to one, but God told you to do it, which over-rides the rest.
Caution: God will never have you violate scriptural principles. The end doesn’t justify the means.
Finally, some CONS are Fear, and some PROS are greed – be aware. “It might not work out” is not a legitimate CON (that’s just fear talking). Neither is “God helps those who help themselves.” (not scripture, by the way). Ask God to reveal your motives and to remove emotion, fear, greed, or pride so you can clearly hear his voice.
What would you like to do?And Why? (Is this flesh or spirit?) – It’s good to be honest about what you would really like to do and your motives behind it. Just getting this out on the table (God knows it anyway) lets you step back and take a look at the same decision – from outside of your personal preference. God gives us the desires of our heart, but sometimes he wants to change our desires, so he can grant to us, what is best. Be honest about what you want to do. Then seek Him for what He wants.
Counselors:Whose counsel did I seek? Counsel Given? Does this decision impact them? How? - God’s Word clearly tells us to seek counsel - (Holy Spirit, Spouse, Parents, Godly friends, Professionals). It would be foolish not to seek counsel when facing decisions. Others have been there, have expertise, and want what’s best for you. Ask God for discernment – the best counsel is from Godly obeyers, those who don’t stand to benefit from this decision. You can seek counsel separately, or where possible gather counselors together. One counselor’s idea may spark further insight from others, resulting in a consensus of greater value than individual perspectives.
Consequences: positive or negative that might result – Rarely do decisions have zero consequence – understand what you will face when following God’s will, and ask Him how to address negatives in the way He wants you to.
Confirmation:What would prove this decision right? – What things if they happened would validate your choice?
FINAL DECISION: What is the Holy Spirit telling me to do? How do I know? Is this the right time? Does my spouse agree? Do I have peace?
“I gotta do something” is not the Holy Spirit talking.
Don’t move unless He tells you. If your spouse is not on board, wait for unity, God is bigger than your spouse. Some decisions aren’t easy, but if it’s God, His peace will be there. Answering these - will reinforce your decision even when times get tough.
Remember God's decisions are different than ours. Even His way for us to make decisions is different from ours.
He said He would lead you in the way you should go - and show you the best path for you to take. Seek Him on every decision - big or small. Ask Him and He will tell you.