Decisions made Simple – Tim Chester
A Quick Guide to Guidance
by Zara Graham
‘Decisions made simple’ is a short and sweet book written by Tim Chester. It’s divided up into 4 easy-to-read chapters and is only around 70 pages long. I am absolutely terrible at reading- I always have been, and I probably always will be. But this book was a great little nugget which I found very practically useful.
The first chapter defines the Will of God, and explains the differences between God’s sovereign, moral and specific will. It highlights that we shouldn’t be anxious when it comes to making decisions, because everything that happens has already been planned by God. Nothing is out of His control.
Tim Chester talks about how people will try to wait or look for ‘signs’ from God before they make decisions. He highlights how stressful this can be for us, we are “so concerned not to step out of God’s will that we hesitate to ever step forward”. However, we shouldn’t wait for a word to tell us what to do, instead, we should obey the word we already have. The Bible is the word of God, it is God- given and God- breathed (2 Tim 3 v16-17). We should look to the Bible to find out God’s will for our lives.
The second chapter focuses on the family of the church. It talks about our identity, and how the world today is so focused on being individual. We are encouraged to face inwards and to only focus on ourselves. However, God teaches us through his word that we need to turn to face outwards. Our God is a relational God, He is a community of persons. God is a Trinity, the Father, Son and Spirit living together.
Tim Chester points out that the creation story reflects this, in Genesis 1 v26-27 it says, “Let us make man in our image…” It tells us that God is plural and communal. As we are created in God’s image, we have also been created to be part of a community. But, God’s image in us is now distorted by our sin. We can be selfish and jealous, and this ruins our relationships. However, all is not lost. Jesus is the one true mediator, who brings both God and humanity together.
As a result, Jesus can reconcile us to God, we are adopted into God’s family and reconciled with Him and to each other. The cross and the resurrection humble us, it breaks down our pride and our hostilities towards others. We have a new identity in Christ, we are now a family.
The ‘Priorities of the Gospel’ section is the final chapter in the book and is very interesting. It tells us that we should ensure that our priority when making decision is gospel focused. We shouldn’t make decisions based on what lifestyle we want, instead we should make decisions based on our church and its mission.
We should look to others in our Christian community, the church, for gospel wisdom. Other people can have so much knowledge and advice to share about making decisions. We should also examine our motives and ensure our motives are for Christ to be glorified and not for our own selfish desires.
Even if we have made a bad decision, we can be assured that our God is gracious and loving. Tim Chester writes, “Whoever, whatever and wherever you find yourself, follow him.” God is in absolute control of our situation and He has placed you where you are now.
In closing, I found this book really helpful, especially the decision-making checklist at the end. I have been able to see that being anxious over big decisions does not help. Instead, we should turn outwards, face our God and our community and talk and pray about decisions. We aren’t alone in making decisions, we have a good and gracious God who is with us every step of the way.