The Deadly Danger of Indecision

by Thomas Thornhill

If someone were to ask me what is the most discouraging thing I have encountered as a preacher I would reply, "The deadly danger of indecision." Not only preachers but any person who has spent time trying to teach the word of God to a lost soul knows just what I am talking about. The teacher has presented the truth with sincerity and love to one that is lost, pleading for the lost one to purify his soul by obeying the truth, being born again (I Peter 1:22-23; John 3:3,5). Then, at the conclusion the deadly danger of indecision pops up. The person who has been taught says, "I am undecided. I can't make up my mind at this time." Because of indecision, obedience is delayed until another time.

I can only imagine how discouraged Paul felt with the response of Felix after he had reasoned with him "about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come." Even though Felix was afraid he fell prey to the deadly danger of indecision. He said to Paul "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you" (Acts 24:25).

In the encounter of Elijah with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel in I Kings 18 we see how this deadly danger of indecision affected Israel. Israel had turned away from Jehovah to serve idols. Isaiah opposed this and as a result was accused by King Ahab of being "a troubler of Israel." Elijah replied "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals" (I Kings 18:18). Ahab then gathered the prophets of Baal to meet Elijah on Mt. Carmel and Isaiah challenged the people, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. But the people answered him not a word" (I Kings 18:21). They could not make up their minds what to do. They were undecided.

This brings me to the point of my lesson. The danger of indecision leads to the danger of delay which will be fatal if not corrected in time. If you are standing today in the valley of indecision about becoming a Christian you are standing on dangerous ground. Let me issue the challenge of the prophet of old. How long will you falter between two opinions? If Jesus is the Savior then obey Him (Luke 6:46; Hebrews 5:9). At this time you are partly for God and partly against Him. You are divided in your attentions. Your attitude is divided. Your affections are divided. You may not intend to be against Christianity, but you are, if you are not for it. If you have never become a Christian you are still lost. No matter what you think, your indecision means you are against Him. Jesus said, "He that is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad" (Matthew 12:30). You are either for the Lord, obedient and active in His service or you are against Him. God and Jesus demand that we give them first place in our hearts or none at all.

One may say, "I am a good person. I don't act like a wicked sinner. I live better than some who claim to be Christians." But, how much of a recommendation is that to God? I don't care how good you are, or how good I am, none of us are good enough to be saved without becoming a Christian. If salvation is based on goodness then no one can be saved. Period! "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romands 3:23).

Think about this. Even if you are a good person outside the church of the living God, where is your influence? In your indecision you are a worse enemy to the cause of Christ than the out and out wicked sinner. Why? Because of your influence. The community knows the ungodly man and has little respect for him or his opinions. But, you, being a person of good character, but not a Christian, are seen as a respectable citizen and others (whether you aware of it or not) are following your lead in delaying obedience. Your indecision has an influence on them since they are following your life.

You might say, "But becoming a Christian will not make me a better person." That is the purely human view. Salvation is offered on the basis of accepting Christ and complying with His commands, not on moral goodness. No matter how good you think you are there is sin in your life that needs forgiveness and the only way to obtain forgiveness is through the atoning blood of Jesus' blood (I Peter 1:19; Ephesians 1:7). To be saved you must obey, for Jesus only saves those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). Obedience to the gospel is not designed to make you a better person (though it will), it is designed to give you forgiveness of sins so you one day will be glorified before the throne of God. Remember when Naaman came to Elisha to be cured of leprosy, he was eventually cleansed, but not until he obeyed Elisha's command. But dipping seven times in the river Jordan didn't make him a better man. He was a good man before he came to be healed and the cleansing of leprosy did not affect his moral standing. But, he would have remained a good man with leprosy if he had not done as he was commanded to do. In the same way God offers forgiveness of sins based on certain conditions. One must believe and be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Obeying these conditions will not change the nature of man, but it does make one a Christian. The reformation of life (the fruits of repentance) comes after.

Not only will indecision cause you to be lost in eternity, it has many side effects in this life. Indecision is a waste of energy. Have you ever got up some morning without any definite plans? There are several things to do, so you say I will do this - no, I will do this, and I think I will do this, but by the end of the day you really have accomplished nothing. You started with indecision and ended with inactivity.

This inactivity leads to another danger, that of wrong action. Pilate's indecisiveness about the innocence of Jesus finally led him to wash his hands and condemn Jesus to be crucified. His lack of courage to do right caused him to do wrong. So indecision leads one not only to inactivity, then wrong action which soils one's character, it can eventually result in the wrong destiny. Indecision can eventually lead you so far away from God that you will find it impossible in your heart to have the courage to become a Christian and when you die to be lost forever. I hope you consider seriously the dangers of indecision.