The Key to Making Tough Business Decisions

Recently a gentlemen in Europe sent me the following request through my website contact page.

He had just made a very tough business decision and asked my perspective on his decision.

Here is his decision and my response.

His Decision

“I received an enquiry from a tobacco company to work with their emerging leaders but I turned it down as it violates my values to work with a tobacco company. My question to you today is should a Christian work with any tobacco or alcohol companies? I know that this all boils down to personal values but I’d love to hear your views on this.”

My Response

“Simple put – the BEST response to your question is to …. #BeLed by Holy Spirit.

This is NOT an “avoid giving an answer” answer, but it is the BEST way to approach ANY decision, be it a tough one like yours or even an easy one like, “What should I wear today?”

As simplistic as it sounds, Holy Spirit does know everything about everything – past, present, and future. He will ALWAYS put you in the right place at the right time and will NEVER put you in the path of the enemy.

So it really does boil down to this – dig deep into your communion time with the Lord and ask for His direction.

Sometimes the answer is in a still, small voice – sometimes in an immediate and loud “NO” in your spirit.

As I write in Our Unfair Advantage, it really is a matter of making the “Big Switch” from being head-led, idea-led, money-led, opportunity-led, and more to always and only being Spirit-led.

It seems to me you did exactly that. Therefore, if your decision was indeed based upon what Holy Spirit was telling you to do, give glory to God.

If not, then learn from this decision and NEXT TIME, take it all to the Lord and do not be moved by what others say.”

Simple Yet Tough

To some this (relying on Holy Spirit) sounds simple, yet the truth is that it’s very tough.

  • It goes against conventional business wisdom.
  • It goes against our flesh and natural response to business.
  • It appears to make us look weak, indecisive, even “stupid” in other people’s eyes.

Yet none of these things need move us (Acts 20:24).

Stand firm. Wait on the Lord. He will answer.

About Dr. Jim

Dr. Jim Harris is President of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award winning business books.


  • Great answer! I mean “Who in their right mind would argue with being led of the Spirit!”

  • Eric Snyder says:

    You pointed out I Cor. 2:14 & 15 to me one time and they are now a favorite section of Scripture when wrestling with tough decisions. Thanks again!!

    • Dr. Jim says:

      So good Eric. I’ve been “pleasantly stuck” on 1 Corinthians 2 now for weeks – powerful revelations for guys like me in the the coaching and advising business.

  • I love this statement “It appears to make us look weak, indecisive, even “stupid” in other people’s eyes.” … Thank you for speaking into my heart today! I’ve been dealing with this in my business and it’s hard to keep doubt at bay when others around you are not Spirit led and judge your decisions. Thank you, thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone, this can be hard but more than anything… it’s worth it!

    • Dr. Jim says:

      You are so welcome Tina. So encouraging to me to read this simple, powerful testimony of exhortation. Keeps my “pumped” to keep on “pumping out” more of His revelations to me …. as the Spirit leads me :-)

  • Gerry Dagonese says:

    Well said Dr. Jim; it is truly the only (and best answer) yet one that seems so foreign to those used to doing things under one’s own strength rather than the strength of the only one could — and does — see around the corners of our lives. Only He knows where all the “chess pieces” are positioned and where they will go next. Only He knows the true destination He has in mind for the businesses and for the opportunities provided to touch lives for His kingdom purposes. It is so exciting and rewarding to know the God of this universe allows us to partner with Him to effect those purposes while at the same time bringing us to new levels of trust and faith in Him. And the times we are privileged to witness the outcomes, it is such a blessing to see the manifestation of His plans and our decisions to be obedient to His leading.

    • Dr. Jim says:

      Even better said Gerry! Your “chess pieces” analogy is brilliant – perfect illustration of His overall plans are ultimately designed for us to win — but only if we submit and are willing to make His moves for His glory. Thank you so much for commenting – yours will bless so many who read these posts.

  • Gerry Dagonese says:

    Thank you Dr. Jim. Blessings and thank you for your faithfulness to bring such important truths to the forefront.

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