We are constantly making decisions and too often we give little thought to what drives those decisions. The cost can be quite huge in later years.
We discussed in the previous podcast the many questionable ways decisions are made by Christians. That is a must listen to podcast.
Making God-honoring decisions is not hard. It is only hard when you try to use a bad model. But good decisions are easy to make, they just take courage.
Basic Prerequisites to Sound and Wise Decisions:
We must be rightly related to Christ.
Eph 4 tells us not to conduct our lives like the unbelievers. Rather, we learned Christ in a different way, and it is seen in our choices and conduct.
We must be comfortable in acknowledge God’s sovereignty in all things.
To whatever degree you don’t understand God and sovereignty you will stumble in decisions.
Providence is the term used to speak of this in our day-to-day lives. God is present in and through all things we do and don’t do, but He does not reveal to us what that looks like. We discover it looking backwards.
Usually you fall into two extremes, fatalism or folly.
Fatalism is a horrid doctrine that actually makes life an unthinking machine. A process that is mindlessly grinding out its pre-determined end.
Folly is thinking that God is too busy to care about what you are doing and just going with whatever you think is good at the time.
A Decision-Making Grid:
Picture a flow-chart that starts at the top and works its way downward in the process of deciding something. If you learn to practice this you will do well.
These are the imperatives of the bible. Not negotiable. Not suggestions.
This is where what you really believe about God and His Word become evident.
Are you being obedient to the clear statements of God?
Understand what commands are yours to obey.
This gets into theology.
Are we to obey the OT commands for Israel? How you answer that question will be very important. Context of the commands are very important.
Be busy being faithful to those things God has clearly commanded and so many peripheral decisions will simply go away.
God is less concerned with what type of car should you own or if you should pursue a higher education than you think.
But he is blunt and clear about what you are to do with raising your children, loving your wife, submitting to your husband, being a faithful citizen and paying your bills.
True Wisdom is the next step down the decision-making path.
This is not dealing with commands but rather it is learning to use the Scripture in a skillful manner.
This takes work. It requires you to know the bible well.
Note the if -- then construct.
Then in vss 7ff that wisdom becomes something stored up for those who are upright.
This is not merely nice thoughts about being in God’s will. It is a life that is lived daily under a conscious awareness of God’s sovereign, glorious rule and that I walk under His gaze.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that merely knowing the bible is the same thing. It isn’t. Many know the bible but show little skill/wisdom with it.
The third step is understanding our freedom in Christ:
And He said to him, "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matt. 22:37-40 NAU) In other words, you operate under the idea of loving God and others in how you decide.
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Cor. 6:12 NAU)
So ask yourself, How is this profitable?
Is it something that can control me?
"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." (1 Cor. 10:23 NAU)
How is this building up myself or others?
Is this helping me grow into a biblical worldview or hurting it?
Am I living and doing things that are worthy of imitation?
Example: I ask of those wanting to be pastors. Would you like to have a church filled with people just like you and your family? Really?
The final step is so simple that we make it hard.
What do you want to do? What is your desire?
Notice this is the last step.
Stick it anywhere else in the process and you will be sorry later.
Hold to your desires and your “rights” very loosely.
Don’t fall into the trap of reading deeply into things. You do not know the mind of God and He is not going to reveal those things that are secret. They belong only to Him until they are seen looking back.
Sometimes the wise way is very hard and costly. Sometimes it is broad and easy. And it is not uncommon for you to be put to the test by God in this sort of thing.
Don’t create a false dichotomy between spiritual and secular.
When you make a decision, hold onto it lightly and be prepared to change it as you see more insight or conditions change. Don’t get stuck in the thought that once a decision is made that you can’t change your mind.
Keep in mind and approach with care decisions that set in motion long-term effects. Marriage, children, moves, career choices, and education decisions can end up being costly if you just wander around without care. HUGE ISSUE
At first this can be hard, like all things new. But with practice and maturity it becomes easier.
It is a massive gift to help your children think this way when they are young.
Don’t give up. Remember that if you end up doing a bad job that you always can repent, own the error or sin and move on in Christ.