The Bible doesn’t explicitly cover every possible situation in life. Sometimes you need to make a decision between options, some big, some little; some good, some bad. You might need to choose between little things like should I have chocolate or vanilla, or you might need to make a decision between something big like who should I marry, which job should I take, which home should I buy? How do we deal with those situations and choices the Bible does not mention.
What are some principles of good decision making the we find in the Bible?
- Seek God’s wisdom first!
“Show me the path where I should walk…point out the right road for me to follow.” Psalm 25:4God’s word gives us a road map for making good decisions…and we’ll talk more about those action steps in just a moment!
- Make sure you have all the facts!
Proverbs 18:13 tells us “What a shame, what folly to give advice before listening to the facts.” I love the Message version of this verse “Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.”
- Be Open to ideas!
Back to Proverbs again….Chapter 18 verse 15: “Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact they look for them. One of the wisest thing you can do when faced with unknown territory is to ask for advice and surround yourself with people who know more than you do.
- Make sure your decision is in line with God’s Word.
Psalm 119:98 “Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for your commands are my constant guide.”We will consistently make better decision when we line up with what God wants in our lives already.
Now, let’s take it to the streets!
Here are some very practical questions you can ask yourself when trying to make your next big or little decision. Like I always say…we can have the knowledge, but unless we know how to apply it, well, they are just nice sounding words!
- Would Jesus give my decision” His stamp of approval?
Would He say “Yes, Jody, you are on the right path and if I were in your place that ‘s the way I’d be thinking as well?” Or would He say “Aye, yai, yai! If you want to go ahead, just don’t mention my name…I don’t want them to think I had anything to do with that!”? “Whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)NLV The Message version says “Let every detail in your lives, words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of Jesus.
If Jesus were watching, what would He think? Would He think it’s a good idea?
- Does this fall into the classification of good thinking, of a wise decision?
Am I thinking clearly? Based on who I am and what I want to be about, is this a wise decision for me to make? Am I making this decision out of the best of who I am or the worst of who I am? We all have in us the capacity to operate out of the worst of who we are. Those places are usually driven by fear and doubt.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly, things to praise, not things to curse.” (Philippians 4:8)
- Will the outcome of this decision produce good results?
You will know you’ve made a good decision when the fruits of it produce good results. That doesn’t necessarily mean than in the process of working out the decision it won’t be difficult, but when you look at the final outcome, your results will look something like this in Galatians 5:22-23″But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
God never promises that making decisions that honor will be easy…so don’t let difficult circumstances, people, places, events, whatever…stand in the way of sticking to God honoring decisions. Often it’s in those circumstances that we are refined and turned into people who can be fully used by God. Easy is never a good substitute for correct. It’s just an added bonus when they line up that way:)
Today we’ll end with this: Sometimes the most difficult choices in life are not those between wrong and right, but choices of what is good and what is best.
We each need to listen to our heart and the prompting on the Holy Spirit to know what things are okay for us to do.
Just because something may not be wrong, does not mean it is right for you at this time and in this situation. You will consistently make good decisions if you are spending time in God’s word and acting on the advice you receive there.
Hebrews 5:14 says this “Solid food is for those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong….and then do what is right.”
…AND THEN DO WHAT IS RIGHT! Six simple words that can take us a lifetime to live out. Remember as you go about this week and your decision making that we live under grace and compassion, but in all things strive to be like the One who created us!
If you’d like me in real time where you get any number of ad libs from my week…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.
Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.
Have a great week!