Rules for Making Good Decisions
I teased a friend once, a friend who was having a terrible time deciding what to order at the restaurant, ‘You need to choose. The waiter came to the table clean shaven and he’s grown a full beard waiting for you.” It’s not always easy to make good decisions is it? Here’s some suggestions for those who are scratching their head, wondering what to do.
Making a reactionary decision? Not smart!
‘I’m so mad I’m going to …” ‘I’ll show them …” ‘If that’s the way it’s going to be, I’ll just …” ‘What else can I do? …” ‘I just don’t see any other way …” ‘What an opportunity! …” ‘Mmmm … yummy! … I know I shouldn’t but …”
‘Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” (James 1:19-21, The Message) “…for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (NIV)
Your emotions figure into the decision-making process but there’s much more to it than that.
Decisions should be based on what God wants””He’s the boss!
Make decisions in accordance with His Word. Study it. Look for principles or passages that speak directly to situations like yours. Be sensitive to His direction in our hearts. Since we aren’t infallible we should also ask advice from wise friends who are walking close to the Lord. They aren’t always right either but they can help us clarify things.
Decisions should be based on faith in God and not ‘reality.”
King Saul beleaguered David until the young warrior said, ‘If I stay here, Saul is going to kill me,” so he moved his base to Ziklag in the land of the Phillistines. But God had told him to stay in Judah. He was just being ‘realistic” wasn’t he? When we know we’re obeying God there will be times that we have to act against our natural inclinations. If God says, ‘Stay in Judah!” Stay in Judah. Here again, wise counsel from Godly people can help us to sort things out. David listened to ‘common sense” instead of God’s word to him. Common sense definitely has its place and how I wish more of God’s people would show a little bit of it, but there are times we simply have to walk in faith in what God has said.
Sometimes we make adult-children decisions.
We love to be little children and snuggle up to God. ‘Take care of it Lord. I’m resting here in your arms.” The goal isn’t that we be continually little kids. Sometimes we have to act like adult children in the family business. The Father has taught us our job so we don’t need to be counseled at each step. We know what to do. If we’re confused about something we go to the Father. Paul had a missionary plan of action from God. He went to influential cities and started churches. He went first to the synagogue, then to the market place or people’s homes. He didn’t have to beg God for direction each time. If the Father wanted him to do differently, He said so. I used to be on a board of directors of a Christian organization. It seemed that each year we came to our annual meeting seeking, ‘A new word from God.” It could have been that the Lord was still waiting for us to do what He told us last year. Walk close to God. If He wants something new He’ll tell us. How? Sometimes it’s an uneasiness in our heart. Sometimes it’s a passion that springs up there to right a wrong or meet a need. God can speak directly into the deepest part of us. He can open doors or shut doors. Trials can be God’s voice telling us that we’ve gotten off track, though they can also be the enemy trying to get us off track (figure that one out). How do you know the difference. See Him. Ask Him. Knock on the door! People often pray spontaneous, individual prayers during the prayer time of French evangelical church services. Sunday morning as I prayed, I listened as others lifted their voices, one after another to worship God. I didn’t have to see their faces if I knew them. The sound of their voice identified them as clearly as their fingerprints. The more you walk with the Lord Jesus and hang around him, the easier it is to recognize His voice. And when you know it’s him, do it! ___________________________
Hmmm… “Defend the Bible? I would just as soon defend a lion. Just turn the Bible loose. It will defend itself.” – Charles Spurgeon