Are you ready to choose? Life is a succession of decisions, punctuated by choices. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that the mind of man plans his way. Ephesians 5:15 admonishes us to be careful or circumspect in how we walk. We are instructed in this verse that the way to do this is to walk in wisdom. Everyday we have choices to make from what time will I go to bed and get up, to what will I eat and wear, to how will I treat others and handle responsibilities, to what will I give my attention to and meditate on, to what will I do with the time and resources I have today. All these are gifts from God that he desires us to be wise and careful with. As Ephesians 5:16 says, He calls us to, “Make the most of our time.”.
God is good – all good, and so everything he calls us to is ultimately good for us. He do not call us to a life of regret but an abundant and fruitful life. Now let’s be clear this doesn’t mean that all wise decisions will always lead us to immediate gratification. I have counseled many spouses in tough marriages struggle with the fact that God and His Word called them to choose to trust Him for future happiness and do good to their spouse in present trials. Many wise decisions require us to delay gratification to gain superior gratification. But God’s Word repeatedly promises if we follow His Word which is His wisdom consistently in our decision makin, we will experience God’s goodness in fullest measure! The author of pleasure calls us to pursue pleasure – a pleasure that doesn’t sacrifice on the altar of the immediate, the joy of the eventual and eternal. God wants to lead us to making the most of everything we have been given. The fruit of consistently applied wisdom will not disappoint us in the fruit, unlike the fruit of the fool talked of repeatedly in Proverbs.
The first step in learning to make wise decisions is wanting to make wise decisions. I have never known of anyone one who consistently went against immediate gratification unless they were consistently convinced it was leading to an eventual superior gratification. This is why I have developed a list of verses on the superior gratification of consistent, wise decision making. I encourage you to print it out and use it for your life and for those you counsel, to reinforce every step of obedience and wise decision needing to be taken each day.
To consistently make wise decisions you must learn to recognize foolish decision making. Below I have listed five poor decision makers. When you are struggling to determine what God wants you to do in a tough or tempting situation, read through each of the five decision makers below and ask yourself, “What decision would this type of decision maker make in my situation?” This can help you avoid the misery of the fool and instead experience the goodness of God.
They choose first and think later. They do not seek biblical guidance or wisdom on decisions. They may even choose against the counsel of wise advisers in their life and even “common sense” to attain their desire. This approach reveals an idol of the heart and is often based on immediate gratification. This reveals a lack of trust in the Lord, not believing that following His will, in the end, will make them happiest. They seek material, emotional or relational pleasure or relief outside the counsel of the Word and will of God.
The “Spiritualizing” Fool
They make unwise decisions and then justify them by claiming it is God’s will. They may even say that the Holy Spirit led them to do this even though it be clearly an unbiblical decision in a relationship, purchase, or manner of life. They go against wisdom and prudence based on a number of wrong views on knowing the will of God like, “God speaks outside of His Word” or “favorable circumstances prove a decision to be the will of God.” They have the same heart as that of a fool but it is cloaked in false spirituality and unbiblical theology.
They cannot decide between two options, fearing either one may end up being the “worst” choice. The potential good and the potential risk of each seem too close for them to make a call, resulting in passivity and non-decision. They do not decide at all or in a timely manner. Unfortunately and unintended, their fear of making the perfect decision leads them to reaping the same harvest as that of a sluggard due to the fact that they neglected to act responsibly before God as His steward in a timely manner. Their carefulness in a decision actually reveals an idolatrous desire for perfection and an inordinate desire to avoid discomfort or suffering in a given area. They must accept that wise and obedient decisions do not necessarily lead to earthly comfort or success, but they always please God and this always lead them to greater internal and eternal comfort and success from God.
The Lazy & Distracted
The lazy and distracted may determine what is wisest and know what would please the Lord in a given area but they do not diligently follow through or execute the plan. They may talk much about needing to do or plan how to go about doing, but never get to it (Prov 14:23). They often want quick results (Prov 21:5) and are feeling-oriented (Prov19:24; 26:15). They must nurture faith in the Word of God and meditate on clear pictures of future pleasure from God (both in regards to the next season of life and in the eternal pleasures if heaven) to motivate greater diligence in knowing and doing the will of God in neglected areas of their life (2 Peter 1:3-11; 1 Tim 4:10). This will most effectively be done by main friends with those who are strong in faith-motivated decision makings vs feeling-oriented decision making (Prov 13:20; Heb 10:24-25; 3:12-13; Phil 3:17).
The Independent & Boastful
The independent decision maker is inflexible, a perfectionist, proud and often prayer-less in decision-making, planning and execution (James 4:13-16). They are more concerned about following their plans and goals than in accomplishing the ultimate goal of goals – glorifying God and loving others in the process (1 Cor 16:14; 1 Tim 1:5; 1 Cor 13:1-4). They must learn that it is from the mouth of the Most High that success or failure in any endeavor ultimately comes and not in their effort (Lam 3:37-38; Ps 127:1-2; Prov 3:5-6). They must make their ambition to please the Lord in the way the seek to get things done, not just in getting things done. In other words they must seek to do the will of God in a fuller manner – in both the planning and the process. They must leave to God the results so they they do not become results-oriented above God-and-others oriented.
If you or someone you know is struggling with wise decision making, we are here to help. Request an appointment today with one of our biblical counselors.
The other option we would offer is to watch our two session training on “Wise Decision Making“.
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