God had created us with the ability to make decisions and he allows us to do so as a witness to His own character. This is part of what it means to be made in the ‘image of God’. Decisions govern the course of life. Obedience to Bible principles and commands is guaranteed to bring blessing just as ignoring divine instructions brings God’s displeasure and punishment (Deut 11:26-28, 28:1ff,15ff).
Decisions always have consequences, good or bad
slavery was the consequence of his choice to be with Delilah, a deceptive woman (Jdg 16:4-21). If we cater to the carnal nature we will reap corruption but if we choose to live God’s way we will be blessed (Gal 6:7,8). After sowing, there will be a reaping. What do you want to harvest?
Foolish impulsive decisions are often short-sighted meeting our immediate desires, yet later bring lingering regret. Don’t allow impatience or confusion to drive you to do what is not right. Patiently wait until you can act rationally in His timing and with His peace. Maintain an eternal perspective in all choices – this is having a long-term wisdom approach (Mt 16:26).
Don’t make major decisions in a hurry. Seek God’s guidance in the choices confronting you (Ps 37:5; Prov 3:5,6). Pray, asking for the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance to discern what His will is (Jas 1:5). Spend extra time in prayer and Bible reading for God reveals His will to us most often in two ways: through His Spirit who “will guide into all truth” (Jn 16:13; 1 Jn 2:20,27); and through His “Word which is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105).
Research the facts, circumstances and seek the advice of Godly people but remember they do not carry the ‘Thus says the Lord’ authority (Prov 15:22, 20:18, 24:6). Provided they are within the parameters of God’s will, many choices we make are neither right nor wrong, such as which clothes to wear today. God expects us to use our brains by wearing what is appropriate for the weather and the nature of the activity. The Bible says, “Consider the path of your feet” – evaluate the possible outcome of this action (Prov 4:26). Wise decisions consider the long-term benefits, not the short-term pain that may be required to achieve it. As we make disciplined ‘Jesus’ choices in the small everyday matters they prepare us to make right choices when the big decisions come and in times of pressure.
God doesn’t prevent us from making wrong decisions if we willfully determine a wrong path – He does not take our freedom away for then we would only be robots. Bad choices will cause pain and unwanted consequences yet if evaluated correctly will prevent similar unwise mistakes in the future (Ps 119:67). The penalty of sin that is truly repented of can be cancelled but there is no escaping the consequences of wrong actions.
We will not know the far-reaching results of our embracing His calling upon our lives when we say like Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant. Be it unto me as you have said” (Lk 1:38). Like Mary, we will be faced with major decisions in key areas during our lifetime, however most are just of a seemingly trivial yet character building nature that have a compounding influence and cumulating affect. While not appearing as ‘a big deal’ they can have disastrous results – as shown by Adam and Eve’s fruit eating episode (Gen 3:1-19). Through deception, they disobeyed God and that decision has affected all humanity by being separated from His highest purposes, living in bondage to sin and independent of God. The results of our decisions may commence immediately or after some time and impact eternity (Rom 14:12; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11-15).
It is essential to have a close relationship with God and to accurately hear His voice and not be pressured by the flesh to act until you know definitely, what His mind on the matter is. Many people have been misled believing ‘God told me’ when in fact it was their own thoughts. With any decisions we make it should be with the same attitude that Jesus had, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). This is acknowledging that we desire His ways which are better than our ways, for although they seem right only end in death (Prov 12:15, 14:12; Isa 55:8,9). As decisions are an act of our will, do we choose to do our will or that of the Lord? God says He will instruct us in His ways, especially if we really want to honour Him (Ps 32:8, 25:12). He blesses the decisions we make that were actually initiated by Him, and therefore line up with the Word, besides those which accomplish His purpose for which we depend on His strength (Ps 119:33; Prov 4:11; Phil 2:13, 4:13).
Even making no decision is still a decision. The greatest choice we can make is to follow Christ (Jn 3:36). Indecision or failing to choose life as God urges sentences people to eternal damnation (Deut 30:15-20; Jn 3:18).
We are the result of our decisions
one who gave His life to redeem us from hell (Josh 24:15; Act 4:19, 5:29). We should make a daily choice to live for Christ, echoing Paul’s words, “I die daily” (1 Cor 15:31). Decide to live for Christ and walk in His ways; this will reflect in your lifestyle and values, that will ‘naturally’ direct your life as you consistently seek to obey Him in all areas.
The quality of life depends on the quality of decisions. Where we are today is the result of decisions made yesterday.
Here are some guidelines for the areas where there is no clear directive from Scripture:
* Which is glorified, God or my own flesh?
* Will it bless or harm others?
* Am I acting lovingly or selfishly?
* Will it in bring others and me closer to Christ?
* What do I believe Jesus would do in the situation?
* What Bible principles give direction in this matter?