Sunday, February 12, 2012

8-Point Checklist for Decision-Making

[This is taken from my sermon for February 12, 2012.]

Here’s a (far from perfect) eight-point checklist you might want to use when you’re confronting any decision in your life. These might help you to invite God's Holy Spirit into the process to give you Godly self-control:
  • If the decision will take you down the easy path, you probably shouldn’t take it. Jesus says in Matthew 7:13-14, “…the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction…the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life...” 
  • If what you're considering doing is what you want to do, you probably shouldn’t do it. Proverbs 14:12 and other Bible passages tell us: “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” The key is not to rely on your own thinking or common sense, but on the wisdom God freely gives to those who ask for it
  • If your prospective decision appeals to your ego, watch out. 1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Ask yourself, “Will this decision glorify God?”
  • If your feelings are leading you to a decision, you may want to avoid it. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God reveals that: “The heart is devious above all else…”  Unless we, in the words of Psalm 51, are praying regularly and submissively for “a clean heart…and…a new and right spirit within…,” it’s almost always wrong to base our decisions on what we feel. 
  • If a trusted Christian friend warns you against a prospective decision, reconsider it. Proverbs 24:6 tells us that “in abundance of counselors, there is victory.” 
  • If you haven’t sought the counsel of at least one Christian friend, you may be about to make a bad decision. Jesus told Nicodemus that a sinful world refused to come to Him, the light of the world; instead, they huddled in darkness because they didn’t want their evil to be exposed. If we're not willing to share the decision we're contemplating with at least one other follower of Jesus Christ, we need to ask ourselves what we're hiding and why.
  • Is this decision designed to please others, not God. Paul says bluntly in Galatians 1:10: “If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” As followers of Jesus Christ, our decisions should not be driven by the opinions of others, even if the opinion in question is that of just one other person.
  • Finally, never make a decision if you haven’t been regularly reading God’s Word and praying. Jesus says that wise people build their lives on Him alone. And the Psalm tells us that God’s Word is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet. When we make decisions without regularly reading God's Word and regularly talking things over with God, we are flailing in the dark.

In my life as a Christian, I have made good and bad decisions and because I'm as human as the next person and so, as inclined to forget God and all that He has done for me, I will, as long as I'm breathing, undoubtedly make more bad decisions. Thank God for the forgiveness and reconciliation God offers to all who come in the Name of Jesus in genuine repentance, seeking God's forgiveness and renewal in their lives.

I know this: If we make good, Godly decisions, we have less to regret than when we have when we go our own ways.

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