Decision Making – Taking Risks
Ben struggles with decision making. The make of his next car, a potential career change, or a commitment to a long-term relationship, only compound Ben’s anxiety. If only our decisions were risk-free, guaranteeing us the best desired outcome! Decision making forces us to:
- accept responsibility for the success or failure of our choice
- experience first-hand how that decision helps or harms others
- identify the most reliable source of wisdom that equips us for making those decisions.
Decision Making – Out of Your Mind!
Decision making based only on human nature frequently produces serious consequences. When our selfish impulses influence choices, disaster soon follows. In the Bible, Abram (Abraham) offered his nephew, Lot, the choice of the whole land that rightfully belonged to Abram (Genesis 13:8-11). Lot made his decision without concern for Abram. Lot’s selfish desire for the most fertile, well-water plains caused him to settle near the wicked and sinful Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram, on the other hand, trusted in the promise of God (Genesis 12:1-3, 7) regardless of what Lot decided. Decision making based on God’s promises and commands always provides us with peace.
When we exclude God from our decision making, we intentionally ignore God’s instructions. “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. But those who choose their own ways, delighting in their sins, are cursed . . . I will send great troubles against them—all the things they feared . . . When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned—before my very eyes—and chose to do what they know I despise” (Isaiah 66:2-4, NLT). Our pride and selfishness suggests, “I’ll take this course of action. If God doesn’t stop me, it must be okay.” Instead, God’s direction and wisdom must be sought before we make any decision.
- Your Mind – Results in impetuous choices (1 Corinthians 3:18-19).
- Peer Pressure – Produces confusion and failure (Jeremiah 7:24).
- God’s Mind – Gives supernatural wisdom to you (Proverbs 2:3-8).
Decision Making – A Humbling Experience
One of the most difficult factors in decision making is humbling oneself, admitting that you don’t know it all or that you’ve failed. King David experienced first hand how his decision resulted in Israel being punished. Following David’s disobedience, God gave him three choices of punishment -- famine, destruction by his enemies, or plague (1 Chronicles 21:7–15). David based his next decision on God’s mercy. David understood that submitting to God’s commands was the right choice, even when it was painful.
We all make costly mistakes, decisions that we wish we never made. Moses ignored God’s instructions (Numbers 20:8-12), Samson surrendered his strength (Judges 16:17-21), and Peter repeatedly denied knowing Jesus Christ (John 18:25-27). Each of these mighty men humbled themselves by asking for God’s forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The journey in any decision making may be a difficult and lengthy one. By trusting in God’s plans for our lives, we experience peace in the storms of life. Any decision that draws us closer in our relationship with God assures success (Jeremiah 29:11-13). When we surrender our will (pride and selfish motives) to God’s will, He gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 27:3-5).
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