I recently had the great privilege of speaking to our Student Ministry (ages 12-18) at Southern Hills Baptist in Las Vegas. I shared several scriptures that I had learned at their age. These passages speak of wisdom and choices, and though I have not always been faithful to follow these important truths, they have guided me throughout my life and brought incredible blessings that I would have never seen otherwise.
Teenagers are not the only ones who are preparing to make major decisions. Therefore, I share with you what was shared with me. Listen, learn, and live.
Your Life will be the Outcome of Decisions YOU Make!
Therefore, you’d better do the following…
1. Find the Facts
Isn’t it amazing how life can be altered so dramatically by one bad decision? I know a woman who lost her family after one night of partying on the Las Vegas Strip. I know a man who almost quit his job to follow a silly multilevel marketing scam. I know a teenager who dropped out of college because he had to support his pregnant girlfriend. What do these 3 have in common? They all rushed into making a stupid decision without gathering all the facts.
Proverbs 19:2 That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.
Here we see an individual who rushes into a situation because his soul was without knowledge. Do you have a major decision to make? Have you done your research? I’m not talking about blindly trusting an individual who sounds legit. I’m not talking about giving into a friend who is begging you to “relax” and protesting “it’s not that big of a deal.” Be careful decision maker, there are verifiable facts that need to be ferreted out and studied closely before you make this major decision. One of the reasons we don’t like to find the facts is because we know, deep down, we will discover the truth. And there we go down the street, blind to our ignorance, walking toward a cliff.
2. Consider the Consequences
Have you asked, “What if?” What if he finds out? What if she gets pregnant? What if he’s exaggerating? What if things go too far?
Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
The wise person is looking several steps ahead. Like a Chess Master, she is playing several moves ahead of everyone else and is prepared for the consequences of her decisions. When the Bible says, “the folly of fools is deceit,” it is saying that the fool is not only easily deceived but is also willing to be deceived. The fool doesn’t want to see the truth for there is security in his deception. Please, my dear friend, ask… “What if…”
3. Ponder a Plan
How? This is the question of the moment. Now that you have all the facts and have considered the consequences (if you refuse to do steps 1 & 2, step 3 is quite worthless), it is now time to conceive a plan. How will this big decision be accomplished? How will you get into that college? How will you go for that promotion? The fool thinks when walking into a large house with beautiful furniture and stylish decor, “This person really caught a few breaks. This person must be lucky.” Yet the Scriptures teach differently:
Proverbs 24:3-4 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
You see, this man conceived a plan, drew up a blueprint, and executed his plan. Do you have a plan or are you winging it, hoping it will all turn out in the end?
4. Collect Counsel
Have you taken time to seek counsel from those who can be trusted? It should be understood that your first counsel ought to be with the Lord in prayer. However, this does not negate the importance of other counsel.
Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.
Here is a phrase that we all need to memorize and use often, “What do you REALLY think I should do?” The reason we must be this specific is because many people will not give genuine counsel unless pressed to do so. In our current culture we don’t want to offend or get into other people’s business, so we simply step back and watch people fall. This is preferred above being called nosy and negative. Therefore, if you truly desire the advice of someone, get some alone time and ask them, “What do you REALLY think I should do?”
The second, and perhaps the most telling, is “What would you do if you were me?” Now you are getting to the heart of the matter. If you respect how this individual’s life seems to be going, then they might be a wise person. If they are wise and you are not sure you are making a wise decision, it would be good to see what they would do in a similar situation. If you can find 5 people you consider wise and ask each of them what they would do and they all give you the same answer, it’s a good chance you will now know what direction you should take. (Proverbs 24:6)
V. Relax – Trust God
The final step in this process is to simply trust in God. If it’s of God, it will happen.
I Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
God has a plan for your life and sometimes He will guide you in a way that doesn’t seem like the right choice. Sometimes these paths will even lead to temporary disappointment and heartache as in the life of Joseph. However, you must remember, if you have used the 4 biblical steps found above, you can trust that God will guide and direct you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
My dear friend and ministry partner, Fred, once told me… “Faith is obeying God even when the answer is not what you wanted to hear.” I think that is very good advice.
Are you facing any major decisions right now? Which of the 5 keys do you find most difficult to use? Why do you think we make such poor choices and bad decisions?