John Maxwell said, “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” Daily I make decisions, but I don’t get to choose what happens after I make a choice. For instance, I choose to run a stop sign. I don’t get to choose if I get caught. I don’t get to choose my fine. I don’t get to choose how it impacts my insurance premium. I think you get the point.
The same holds true when I make a good decision. I choose to help my neighbor clean up storm debris in his yard. I don’t get to choose the way he shows gratitude. I don’t get to choose when and how he returns the favor. I don’t get to choose how he views me as his neighbor moving forward. Each decision sets in motion events I have no control over.
The decisions we make are like studs in a wall. We don’t see the studs. We only see the décor studs make possible. I don’t know anyone who wants to make bad decisions. However, a desire to make good choices in life is not enough. Humanity has too many limitations. Selfishness gets in the way. Pride trips us up. Anger is unreasonable. Our ability to see into the future is non-existent…and the list goes on and on. So how do we do it? How do we develop the craft of making good choices? Fortunately, the Bible can help us. Here are 4 things the Bible teaches to help us make good choices.
The choice of right over wrong should not need much explanation, but if it were easy to do everyone would be doing it. We live in a world that disagrees on what is morally right and morally wrong. The disagreement is intensifying and is enough to confuse even the most sincere person. Nailing down which attitudes and actions are right and wrong is truly an important decision. The Bible is my source for moral guidance. It states, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
One of the most important choices we make in life is choosing if we are going to follow Biblical morality. If we do, it becomes our moral GPS. If we don’t, then something else becomes the voice that tells us right from wrong.
Making good choices is not just about choosing right over wrong or good over bad (although that is REALLY important). Good choices also require wisdom. Wisdom is needed for two reasons. First, sometimes a choice is not between good and bad. It is between two morally acceptable options, but only wisdom can help us make the best choice. The second reason we need wisdom is because our choices impact other people. Each choice we make will please some individuals and create chaos for others. Wisdom allows us to keep that in mind and view the impact of our choices on others. In the long run, that helps us make good choices.
Wisdom is not easy to find, but fortunately we have someone who will give it us. The Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5) Whew! God will give us wisdom for all the choices, but that leads us to next step in making good choices.
Because God is GOD, He is going to see things differently than we see them. Therefore, the wisdom He provides will not be what we would think of on our own. Sometimes His wisdom will defy our logic. His wisdom may direct us to choose something we would not naturally choose. His wisdom may call us to do what is best for others even though in the moment it may not be best for us. His wisdom may point us to listen to someone who may not tell us what we want to hear, but it is the advice we need to follow. This should not surprise us. After all, He knows things we don’t know.
His all-knowing and our limitations do not always play well together. Therefore, we have a tendency to doubt the wisdom He gives. When we do this, we shoot ourselves in the foot. The Bible says it this way, “But when you ask [for wisdom], you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:6-8)
If we start doubting the wisdom God gives, we are backed into a corner and forced to start leaning on our own wisdom. As I’ve already mentioned…if making good choices were easy everyone would be doing it. We have to many issues, weakness and faults to consistently make good choices. If you can’t admit this then another problem exists…and it’s called pride. Pride, the belief that we don’t need help and can do it on our own, is the downfall of many people. Fortunately, we don’t have to be arrogant. We can choose to be humble (another important choice). The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
God sets us up to succeed. He gives us everything we need to do what He created us to do, but He will not make us choose right over wrong. He will not force us to ask for His wisdom or to follow it. He certainly does not make us be humble. All of these things are choices we have to make…studs in the wall. No matter what choice we make with these options, once we decide; things are set in motion. We don’t get to choose what happens next.
But guess what? God in His mercy gives us second chances. He gives us the opportunity to make a new choice. If you are breathing, you have a choice. What will you do?