Spiritual Growth

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Like you, sometimes, I just wrestle with decisions.  Should I?  Shouldn’t I?  Do I?  Don’t I?

Decisions can be so confusing and tough to make.  Sometimes, even more confusing and tougher are undoing decisions we’ve made.  Saying yes and then realizing we should have said no.  Many times, we just continue on with the yes even after we know we shouldn’t!

I was reading Matthew 16:22 and 23 this morning.   Just prior to these verses, Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to suffer just horribly, going to die and then come back to life after three days.  Peter, says, “No way Lord.  Not you.  No way!”.

Jesus instantly responds to Peter so very harshly and says to Peter, “Get away from me Satan.  You are not looking at this through God’s view;but through a human view.”

I’ve long thought Jesus’ response to Peter so harsh.  So, today as I read these verses, I asked Jesus to help me understand his instantaneously passionate rebuke of Peter.  Jesus answered my prayer and here’s what I learned.

Jesus had made up his mind that he would suffer and die.  He made this decision for a couple of really important reasons, reasons we should base our own decisions on whether they be large or small.  1.  He agreed to suffer and die because that is what God wanted him to do.  2.  He agreed to suffer and die because that’s what was in the best interest of eternity.

In order to begin making better decisions, we need to ask better questions!

Here are 4 key questions to ask yourself prior to making decisions.

What does God want me to do?
What does God say about this in the Bible?
What makes the most sense in light of eternity?
Will this matter in eternity?

2.  Jesus replies so strongly and passionately and on the surface rudely to Peter because Peter’s statement offered Jesus the option to consider (be tempted) to not suffer and die!  He responded harshly, not because he was mad or angry at Peter, but because Jesus was both God and human and the human side of Jesus knew it was a slippery slope to even listen for one teeny tiny little second about an option that was other than what God wanted him to do and other than what mattered most in light of eternity.  How many times do we listen to advice, well intentioned advice from those we know love us, that goes against what God would want us to do?  How many times, have we, perhaps not intentionally, offered advice that would permit someone to consider not doing what God has asked them to do?

Sometimes, I make decisions because it “seems” right.  This morning I learned that if it seems right…it’s probably not right and I had better hold off on the decision until I bump the decision up against the four questions above one or two more times!!

Also, with these questions, you can easily talk to a friend or your husband or wife about the decision.  You can say, “Honey, I’m trying to decide about XYZ.  What do you think I should do?  What do you think God wants me to do?  What do you think the Bible has to say about this?”  This really helps those who love you, to shape  advice based on the same principles you want to follow!

I used to be the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for a small Wichita company.  I use the title with tongue in cheek and not as a point of pride because as the EVP I had many, many decisions to make. I often had to make decisions rapidly and in areas I had not much knowledge about or experience in.  I requested and was granted the opportunity to hire a consultant.  While he was a very, very smart man, in the end, he did not offer me wise advice because his advice didn’t match up with God’s ways and God’s words.  However, from this consultant, I did learn that the ability to make great decisions more frequently is what separates the good from the great!  The consultants’ advice may not have been the best but his insight into the importance of more frequently making great decision  was.

So, I’d like you to accept a challenge that I’ve taken on as a challenge myself!  For the next 2-3 days, bump every decision up against these questions. If you want to, even review prior decisions up against these questions and perhaps, for some of them you can change your mind before it is too late. Conversely, prior to offering advice, bump your advice up against these questions.  Let me know what happens and I’ll do the same!!

Ask yourself these four questions for every decision, no matter how small.
What does God want me to do?
What does God’s word tell me to do?
What makes most sense in light of eternity?
Will this matter in eternity?

Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!

Prior to giving advice and while listening to advice, stop and pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you so that you offer advice that lines up with God’s word and that does not tempt someone to do something other than what God wants them to do. Listen to advice you are given in light of the 4 questions.

James 1:19 tells us:
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Prayer
Dear Jesus:  I pray that you will help us to have the courage to do as God wants us to do. Help us to know what God wants of us.  Help us to learn God’s word so we know what God wants.  Help us to not fear or worry but instead to see the big picture – eternity!  You’ve promised to keep us “on track” if we listen and follow God’s voice.  Thank you for guiding us and keeping us safe.

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