The Key to Making Wise Decisions
Practical Lessons for Understanding the Word of God
By Charles F. Stanley
How do you make significant decisions? Some people simply give in to the desire of the moment while others carefully consider the pros and cons to make the choice that seems most beneficial. But both of these approaches can be based merely on a person’s preference. The best way to make decisions is to rely on the principles found in God’s Word.
There are two fundamental foundations for making decisions. The first is principle—a fixed or predetermined mode of conduct. For a Christian, it is a moral rule based on the Word of God. That is why we should live by convictions that are grounded in Scripture. For example, the Ten Commandments tell us not to steal, lie, cheat, murder, commit adultery, or worship false gods. Issues such as these should be non-negotiable for believers.
The second source is preference. These are moral choices based on likes and dislikes—whatever seems best in the moment. A person who operates on this basis asks, “What is going to make me feel good, please me, honor me, or benefit me?” He or she is like someone speeding down a dark highway with no center line. Without clear boundaries, that person is in great danger.
Sometimes people fail to align their lives with the Word of God because they fear rejection. They think that if they go against the crowd, others won’t like them. Greed can also lead people astray. They are willing to be dishonest or unkind to make more money or get the promotion they seek. Others compromise. They rationalize sin, which is a quick route to bondage to it. These people fail to consider the long-term effects their choices will have for both themselves and others.
Instead of following our own whims, we should make choices based on indisputable biblical beliefs. Here are a few examples:
- Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. He is more than a good man, a prophet, or a healer; Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6). This principle should be at the basis of every decision.
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God and, as such, is infallible and inerrant (2 Tim. 3:16). We can’t discount certain passages because they are hard to accept. All of Scripture is important and relevant to our lives.
- Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). Believers should not abuse their bodies with destructive things such as drugs, alcohol, or immorality. Instead, we ought to treat them as tools for glorifying God.
- Money is not a god. Accumulating wealth is not our highest priority (see Hebrews 13:5). Everything we have belongs to God, and we should be good stewards of it.
- The proper place for sexual relations is marriage (1 Thess. 4:3-7). Any deviation from this principle will only lead us away from God’s will and create a stronghold for sin in our lives.
Principle or preference—which of these best describes how you make moral decisions? My prayer is that you will choose to live your life based on the unchanging truths found in God’s Word. His guidelines will save you from many kinds of heartache. Will you still experience difficulty? Yes. But obeying Him always results in internal peace and joy, regardless of your external circumstances. Surrender your preferences to God, and let Him show you how to live by His holy, unchanging principles.
Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org