This week I've been thinking about who, and what, we let make our decisions for us. And I've come up with two bad decision makers (besides the obvious emotional ones like anger, discouragement, pride, etc.) and one good one. I think you'll be surprised. So, today, instead of a story with a spiritual point, let's consider, briefly, the things that we shouldn't give the final say when we're making important decisions in our lives. Here are what I propose are the BAD ones:
1) Fear. Did you know that "Fear not!" is the most prevalent command in the Bible? Well, it is, and I think the reason for that is fear makes us stupid. Oh, that sounds harsh, doesn't it. But I think it's true when it comes to making good decisions in life. We're afraid to take a risk, so we don't start that new business. We're afraid to travel, or take off work, or do something new, so we don't try that short term missions trip. We're afraid we'll fail, so we don't try. We get comfortable with the familiar and so don't want to step into the new places God is calling us to. So, I say, BEWARE! When you're making a decision about what to do, what not to do, is it fear that's having the final say?
2) Money. The Bible says we can either serve God or Money, but not both. Usually, we take this to mean that we shouldn't be greedy and pursue money as our ultimate goal. But consider, if we let money be our final decision maker, then we're also letting it be our god. Too often I've heard people say "I can't afford it" to things they really need to do. They let finances excuse them from the best decision. Or, people will excuse sin because "I need the money." So, I say, BEWARE! Don't let money make your decisions for you. Money can be a factor, but not THE factor.
So, what's the good one? Who or what should we put in the top place for making decisions. I know you're expecting me to say God, and of course that's the right answer. But what does it mean? What does God say we should give top priority? Here's what I think:
Here's what Proverbs 2 says:
Proverbs 2:1-12: My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-- every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. 12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse …
So, how to be wise? James 1 says:
James 1:5: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
So, we pray, ask, and try to figure out what's right, what's best . . . even if that thing is what we fear, and even if we can't afford it or need the money. The main question is: What's the right thing to do? After that, we find a way to tame our fears, or to finance what needs to be paid for. We have to find a way to do what's right. Because there's always a way to do the right thing. There's always a way to choose wisdom over fear or finances. Even if the way is narrow.
So, this week, I encourage you, and I encourage me, to think about how you make your big decisions -- to see where fear and finances are taking the top spot instead of God and wisdom. Look for wisdom as for hidden treasure. And fear no one, fear nothing, except for God Himself.
And may all our decisions be wise ones!