Sunday, March 5, 2017

Wisdom Seekers-Part 1

(Making Decisions in the Center of God’s Will)
“If anyone lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” –James 1:5
I have always secretly been jealous of decisive people. It’s like they know exactly what they want without even having to ponder for days about it and they don’t even have second thoughts or what ifs.
I am not naturally one of these souls. It’s an art I have had to study. And maybe a little reflection isn’t bad, that is, as long as you make the decision this decade.
The thing about decisions is they are always going to be around. Impulse action is not always smart, but neither should you fear taking action. After making some not so great decisions, or at least some I could have done better ones, I decided to seek advice in decision making skills. I wanted to be better at it. I also found myself suddenly facing a pretty big decision with no real clue as to how to hear God’s will and it prompted me to search for wisdom.
I often wish I had a roadmap for things in life that I have had to learn the good old fashioned hard way. Our generation is informationally advanced, yet wisdom deficient. And if I’ve learned something I can pass along, I will. Let’s think of this as a little chat over coffee and delve into what God is trying to tell us.
One of the best articles I’ve found was titled “How to Make Right Decisions” by Chris Russell where he talks about how to stay in the middle of God’s perfect will by making dynamic choices. His article contains a series of questions to consider when in the decision making process that I think are great. I want to list them and give my own thoughts in this series of blogs. Please also visit the original article as a lot of it comes from there.
1) Does God already have a clear teaching about this?A lot of times this seems simple. We know we shouldn’t do things like murder because it breaks God’s commandments and really isn’t a very nice thing to do. But what about when the lines blur, like a little white lie or it’s what everyone else is doing. I think the important thing here is to ask where your teaching and your viewpoint comes from. The world offers a lot of advice and ideas these days, but only the Word of God stands on complete truth. Right and wrong is not determined by society but by scripture. Ponder if your thoughts are anchored in Biblical teaching or by what society deems right and wrong. Go to the Bible—it offers amazing details, stories and truths that help you live the best life possible.
2) What do my top spiritual advisors tell me about this?I used to think I was smart enough to make my decisions on my own, but I was failing to see that seeking others advice offers alternative perspectives. Someone else may see something you never would have thought of; they may be able to protect you on your blind side. I went to all my prayer warriors recently in a tough decision and it was so great to have the security of friends praying and speaking into me. The key is also not only to ask others, but to go to the right others. Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has advice that will speak life into the situation. Make sure to surround yourself with Godly wisdom from people who know truth and who have already made successful choices in their life.

3) What do authority figures in my life have to say about this?

I imagine the teens and young adults rolling their eyes at this one but let’s be honest, as much as we think we know about life, those who have been around and experienced more usually know better than we do. Authority covers a wide range—it isn’t just your parents but also God, your pastor, your teacher, the law, etc. Wisdom is certainly a benefit of time and experience. Use that advantage from the people in your life!
4) How will this affect me spiritually?“There is much more to life than earning a bigger paycheck or improving your status. Make sure you consider how the decision will affect your spiritual development. Will this draw you nearer to God or further from Him? Will this decision interfere with your ability to attend church, maintain Godly relationships, or spend time cultivating your spiritual disciplines? If it harms you spiritually, consider pulling the plug on that choice” (Chris Russell).
5) How will this affect my family? Will it draw us closer to God or further from God?Whether you have your family to consider or not, your actions will always affect others. They just simply do. It has been said you are the composite total of the five people you spend the most time with and you can bet those people in your life will feel the weight of your decisions. Make sure your priorities are right and that you are leading those in your life towards God and not becoming a stumbling block. Parents lead your kids to choose what is right, not what is popular. Your children are watching to see how you decide to speak, how you spend your time, how you spend your money, how you treat others, how you trust God, if your actions and words match and how you live day to day. Make the decision to walk out what you preach!
6) Is this going to bring more peace or less peace to my life?
There is a lot to be said for having peace. I would consider long and hard what you are possibly trading peace for because it is a precious gift we often self decline. You don’t have to choose a life full of worry, stress, debt, stuff, etc. You can choose to live without or give up something. We can have peace amidst the chaos and storms of life by walking with Jesus, but we also hold the ability to improve or hinder our levels of peace by the decisions we make. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. If it means an early grave, take a lower paying job. If it means God’s plans or ours, follow God’s. Hold on to peace; it far outweighs whatever you might be surrendering for it.
I love these questions. I think they should be answered and evaluated often. Of course the commentary is merely my advice, and you can take it or leave it. But please use this week to mull over these questions and let God speak to you as He did to me. Let us practice making the best decisions possible. Tune in next week for part 2 on seeking wisdom in our decisions. Until then…
-Only Hope

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