Making Right Decisions
The Philadelphia Trumpet, in conjunction with the Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course, presents this brief excursion into the fascinating study of the Bible. Simply turn to and read in your Bible each verse given in answer to the questions. You will be amazed at the new understanding gained from this short study!
A lot of people are out of work these days, floundering and unsure of what direction life should take. Many have given up looking for work. One in seven 24-to-34-year-olds in America lives with his parents; and of those, a quarter are college graduates—and half don’t have full-time work.
Many in this situation admit they feel trapped. They don’t want to live at home with Dad and Mom for the rest of their adult lives. They know they don’t want to work a minimum-wage job indefinitely. So they remain indecisive. They simply hope for the best, and halfheartedly expect the “perfect opportunities” to eventually seek them out.
What about you? Are you stuck in a dead-end job, but don’t know what to do to better yourself?
Know this: Life is filled with decisions—some big, some small. Wrong choices, especially in the more important decisions of life, can cause a great deal of unhappiness and frustration and can sometimes take years to straighten out. If you make right decisions, your life will be happier and you’ll have fewer worries and more peace of mind.
But making right choices and wise decisions is not a matter of “luck.” It is a matter of knowing and applying the keys to successful decision-making. Few realize that the Bible contains the all-important guidelines we need in order to make wise decisions!
God’s Word on Right Decisions
1. What key does the Bible give for making wise decisions? Proverbs 3:5-6. Will God grant wisdom, knowledge and understanding to those who seek them? Proverbs 2:1-6.
God cannot lie, and He never breaks His promises. God will give us wisdom, provided we are seeking to please Him (Psalm 119:99-100).
2. How did Solomon obtain his wisdom? 1 Kings 4:29. (Read also 1 Kings 3:5-13.) Did he compile the book of Proverbs? Proverbs 1:1.
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 4:29-34) besides Jesus Christ. Solomon probably became king of Israel at about 18 years of age; yet he recognized the challenges of leadership. He knew he needed wisdom above all else, so he asked for it. God answered his request and gave Solomon wisdom in abundance. Wisdom allowed Solomon to make right decisions for his nation.
3. To what did Solomon compare the essential knowledge, guidance and wisdom contained in God’s Word? Proverbs 3:13-15; 8:10-11.
The Bible is much more valuable than all the gold, silver and precious gems in the whole world! It contains principles that can help us make right decisions in all areas of life. God inspired the Bible to be written for our benefit (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The book of Proverbs is especially full of gold nuggets of understanding. It contains valuable wisdom that can guide us in making decisions that will lead to lifelong success and happiness, including good health, a challenging career, a great marriage, well-balanced children and lasting friendships.
Learn to make right decisions by filling your mind with the Word of God. It is a complete book touching on every facet of human life and conduct. It contains truths and principles that answer nearly any problem you may encounter. The more of God’s Word you have mastered, the more apt you will be to make the right decision. The key is to deeply study God’s Word so when called on to make a decision, the appropriate scriptures will leap into your mind.
4. Is it important to avoid making reckless or rushed decisions? Notice the principles in Proverbs 4:26; 14:15; 21:5.
A hasty or rash decision can create unnecessary difficulty because you’ve not really understood the facts. Take time to carefully think about the situation and get all the facts. Analyze the situation from every angle and consider the end result of the various alternatives you might have.
Beware letting others rush you or pressure you into a decision you may regret. They may not always have your best interests in mind.
Realize that from time to time you may be forced into making an emergency decision. In such a circumstance, your only safe stand is to ask, “What would Christ do?” Jesus Christ lived by every word of God (see Matthew 4:4), and that enabled Him to always make wise, Bible-based decisions. He set the perfect example in all things; we should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21).
Learn From Others
1. Before making major decisions, is it smart to seek advice and counsel from others with knowledge and experience? Proverbs 11:14; 12:15; 15:22; 19:20.
Seeking the input and advice of others can be very helpful in solving a problem or making a big decision. Advice from experienced or knowledgeable people can often guide us in the right direction by giving us ideas we would not think of ourselves. They can often help us recognize the pros and cons of a given decision.
Sometimes what we think would be a right choice or wise decision may not necessarily be the best. That is why counsel is so important. Often others who have gone through similar life experiences and are more than willing to give us guidance to make the right decisions. They want to help us avoid making mistakes that could prove costly and cause many headaches.
2. Is it beneficial to befriend and associate with those who are wise? Proverbs 13:20; 27:17.
A person who has learned to make right decisions seeks friends who are known for their wisdom and good judgment. Such friends can sharpen your understanding and help you make better decisions.
You can also learn vicariously how to make smart decisions by reading autobiographies and biographies of successful men and women. You can glean from their experiences important traits and ways of doing things that you can apply in your life.
3. Did God also have the lives of Old and New Testament personalities recorded so we could benefit from their experiences? Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.
By reading about the lives of the great men and women of the Bible—men such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Christ, and women like Ruth, Rahab, Esther, Hannah and Sarah—we can learn valuable lessons and principles that will help us in making decisions.
‘Count the Cost’
1. Should you carefully “look before you leap” to be sure you are able to follow through with a decision? Proverbs 27:12; Luke 14:28-30.
In making choices such as whether to buy a car or a house, whether to further your education by attending trade school or a university, which career path to follow, whether to marry or whom, whether to have children, and other major life decisions, be sure to sit down to “count the cost” as Jesus said. Consider whether your plans might be premature, financially unwise or beyond your ability to achieve. This is a basic principle of making wise decisions. Don’t plunge in headfirst before testing the waters. The sure road to failure and bad decisions is to rush in ill-equipped and unprepared. Sometimes it is best to hold off on a certain course of action and wait until conditions are more favorable.
2. Has God promised to give us the wisdom we need to make wise decisions if we ask Him? James 1:5-6.
God, the supreme source of wisdom, will guide you as you apply the basic keys to making right decisions, which are revealed throughout the pages of the Bible. He will steer us in the right direction if we ask Him for that help!
Follow the example of Jesus of Nazareth and make “Thy will be done” a constant way of life (see Luke 11:2). In truly seeking God’s will in all your endeavors, you must pray and ask Him to guide and direct you. Your chances of making wise choices are multiplied many times over when you earnestly look to Him to show you what is right. If you delight yourself in God, commit your life to Him and trust in Him for everything, He will give you all the “desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4-5).
Though we may try our best to follow the keys discussed in this study, we still sometimes will make a bad or unwise decision because of unforeseen circumstances or other factors beyond our control.
When this happens, don’t get discouraged. Chalk it up to experience and learn whatever lessons you can from it. Realize that possibly you didn’t have all the facts and judged the situation prematurely. Perhaps emotions or personal drive, ambition and desire influenced you. Whatever the reason for your wrong decision, glean wisdom from the experience and profit from it.
Remember to study the Bible and ask God for wisdom and help in making right choices. Avoid making rash decisions. Count the cost and be sure to get the facts. Seek counsel and advice from qualified experts. Study the examples of others and learn to emulate their positive traits of character. And remember to make God’s will your will in everything.
Abide by the all-important keys outlined in this study and begin to experience the happy, productive and successful life God wants you to have!