Your Glorious, God-Given Power
You do something several times a day that drastically affects your life. It alters your health, your education, your job, your reputation, your relationships with other people, and your relationship with God.
I’m talking about making decisions.
Have you ever decided to go out to eat with a group, but then no one will actually choose a restaurant? Have you ever decided to watch a movie, but then spent more time choosing it than watching it? These are trivial but common examples that reveal a bigger issue many people struggle with: indecision.
God requires you to make decisions. This is actually a tremendous power He has given you! He wants you to learn to exercise that power wisely.
God tells you, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). God doesn’t make up your mind for you. He has given you free will—and you have to decide.
Making decisions is fundamental to building strong character. In The Incredible Human Potential, Herbert W. Armstrong defined righteous character as “the ability, in a separate entity with free moral agency, to come to the knowledge of the right from the wrong—the true from the false—and to choose the right, and possess the will to enforce self-discipline to do the right and resist the wrong. … The Christian must develop the righteous character to choose the right way, and resist the wrong—to discipline the self in the way he ought to go, instead of the way of self-desire and vanity.”
Are you learning to exercise this power wisely? Are you developing and practicing your ability to make right decisions? Or do you always hesitate to even make a decision and end up just doing what comes easiest? If you are indecisive, you stunt your own character growth. Failure to decide is a decision—usually a bad one.
How do you learn good decision-making? By making decisions. The decisions a person faces early in life are small, and as he or she grows and matures, the importance of those decisions grows. You are ready for life’s weightier decisions if you are practicing good decision-making all along. With each small decision, you prepare for greater decisions down the road.
All your day-to-day decisions add up to a lot: how you start your day; what to eat and drink; how you treat your family; what work you do; how diligent you are at work; the respect you choose to show your boss, co-workers or employees; what you talk about with your peers; whether to exercise, and how; how well you take care of your possessions; what to spend your money on; whether to spend your free time on yourself or on others; how much time and effort to put into prayer; how diligent you are to do Bible study and turn it into action; when to go to bed. You make many decisions every day.
Recognize those moments as decisions! Become aware of when you need to make a decision—then exercise your power and seize that opportunity.
Good decisions in the small things can make a tremendous impact in your life. Here are just a few good choices you can make every day: Bounce out of bed when the alarm goes off. Get in prayer before you start the day. Keep your home neat, clean and well organized. Greet each person with a friendly smile instead of a scowl. Learn and practice proper etiquette and social graces. Recognize opportunities to serve those around you. Resist the temptation to gossip and tear down others. Say “no” to the things you shouldn’t do and “yes” to the things you should. Keep your word and do what you say you will do, even if it is inconvenient. Guard your health, watch your weight, and limit junk foods. Cut out the late-night Internet use and go to bed when you should.
Do you recognize the power you have? It’s easy to underestimate the importance of all those decisions—but each one is an opportunity to either build character or break it down.
Decision-making requires action and follow-through (Proverbs 4:25-27). For a decision to work, you have to put it into action! So roll up your sleeves and get to work.
And when you’ve made a decision, stick with it. Be disciplined. Don’t waffle (James 1:8). If you decide to attend an event, don’t back out because you don’t feel like it. If you decide you’re going to cut sugar out of your diet, don’t give in the first time you see a donut. Remember, decision is vital to character development. If you don’t stick with your right decisions, you are weakening your character.
God has given you a wonderful power. Recognize it, starting right now. And exercise it purposefully every day!