Good afternoon, everyone!
Here is a message I preached at Cornerstone a few weeks ago on making decisions. Wise decision-making is a topic that needs to be brought up again and again. So here it is.
The notes are below if you want to peruse at your leisure for your pleasure. *Read that with a British accent if you really want to appreciate the high-brow poetry going on here.
Decisions determine destiny.
Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3:14)
Decisions made in the valley of decision have eternal consequences. We often seem to think that destiny simply falls out of the sky, that divine favor and blessing will cover all our bad decisions. But God manifests destiny through decisions. From the first bad decision made by Adam until now, eternity is worked out through history—decisions determine destiny.
Decisions demand deliberation.
Many people in the valley of decision are unaware that wise decision-making requires a careful process. We must become intentional about decisions. We must develop a process for decision-making that over time will become instinct.
The mark of true maturity is wise decision-making.
…the mature…those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)
We need to work out good decisions.
- Seek the will of God. When we seek the will of God, we must NOT ask God just to validate what we already want to do (through mis-identification of our emotions with the Holy Spirit) OR ask him to simply give us our orders. God plans to teach us how to make good decisions by counsel and not command. Understand that the will of God is found in the wisdom of God.
- Search your heart. I must honestly evaluate myself subjectively and objectively. Subjectively: What do I want? Is that the best thing? “Not my will…” requires identifying my will. However, I must not ignore my gut feelings altogether. Objectively: What decision best aligns with who I am, with my values and principles and with my destiny?
- Look around you. I must look around me to evaluate my options. I must survey the terrain. Do the homework. What are the choices before me? What are the risks? What are the rewards? Which decision best aligns with my destiny? Who else is affected by my decision? Do I have buy-in from others who are affected by my decision?
- Get good advice. Good decisions are always made with the benefit of good counsel. The Holy Spirit often speaks to us through others. Counseling with others gives us the benefit of their hard-learned experience. But not all advice is good advice. I look for people who have experience. Then, I must look for people who are objective, people who are not agenda-driven. I must be careful that I do not listen to too many voices. And I must not “doctor-shop”!
- Decide. Sometimes the hardest part of a decision is deciding. But we must make an informed yet fallible decision and accept the consequences. Think remedially if necessary, but do not second-guess. Evaluate results and learn from the experience.
The ultimate decision: deciding to serve the Lord.
Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:14, 15)
You must make a decision today to follow Jesus. Then you must make a connection with his people, his body, the church of Jesus.