Make Wise Choices
Duane Vander Klok
One of the questions a pastor is most frequently asked is, “What should I do?” That shouldn’t come as a surprise since life is a series of choices with each of us making up to 2,500 decisions in a single day. While many of the choices you make are somewhat trivial, others are much more significant.
Your life today, in large part, is the result of the choices you have made in the past. Likewise, the choices you make today will affect your future. God said, “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
God wants you to have a successful life in Christ, and His book, the Bible, is the best source of information available when it comes to making wise choices. According to Psalm 119:105, God intends for His Word to be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.
Choosing life and blessing requires that you lay down any preconceived ideas not based on God’s Word. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” While it may seem easier to just do what you think, it is much less painful – and much more productive – to do it God’s way!
James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Clearly, God wants to reveal His will to you. So, whenever you have a decision to make, pray and go to the scriptures to see what He has to say.
Here are some helpful questions you can ask yourself as you seek to make wise choices that will bring life and blessing into your future:
1. What does God’s Word say?
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4, NIV).
Ask yourself: Does my choice line up with scripture? If the answer is “no,” you don’t need to go any further because God will never lead you to do something that goes against scripture. His Word is as important to your soul as food is to your body.
2. Has God given me peace about it?
“When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13).
“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts…” (Colossians 3:15).
Do you have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit – or in other words, is your decision being directed by God’s Spirit who dwells inside you? Do you have peace on the inside when you think of doing this?
3. Will it build me up?
“Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
Will this decision bring you closer to the Lord or will it draw you away from Him? Will this build you up? Is it “on the edge” of God’s will for you or right in the center of His will?
4. Will my choice please God?
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10, NIV).
Will the result of this choice bring pleasure to God, or are you doing it to please someone else? Every decision you make reflects who you were serving at the time you made it.
5. Am I acting with love?
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).
Will the action that results from this choice clearly show God’s love, or will it reveal that the decision came from a different motivation? Will it promote unity, or will it result in dissension?
6. Will it bring good fruit?
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Think about it: what are the long-range implications of this choice? Will the fruit be bitter or sweet? Do you want to live with the results of this decision? Remember, what you sow, you will also reap.
7. How will this influence others?
“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak”(1 Corinthians 8:9, NIV).
“Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being” (1 Corinthians 10:24).
Have you considered how your decision might affect others? Will what you do have a positive influence? Even though it may not be a sin, could it cause confusion to a new believer or cause someone to stumble in his or her faith?
8. Have I sought godly advice?
”Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors, there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…” (Psalm 1:1, NIV).
If you are having trouble making a particular decision, it is wise to seek advice from someone whose life reflects God’s wisdom. Do not listen to foolish people but seek out counsel from someone of godly character, and do not take the advice of someone who has a history of making poor choices.
9. Will this glorify God?
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Ask yourself: will this choice bring glory to the Lord or will it in some way dishonor or discredit Him?
10. Is this something I want to do with God watching?
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13, NIV).
Would you be embarrassed or uneasy doing this if God were physically present? If He appeared while you were in the midst of acting on your decision, would you be comfortable – or uncomfortable? Asking yourself these questions can help you judge the true intent of your heart.
Sometimes we seem to forget that God sees and knows everything. In Revelation 2:23, Jesus tells the church that He is the one who searches our thoughts and intentions. He sees and knows it all.
Proverbs 19:21 says, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel – that will stand.” Whereas a man’s thoughts can change from good to better or from bad to worse, God’s unchanging counsel is always perfect. As you seek His guidance and stay committed to doing what He says, you will find yourself becoming more consistent in making wise choices.
Keep in mind that no one makes right choices every single time, and there are bound to be times when it becomes apparent that you have made a poor choice. When this happens, be quick to set aside any pride or self-pity, then turn around and go the right direction.
God says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the Lord your God and to obey Him and commit yourself to Him, for He is your life” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, NLT).
(All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.)