Summary: How to make good decisions.
Decisions (Part 1)
Making Good Decisions
Text: 1 Kings 18:21
“How long will you falter between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21 NKJV).This message is the first in a series of messages that will be very straightforward and honest in dealing with the area of decisions. Years ago I heard the great missionary Danny Ost say this little phrase, “Decisions determine destiny.” Decisions have determined and will determine your destiny.
Probably, if you’re like me, you know that you’ve made quite a few dumb decisions. You might relate to this story I once heard: A young businessman came to an older businessman to seek advice. He asked this older, very successful businessman, “What’s the secret of your success?”
The older man answered, “Well, I’ve made wise decisions.”
The younger man countered, “Well, how do I learn how to make wise decisions?”
“From experience,” the other man replied.
The young man asked, “How do I get experience?”
The older man answered, “From making dumb decisions.”
There’s a lot of truth in that anecdote, and there’s also hope. You may have made a lot of bad decisions, but from them you can gain the experience to start making good ones.
How many of you have made a lot of dumb decisions? And you know what happens when you make dumb decisions? You feel trapped. You feel hopeless. You feel like your decisions have gotten you so lost. You’re out in the woods, in the forest, and you can’t get out. You’re walking in circles in the same old forest. The question remains, how can you get yourself out of all the mess your bad decisions have created?
Remember, it’s your decisions that determine your destiny. If you don’t understand and accept that, then you’ll always feel like a victim and blame everyone else for your problems. But you’re a free agent in America. You are on your own. When you turn 18, you are legally recognized as an adult. You can choose to go to college, who to marry, where to live, what career to follow, and all those things. So, really, you’re a product of your own decisions. The sooner you realize that, the better. But a lot of times, we want to blame everybody else because of our bad decisions.
Today I’m going to teach four principles about decisions: (1) What is a good decision? (2) What is a bad decision? (3) What is a no decision? and (4) How can you make good decisions? But before I begin, let me give you one hopeful point, one thought, for today. If you are hopelessly lost in the woods but you find a compass on the ground, and that compass shows you where north is, and you know that to the north of your city is a convenience store, then all you’ve got to do is follow that one direction out of the woods. You may have been lost in the woods for hours, but when you make one good decision—to go north—all of a sudden, everything changes. If you follow that one good decision, you’ll eventually find your way out of the woods.
I remember years ago a guy came to me and said he was so hopelessly in debt he didn’t know what to do. He was going to have to declare bankruptcy. I told him to write down everything he owed. He did, but it took him a whole legal pad, with every single line filled with the names of all his creditors. Together, we wrote everything down, and it really did look hopeless. This man owed thousands, tens of thousands of dollars, but he worked for the railroad as his livelihood.
I asked him, “What’s one good decision we could make here today? Could you get a second job or do anything else to help pay off this debt?”
The man answered, “I can do silk screening for T-shirts.”
I replied, “Great, that’s where we’re going to start. Every penny you make from that we’re going to put on this debt. We’re going to start with this one.”
We arranged the debts by interest rates, and he began the process of paying off his debt. Three years later, he came to me and said, “Brother Larry, today I’m paying off the last bill on that whole 25-item sheet, and it’s all because I made one good decision.” He continued, “I started selling T-shirts and my business went crazy, and I have been able to pay off everything.” I don’t know where you are today or what you have gotten yourself into because of bad decisions. But all you need to start your walk out of the woods is to make one good decision. One good decision—that’s all it takes.
But a lot of people find it hard to make even one decision. It’s like the man who went to the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist asked him, “Are you indecisive?”