Decisions (Part 4)
Decisions and Transitions
Text: James 1:2–8 NKJV
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 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. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
This message is the last in the Decision series and deals with transitions. The theme in this entire series has been that you need only one good decision to start you out of the woods of a lot of bad decisions. People get hopeless and think nothing can ever change, but one good decision is like a compass giving you direction and showing you the way out.
Life is full of transitions, and that makes it challenging, since approximately 70 percent of people don’t like change. This 70 percent are wonderful people, very loyal and faithful, but they don’t like it when they have to change in some way. Looking for a new job, moving to a new city, and disruption in their lives really throw them for a loop. It stretches us to change, and most of us hate that process. But change, or transition, is inevitable. So we have to learn to change if we want to remain relevant.
The Good News translation of James 1:8 says, “People like that, unable to make up their minds and undecided in all they do, must not think that they will receive anything from the Lord.” The Message translation, in speaking about these kinds of people, describes them as “adrift at sea, keeping all their options open.” Now that is the way we all like it to be. We want to keep all our options open and not make a decision until the last possible second. But the earlier you make a decision, the better the decision and the more options you have.
The New Living Bible translation of James 1:8 says, “They can’t make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.” Have you ever been like that? You say you don’t know what to do, but deep inside you do know what to do. That is the problem with most of us: we know what to do, we have the witness, we know the direction, but we just don’t do it. Somehow we’ve not been able to get the discipline that it takes to do it.
A decision is a transition that moves you from where you are to where you want to be, and change is a part of it; it is inevitable. If you have a dream in your heart, whether it’s to lose weight, go to college, or get out of debt, it will never be anything more than a dream unless you couple it with a decision. A dream without a decision will never go anywhere, because decision is what pulls the dream along. It is the horse that pulls the wagon.
You might be thinking, “Well, I’ve made decisions before. I’ve made resolutions that didn’t go anywhere.” Let me tell you why. Your decision was not a quality decision. If your doctor told you that you needed to lose weight, you would probably agree with him and do nothing. But if the doctor said you would be dead in a month unless you lost weight, you’d probably have the incentive you needed to make a quality decision that would change your life.
There are seven specific areas of your life in which you need to make quality decisions. If you are not making decisions and disciplining yourself to follow through with those decisions, you are not changing, and you are thus not reaching your destiny.
Seven Areas of Decision
1. Physical decisions: 1 Timothy 4:8
The first area of decision deals with your physical body. Some people say they don’t have to worry about the physical, because they are spiritual. It is true we are spiritual beings, but that does not give us license to neglect the physical body. I believe some Christians go to heaven before their time because they never made good decisions in this area.
Maybe you need to make a decision to work out or to start eating right or to try to decrease the number of medications you are on. These are important decisions to make. First Timothy 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (NIV). So don’t forget that although the spiritual is the most important, the physical does indeed have value.