Summary: Criteria for wise decision-making
We all have to make many decisions every day. The most difficult decisions fall in basically three categories: is it a good decision; is there a better way of doing something; is it the best decision that I can make right now. It is amazing how many people choose good things that actually become enemies to the very best decisions.
Key Criteria for Decision-making: Paul once wrote, "Everything is permissible for me - but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but I will not be mastered by anything." (I Cor.6:12)
Christians enjoy tremendous freedoms in Christ. However, God gave us liberties to help maximum the advancement of His kingdom and righteousness. Let us look at a few guiding principles to help us determine to not just do things right, but to do the best we can.
Example: Paul taught Christians how to make decisions on Biblical criteria rather than selfish interests. The great apostle had an equivalent of a Ph.D.. Yet, Paul chose to plant churches, lead people to Christ and planting and grow many churches, all at great sacrifice. He made wise decisions because He counted selfish pursuits as worthless endeavors. He found fulfillment in doing the maximum of the will of God.
1. Paul disciplined himself for the purpose of Godliness. The inspiring apostle once wrote, "Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (I Tim. 4:8)
2. Many people discipline themselves to lose weight, to get a promotion or to impress their authorities. Paul worked whole-heartedly for the Lord rather than for men including his own interests. (Col. 3 :23,24)
3. Paul made every decision on the basis of Christ’s harvesting priorities. The persevering apostle resisted the temptation to stay in any one church for long and become a maintenance man. He constantly considered how he could make the greatest contribution for the cause of Christ for eternity. Just like William Carey, the great father of modern missions once said, "Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God."
4. Paul evaluated the effectiveness of former decisions and constantly grew wiser. The teaching apostle learned from every experience. The writer of Hebrews wrote, "But solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained their sense to distinguish good from evil." (Heb. 5:14)
5. Paul studied the results of other great men of faith and learned from their lifestyles. The writer of Hebrews also wrote, "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." (Heb. 13 :7)
6. We can learn from the mistakes as well as the victories from many great Godly people who have gone before us.
7. Paul knew that the Lord disciplines us to create greater holy character. The disciple-making apostle knew that the Lord’s plans include discipline to smooth out the rough edges of our character.
8. In Hebrews we learn, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Heb. 12:1 1)
9. Paul learned from every God’s chastening and increasingly made wiser choices.
10. Paul continually asked God for greater wisdom by faith. James writes, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. ""(James 1:5,6)
11. God is the owner of all wisdom and knowledge. He loves to give us wisdom and insight to better accomplish His purposes - just ask.
12. Paul learned to make wiser decisions by listening and observing. James once wrote, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19)
13. Paul was a keen observer, listener and student of every situation. He learned the best ways of doing things as well as the errors to avoid by learning from everyone.
14. Paul knew whom He believed and that allowed him to be fully confident that what God had promised him would be carried out. (2 Tim. 1:12)