A sermon developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett based on selected scriptures from Psalms, Proverbs, Luke and 1 Corinthians and preached at Faith Community Church, Barre, VT, on January 5, 2011.
We constantly have to make decisions in life. Some of those decisions are easy to make and do not require great thought. Other decisions are more complicated and have lasting effects on our lives. When facing big decisions, how do we know which choice to make? This lesson gives four steps that will help us make good decisions.
1. We must first make a commitment to do what the Bible says. Any decision that would go against the Bible is a decision that will eventually lead to pain in our lives.
Psalm 119:101-105 - I have kept my feet from every evil path to follow Your word. I have not turned from Your judgments, for You Yourself have instructed me. How sweet Your word is to my taste—sweeter than honey to my mouth. Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
• Using the Bible to Make Good Decisions
• It is important not to misuse the Bible. It is tempting to twist a verse to make it way what we want it to say, but that will not lead us to good decisions.
• The Bible will keep us from evil choices. Evil is the complete absence of good. We never want to make a choice that has no good in it at all.
• The Bible gives us God’s judgments, which are always superiors to people’s judgments because God sees the whole picture and people just see part of the picture.
• Following the Bible should leave a “sweet” taste in our spirit.
• The Bible sheds light in the darkness so we go the right way.
2. We must also spend time praying. We are unlikely to make good decisions if we have not spent quality time praying about the choices we have to make.
Luke 6:12-13 - During those days He went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. When daylight came, He summoned His disciples, and He chose 12 of them to be His apostles.
• Using Prayer to Make Good Decisions
• In Luke 6 Jesus was trying to decide who He would choose to be His apostles.
• This was a huge decision because the apostles would be the ones to carry on the work of Christ after He was crucified.
• Jesus spent all night in prayer about which people to choose as His apostles.
• When trying to make a big decision we too often either skip prayer or only pray for a short while.
• We need to pray long and hard about the big choices in our lives.
3. We must consider all the options and stay focused when trying to make a big decision. It is easy to get sidetracked when we are trying to make a big decision. That usually results in us making a bad decision.
Proverbs 4:25-27 - Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. Don't turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.
• Using Focus to Make Good Decisions
• When trying to make a big decision we have to stay focused on the BIG picture of whatever we are trying to accomplish so that we do not get side tracked by things that might not really be important.
• We have to give careful consideration of the BIG picture BEFORE making a decision instead of just doing the first thing that pops into our mind.
• Anything that will lead us down a path toward evil should be avoided.
4. We must consider how our decisions impact others and then make the choice that is BEST for everyone involved.
1 Corinthians 8:4, 7, 13 - About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that "an idol is nothing in the world,” and that "there is no God but one." However, not everyone has this knowledge. In fact, some have been so used to idolatry up until now, that when they eat food offered to an idol, their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat that has been offering to idols, so that I won't cause my brother to fall.
• Considering How Our Decisions Affect Others
• When this scripture was written, many people worshipped idols instead of God.
• A big part of idol worship was to leave a piece of meat in front of the idol for it to eat.
• Obviously the meat was never eaten because an idol is just a statue, not a living being.
• After the meat had sat around a while, it would be sold at the market at a discount because it was old.
• Some Christians bought this cheap meat because they were poor and it was all they could afford.
• Other Christians thought this meat was cursed because it had been used in worship to an idol.
• The apostle Paul said that since the idol was just a statue, it had no power to curse the meat.
• Therefore, if Christians wanted to eat it, they could.
• BUT – Paul also pointed out that if eating the meat was going to confuse some Christians who did not understand that it was okay to eat, then good Christians should not eat it.
• Basically, Paul was saying that good Christians will take into consideration how their choices affect the people around them.
• We are all part of a “group.” Those groups include family, friends, sports teams, work crews, youth group, Sunday School classes, and the church. What we do affects the whole group. Christians should care about that and take it into consideration when they make decisions.
• NOTE: This does not mean that Christians should give in to peer pressure. It just means they should think about how their actions affect others. There are times when our choices will have a negative impact on others but it is still the right thing for us to do. But we owe it to the rest of the group to consider that impact before making the decision.
• Make a commitment to do what the Bible says.
• Spend time praying.
• Consider all the options and stay focused.
• Consider how our decisions impact others, and then make the choice that is BEST for everyone involved.