Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Decision Making

Today, you will be making a number of choices. Besides choosing whether to get up or not, you will choose what clothes to wear, food to eat, the speed to drive, the conversations to join, the attitude to have, the items to purchase, and perhaps even whether you should get another job, sell your home, whether to confront someone about a matter, and a variety of other choices. How will you know how to make a good decision? King Solomon penned the answer in Proverbs 3:6.

NKJV

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths.

ESV

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

NASB

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.

NIV

In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.



What does that mean?

Clearly, this proverb applies to every area of our lives. "In all your ways" can be interpreted in no other way. As one of our elders recently commented in our adult Sunday School class, "All means all and that's all all means." There is no part of our life that is outside the influence of God's direction. That ought to change the way we do everything. Every area of our life from small to great ought to be placed under the authority of our wise and powerful God.

The word translated as "acknowledge" in our Bibles, is the Hebrew word ידע. which signifies a knowledge based on experience (see Strong's Concordance). The word is also used to describe an intimate relationship, your perception of a matter, and your recognition of something. These definitions clarify Solomon's meaning. He is not saying that one must say a prayer before making any decisions. Neither is he saying that we should acknowledge the existence of God. Instead, Solomon is saying that knowing God's thoughts about every day choices is important. Believers need to recognize what God says about things and submit to him before making a decision. This is the prescribed way for acquiring God's guidance for every day decisions.

What areas of my life will be affected?

As mentioned earlier, every area of my life should be submitted to God (see Romans 12:1-2). But to further our understanding of the proverb, let's consider how it would be applied in each of the following real life examples.

Employment

Being a school bus driver for Head Start has its ups and downs. I am happy with the current rate of pay and the time allowance for writing in between bus routes. But my current location is a bit further from home than I had expected. So, when I saw a transfer position posted in the office, I began to consider whether this would be beneficial for me. It certainly would be closer to home and would save on gas. But there were a lot of unknowns. With whom would I be working? Would I be leaving the "mission field" of my current job before my mission was fulfilled? Should I apply for the new job or not?

Transportation

Toward the end of February, it became apparent, that our car would need to be replaced. The engine was going through about a quart of oil every fill-up and sometimes more. When the mechanic suggested the need for a ring job, I knew it was time to look for a set of new wheels. After praying about purchasing a newer Saab, Sharon and I placed several bids on EBay. Each time we thought we had won an auction, someone would outbid us at the last moment. It was a bit frustrating to say the least. Finally, sensing that the time was right, I placed a low bid on a car I thought I would never be able to own. Surprisingly, I won the auction. And, believe it or not, we now own a Jaguar XJ-S. Was this the car God intended for us?

Education

Every Christian family has faced the challenge of where to educate their children. Public education is provided through state taxes, but the absence of Christianity in the classrooms is a real reason for concern. Many Christian schools excel at providing quality education with a biblical world view, but the cost is high and often lead to "the bubble mentality." Home schooling is also an option for some, but the resulting stress on the supervising parent is something to be seriously considered. What is God's will for our family?

Entertainment

The local public library in Painesville has a large collection of video tapes and DVDs. Most videos are inappropriate for Christian families, but a small section is dedicated to the family. A portion of these videos are fun-filled adventures which our family has enjoyed. In fact, we've made a habit of eating pizza and watching a video every Friday night. It's been enjoyable, but where do you draw the line? What material should be inappropriate for the Christian family? And is this the best use of our family's time?

The point of this article is not to answer these questions. Instead, I hope that each reader will take such questions to the Lord in daily prayer and Bible study. He alone holds the answers to life's challenges. And as the proverb indicates, he is willing to guide us when we acknowledge his place in every area of our lives.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

too bad you couldn't buy a lamborghini...

EggsnGrits said...

Don't know where that comment came from, but I wouldn't worry too much about these decisions.

2 Cor 2:14 asserts that God will lead us where we are to be. The fact that you are aware of the bigger picture is a part of your listening to that leadership. Do what you think is right, pray, and be content with your decisions.