Thursday, July 16, 2020

Making Decisions

Thursday, July 16, 2020
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Making Decisions
Trying to discern the right thing to do is hard in a year when there hasn't been a global pandemic.  Trying to make decisions this year has been near impossible. Everything hinges on what could happen it seems. One thing we know is for sure, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can look to Him for wisdom, guidance and discernment. We can look to others in history and in our lives as well.

There are some definite characteristics of wise people. A wise person can discern the difference between right and wrong.  He or she makes the right decisions.

As an undergraduate at a small denominationally supported college, a young pastor had the good fortune to know a man named Owen Weatherly. Dr. Weatherly, formerly pastored some large urban congregations and had moved south to become Chair of the department of Religion and Philosophy at the school. He was a man who took a personal interest in his students, always (if asked) providing counsel that was timely, usually spiced with humor and particularly spiritual. Prior to the student’s departure for seminary he offered the following advice: "Son," he began, "remember three things when you go off to that big university. First, it's just as easy to fall in love with a rich girl." (The same is true with a girl finding a rich boy.)  "Second, when you are confronted with ideas contrary to your own, listen to them. At worst, you will find them entertaining. At best, they will help you grow. Third, I have found that whenever I am faced with a major decision -- whether personal or professional -- it helps immensely to go off alone and ask the question, 'What would Jesus do?' If I can answer that," he concluded, "then I know what I should do, as well."

Throughout the years, that third piece of advice has proven inestimably valuable. Daily we are confronted with dilemmas to resolve. Daily for us, in Frost's words, "two roads converge in a yellow wood" and we stand wondering which avenue to follow. 

·         "Should I accept this job or look for another?"
·         "Should I pursue this romance or end it?"
·         "Should I practice tough love or be gentle and nurturing with my child in this situation?"
·         "Should I take this risk? What would it cost? Who could it hurt?"
·         "Should I retaliate?" "Should I give this person yet another chance?"
·         "Do I follow head or heart?" 

The list is endless. Frequently we find ourselves faced with difficult choices, often not choices between good and bad but rather between bad and worse. Resolutions are never easy to come by, especially in the situations we have been faced with in 2020. Unfailingly, however, if we can discern what Jesus would do in a similar situation, we know what we should do, as well. 

What Would Jesus Do? 

What He would do is not, of course, always the easiest of options. Often Jesus maintained a difficult and unpopular course. But of this much we can remain certain. He always did the right thing. We can be sure that we can always follow His example and seek His direction to find the best way.

"So, how do I know what Jesus would do?" The answers are available in three words: scripture, prayer and consultation. 

1.    When ethical decisions must be faced, read the Sermon on the Mount.

2.    When relational difficulties demand action, read of his dealings with publicans and prostitutes, the lame and the lost. Read the 15th chapter of Luke and its stories of reclamation and grace.

3.    Spend time in prayer, remembering as that "prayer is essentially listening to God."

4.     Seek the counsel of a trusted Christian friend. Talk to someone who can listen and pray with you.

     In those ways we can usually determine what Jesus would have done had he walked in our shoes.

      No matter what the situation, the current events, or the circumstances, the Word of God will always provide the most sufficient answers.

      The Sprit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.
The words I have spoken to you - they are full of the spirit of life.   John 6:63

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