This is just a brief post offering five principles in evaluating the pros and cons of daily decision making.
A Heavenly Perspective to Look Forward To
Scripture teaches that, for the believer, decisions will be effortless on the other side of the grave. First, we will be without a sin nature so our thoughts and actions will align with God’s perfect will. Second, we will not have any deterioration in our thoughts or physical attributes, as our glorified bodies will exist without pain or infirmities of any kind. Third, we will have not only the Holy Spirit as our Counselor but have access to Christ and God Himself for wisdom. And finally, we will learn from experiences retained over an infinite period of time.
However, that is then and, this is now.
Life here on earth is very different than Heaven will be, on many levels. We currently live in a world full of shades of gray where often, as Christians, we are not completely sure about “what would Jesus do”. Sometimes we have to decide on the “lesser of evils” when making a decision, often defaulting to our own course of action rather than God’s.
To make that point, below are examples of decisions we have to make where it is not always clear the right thing to do.
Abortion, when the life of the mother is in jeopardy or just inconvenienced. Some Christians would say these are opportunities to reject clear Biblical teachings and default to the safety and/or even preferences of the mother. Others might reject abortion under all circumstances, believing that God will provide safety and comfort for the mother, just as we rely on Him in other difficult circumstances.
Lying in order to comfort someone or support them is another example of choosing the lesser of evils. Often, we find ourselves in a dilemma between loving God by obeying His commands (“thou shalt not lie”) while attempting to follow His command to “love one another” (Luke 10:27b). For example, no harm is done complimenting a new hair style that we actually find unattractive. Christians are adept at “little white lies” on a myriad of subjects as we try, like everyone else, to navigate through life. Who among us has not said, “you have not changed a bit” when meeting a long-lost friend. Or, encouraged a very sick associate by offering an exaggerated compliment on their impressive recovery. The list of choosing the “lesser of evils” goes on and on.
Stealing Food in an effort to feed one’s starving family is not common in America as it is in many developing nations. However, it is again an example of having to make hard choices in trying to survive in a gray, sin-cursed world. Some, even in this country view stealing for future resale as a form of reparations for historical oppression. In the end-times these survival decisions will likely not be so uncommon, depending on the timing of the Rapture.
Point being, there are hundreds of decisions we make every day, some big, some small, where we walk the line between grace and sin, right and wrong. However, the Bible makes it clear that we are not to fall victim to rationalizing our sin nature by suggesting that it demonstrates God’s grace.
How Do Christians Decide Right from Wrong
Below are five points that form a process for discernment when making life decisions from a Biblical Christian perspective.
1. Receive advice from other believers you trust. – When we see the potential outcomes of a decision, often our sin nature can take over and we rationalize what our humanity wants to do rather than what our theology should be advising us to do. Those Biblical Christians outside the picture can offer wise perspective and advice.
2. Check your Spirit and your spirit. God places a moral code in the hearts of all humanity, and, that is especially true of the believer, who has the Holy Spirit in his/her heart. However, as Paul lamented in Romans 7:20, our corrupt sin nature, often interjects itself, blocking God’s desire. As you evaluate a decision, consider if the prompting is coming from the Spirit or from your sinful spirit.
3. Watching for circumstances (open doors). At times God will provide opportunities and/or road blocks that we need to be watching for. When road blocks or sooth paths seem to surface unexpectedly it may be God speaking through events in your life. Be cautious and discerning however as we know evil “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).
4. Seeking God through Prayer. There are over 650 prayers in the Bible and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 calls the believer to “pray without ceasing”. Prayer is a two-way communication with God and one of the best ways to discern His will over ours.
5. Seeking God through Scripture. Finally, the Bible is intended to be an instruction manual for life. Our closeness to the true God of creation is dependent on studying His love letter to us. It is full of so many of the answers to life’s questions and, holding verses in our heart from its study over a lifetime provides a vehicle for God to communicate with us as verses come to mind as we go through our daily live (Psalm 119:105).
When We Make a Decision and Go Forward
Stepping through the five points above provides confidence that our decision is in His will (Proverbs 3:5-6). As such, we need to praise Him regardless of the outcome (1 Thes. 5:18).