I’ve been performing a mass reorganization and clutter-cleanse over the last week and have been discovering all sorts of gold. Tonight I came across these unnamed, undated sermon notes with the working title, “Making Biblical Choices & Good Decisions.” I don’t mean to plagiarize, and while I do have several guesses about who the preacher might have been, they’re just guesses. I’ve searched around and can’t find the source sermon, so I’ll share the notes anonymously, trusting that a few fellow travelers wrestling with decisions will be helped. The statements are concise and pithy and clearly seasoned by experience. As a caveat, these notes are strong on carefulness and responsibility but short on faith and risk. Yet the angle they cover, they cover well.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
— Proverbs 3:5
The story is told that a man couldn’t choose between round-toe and square-toe shoes, so the shoesmith sent him one of each. “If you don’t choose, someone will choose for you.” Such a small example with a striking consequence reveals that there is a pervasiveness and potency to choice. Every choice is self-sacrifice — you give up all other options. One bad choice can destroy years of good choices. And to a large degree, you are today who you’ve decided to be.
1. A step in the right direction begins with consecration. We cannot do good until we are good. Our doing runs in line with our being. Good choices are predicated on godly character. Solomon declared that the heart is the spring of life (Proverbs 4:23). Guide your heart, because your heart will guide you. Truly say, “Not my will, but Your will.” The will of God is not a curiosity to study but a command to obey. A moving car is easier to steer than a stationary one.
2. Develop a predisposition to obedience. You get in trouble when you haven’t yet decided to obey. If you’ve decided on a destination of obedience, every crossroads is easier. But if every mini-crossroads demands a decision regarding your main destination, you’ll be in trouble soon.
3. Seek good advice. Sound wisdom pulls you away from the canvas of life and gives you perspective. After Stonewall Jackson’s accidental shooting required an amputation that led to his death, Robert E. Lee lamented, “Stonewall has lost his left arm; I have lost my right.” Advice should be mature, multiple, and moral. Don’t look for echoes; look for counsel.
4. Wise decisions demand caution. Don’t jump the gun. Don’t make hasty decisions based on presumptions. One of the best decisions you can make is to stop, look, and listen.
5. Waiting is not wasting time. Biblical waiting is not mindless passivity but active expectation. Take time to plan. A dream without a plan is a wish. “Trust God but keep your powder dry.”