I spoke at WMC's chapel today - thanks to you gals who prayed for me. It went fine - I thought I'd post my notes here for you to peruse...enjoy!
Decision Making from Proverbs
· In order to teach you from Proverbs, I have to make a few assumptions:
1. You kids understand this is God’s Word – I have no interest in hearing about decision making from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or Steven Tyler’s “Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?” I want to hear what God says, so I go to His Word – are we in agreement?
2. You understand what it means to walk by faith – Christianity is a faith-based relationship with God. So what is faith? What does that mean? Review definition here.
3. You know the difference between a fool and a wise man – have you been going through Proverbs all year? Have you heard a fool and wise man contrasted at all?
What is a fool?
o According to the dictionary - idiot, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, moron, clod; nitwit, halfwit, dope, ninny, nincompoop, chump, dimwit, dingbat, dipstick, goober, goon, dumbo, dummy, ditz, dumdum, fathead, numbskull…
o Biblically speaking – a fool rejects God and His ways – he is selfish, unreliable, lazy, undisciplined, unteachable, unpleasant, unliked, undesirable and usually a liar
In contrast, what is a wise man?
o He is a man who fears God, submits to God’s ways which makes him disciplined, organized, teachable, pleasant, liked, desirable, selfless and a truth teller
4. You want to be wise and not foolish
· Summary – when faced with a decision, we can either be wise or foolish in how we respond so, by faith, we are going to look at what God’s Word says
I. 2 kinds of decisions you make in life:
1. Every day decisions with short term ramifications – what should I wear today? What should I eat for lunch? What movie should we rent this weekend?
2. The Biggies with long term ramifications – where should I go to college? What should I be when I grow up? Should I marry this boy or girl?
· Your process of decision making is similar in both circumstances – you don’t want to be foolish in the small things but call on wisdom in the big things…practice good decision making in the small things and it will come easier in the biggies!
II. Three words of wisdom about decision making from Proverbs
1. Get advice – Proverbs 11:14 – “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
· Who are your counselors? Are they wise or foolish? Sometimes your friends are not your best counsel…
· What does that practically look like?
o Movies – who are you asking? What sites do you go to when checking it out?
o College – here are my finances – what are my choices? Who has gone there before? What do you see as my strengths and weaknesses?
2. Make your plans – Proverbs 14:15 – “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”
· So you want to move forward with a certain decision – give thought on how you get there – be prepared for the steps it takes to acquire the results you desire from that decision
· What does that practically look like?
o Movies - where can we go to see the movie? How are we getting there? What happens if the movie is bad? Am I willing to walk out?
o College – how can I afford this? What scholarships are available to me? Do I need to up my GPA? Can I afford to live there or should I commute? Is the goal to party for four years in a dorm or to be educated and graduate with little to no debt?
3. Submit your decisions and plans to God – Proverbs 3:5,6 – “Trust 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.”
· Most important ingredient – God. He is sovereign, which means He sits on the throne and rules in your life – don’t make any plans without Him
· When you have sought godly counsel and made realistic plans, then give your work to the Lord – commit it to His blessing and His guidance.
· Questions to ask:
o Will I bring glory to God through this decision?
o If my circumstances change (because God changes them), can I adjust because of my faith and love for Him?
o Am I worshipping God or myself through this decision?
· What does this practically look like?
o Movies – Does God like action thrillers? Does He like sexually explicit movies? If the movie turns bad, am I more concerned about what my friends think or what God thinks? What does this movie reveal about man’s heart and what does it teach me about God?
o College – what if I can’t afford where I really want to go? Does this anger you at God or can you by faith make a choice within the perimeters that God has set around you? Does this choice increase my dependency on God? Am I responding in gratitude for what God has provided for?
Proverbs is a book filled with wisdom. In regards to decision making, it instructs you to seek out wise counsel, make realistic plans and goals and submit your ways to the Lord. This is not just for the biggies in life, but a Jesus-follower who puts this into daily practice will find the biggies come much easier.