DECISIONS, DECISIONS! Making Wise Decisions in an Unwise World
As educators, we make hundreds of decisions daily. Experts estimate we make nearly 1500 decisions during the course of a single day. Some decisions are made impulsively; others require serious contemplation. Wise decision making doesn’t come easy. It is something to be cultivated. Life is a series of choices, and we all know choices have consequences. No one wants to make unwise decisions.
I know hindsight is 20/20, but wouldn’t it be nice to have clear vision BEFORE we make those major decisions? How can we choose wisely in a world that is becoming increasingly anti-Christian? The negative influences are seeping deeply into our culture. At times it can be difficult to discern Biblical truths from a secular worldview. How do we purposely make wise decisions in an unwise world?
Our answers are found—to no one's surprise—in Scripture. In fact, there is an entire book in the Bible dedicated to making us wise! In the very first verses of the Book of Proverbs we read the purpose of the text. The Proverbs were written to give us insight so that we can live the life God meant for us to live.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Proverbs 1:3-4
Granted, no one is perfect. While we won’t always make the right decisions, we can grow in wisdom if we pursue Biblical truth and apply it to life’s realities. The good news is direction on how to do just that is found in God’s Word!
Before we can make wise decisions, we have to be honest with ourselves. Do we take God seriously? Do we have a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus? Is God our source for all things? Do we seek to know God through His Word? If the answer to any of these questions is even a “Maybe,” wisdom will allude us.
Throughout Proverbs, Solomon repeats this phrase in some fashion: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This doesn’t mean being terrified of God; instead, it means to hold Him in awe, recognize His holiness, and revere Him as the Almighty God. The website Got Questions describes the principle this way.
The link between the fear of God and wisdom means we cannot possess wisdom if we recreate God in our own image. Too many people want to “tame” God into a non-threatening nobody. But if we redefine the Lord as a god that makes us feel comfortable, a permissive “buddy” who exists simply to bless us and give us what we want, we will not fear Him in the way He deserves to be feared. The Lord God Almighty is far greater than that, and the fear of the Lord begins when we see Him in His majesty and power.
Knowledge of and reverence for God opens the door to wise decision making.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10
Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27
Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor. Proverbs 15:33
When the fear of the Lord takes it proper place in our lives, we are rightly positioned to gain wisdom in our decision making. Godly wisdom doesn’t just fall into our laps. It takes purposeful pursuit. As I noted earlier, to be wise means to apply Biblical truth to our everyday lives. We must see each situation from God’s perspective and act accordingly.
In Proverbs, Solomon is writing to his sons, but we know these words carry meaning for us as well (Hebrews 4:12, Matthew 4:4). It amazes me how God’s divine Word written so long ago is full of instruction on how to make wise decisions in our lives today. While Solomon was a flawed man, the Bible tells us God gave him wisdom and no one ever would be his equal when it came to a wise and discerning mind (I Kings 3:12). Knowing this and knowing that the Word of God is divinely inspired, it would serve us well to heed Solomon’s words. He was straightforward from the very beginning of Proverbs. Notice the imperatives I’ve emphasized below.
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5
To make wise decisions in an unwise world is to be fully engaged in God’s Word through obedience. There is no question in my mind wisdom is something to be treasured, and it won’t be acquired by osmosis. (Okay…slight detour. I just had to use that word! If you have been in education for any amount of time, you have probably reminded a student or two of this familiar truth: learning doesn’t happen by osmosis!) Wisdom must be pursued with diligence, desire, and devotion. Only then will we come to a level of personal intimacy with God, and only then will God’s wisdom become ours.
When the Lord grants wisdom, check out what happens! Personally, I find this truly amazing.
For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.
Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe. Proverbs 2:6-11
Take a moment and read those verses again! Is it possible to make wise decisions in an unwise world? You bet it is! Why? Because the LORD grants wisdom.
· He grants us knowledge and understanding.
· He gives us common sense.
· He protects us.
· He helps us understand justice.
· He provides direction for our lives.
When we earnestly pursue God’s wisdom through lives of obedience, our decisions are aligned with His Word and His kingdom purposes. As a result, our wise decisions keep us safe and fill our hearts with joy! Who doesn’t want that? I sure do!
I know making wise decisions can be difficult, but we can never forget who God is. He is not only almighty but also loving. God desires only the best for us. If you feel lacking in wisdom, that’s okay. Simply ask for it in faith, and then do the work. God WILL grant you wisdom!
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
I wish I could tell you wise decision making is quick and simple, but acquiring wisdom is a lifelong quest. However, with God’s help, our lives can reflect His wisdom to those around us as we make wise decisions in an unwise world.
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13