Wisdom-Trek / Creating a Legacy
Welcome to Day 1083 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
How to Make Wise Choices (2) – Ask Gramps
Wisdom – the final frontier to true knowledge. Welcome to Wisdom-Trek where our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, to seek out discernment and insights, and to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before.
Hello, my friend, I am Guthrie Chamberlain, your captain on our journey to increase wisdom and create a living legacy. Thank you for joining us today as we explore wisdom on our 2nd millennium of podcasts. This is Day 1083 of our trek, and it is time for our Philosophy Friday series. Each Friday we ponder some of the basic truths and mysteries of life, and how they can impact us in creating our living legacy.
As we continue on this trek called life, sometimes we have questions about life, so our Friday trek is a time when we can “Ask Gramps.” Gramps will answer questions that you would like to ask your dad or granddad, but for whatever reason, are unable to. No matter how old we are, I know that all of us would like the opportunity to ask dad or gramps questions about life in many areas.
We may mix it up a bit on our Friday episodes, but will strive to keep them down to earth and enjoyable. If you have any questions that you would like to ask Gramps, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each day we are faced with a bombardment with decisions and choices that we make. It is not always easy to make sure we are making wise choices. Our ‘Ask Gramps’ question is a continuation from last week so If you did not listen to last week’s Friday podcast, or read the Wisdom Journal for that day, I would suggest listening to it first.
So the question for last week and again this week is…
“Hey, Gramps, when you come to decision points in life, and there is a multitude of choices to make, how do you make sure that you are making wise choices, especially when there are several good options?”
How To Make Wise Choices (2)
We make hundreds of choices each day. Some choices are spontaneous, and of little consequence, like the coffee mug, we choose in the morning. Other decisions carry greater weight and significance, like choosing the person we will marry. In either extreme or with any decision in between, learning how to make wise choices is an important life skill for every believer and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, doing God’s will is really a matter of making the right choices on a consistent, daily basis.
After we have invested time on our own with God to seek His will, it is helpful and wise to run our decisions and thought process by other godly people. Godly and wise counsel can help us avoid any shortsightedness or naivety and help us to consider alternative options that may exist.
If we are afraid or unwilling to hear anyone else’s opinion on a matter, it could be that our motives are impure. Proverbs 18:1 tells us, “Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.” If you’re hesitant to ask the opinion of others, search your heart to understand your motives.
When evaluating choices, it’s a good practice to see if any of our options are contrary to the Bible’s description of wisdom. James 3:17 gives a great definition for Biblical wisdom, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”
Comparing our decisions to the description of wisdom, we can ask ourselves, “Is this choice pure, peace-loving, gentle, submissive, merciful and good?” Any time we cannot answer “yes” to one of these characteristics, we need to raise a red flag.
We can do a similar evaluation using any other list of Bible qualities. For example, we can decipher if our decision is loving by reviewing it against the description of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. We can evaluate whether our decision is in harmony with the Holy Spirit by analyzing it against the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians [5:22]-23. When we come to a place where our decision is not aligned with Scripture, we need to stop, pray, and ask God to clarify how we need to proceed forward.
Our Western, rationally-minded culture highly values logic and reason. While both logic and reason have their place in making decisions, they are not to the exclusion of intuition and inclination. What may make some uncomfortable about suggesting that we use intuition or sensitivity in decision making is the fear that we will live our lives based on the fickle nature of our emotions. I am not suggesting that we do whatever we feel whenever we feel like doing it. Nor am I in any way promoting hedonism or carnality! What I am saying is that we have been wired by God with feelings and sensitivity that when guided by the Spirit of God can be a great asset in one’s decision-making process.
Take for example a husband who finds a great deal on a used car and goes to his wife to ask her opinion. She meets the guy selling the vehicle, sees the car and afterward says, “I don’t know, there is something about this guy I don’t trust. I don’t think you should buy the car.” The husband asks, “What do you mean? It’s a perfectly good car.” She responds, “I just don’t feel right about it.”
Any man who’s been married long enough knows how this story can sadly end. He goes against his wife’s intuition, buys the car, and a week later it breaks down. Okay, so you want a biblical reference to support this phenomenon? Consider Pilate’s wife. She has a dream (more likely a nightmare) and tries to convince her husband to have nothing to do with Jesus. Matthew 27:19 tells us, “Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: ‘Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.’” You know the rest of the story. We’d be foolish to rely solely on intuition, but just as foolish to ignore it.
God desires His people to walk by faith in Him and His promises. While God is able to provide us the guidance we need to make wise decisions, it is then our responsibility to carry out those actions. We may not have all the facts, figures and evidence when we move forward. Peter didn’t crack open a science book before stepping out on the water. He obeyed what the Lord told him to do by faith.
Hebrews 11:1 explains, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Faith decisions require us to rely on the faithfulness of God. When we step out to do something we’re not sure will work out, we are in essence saying, “God, I trust you no matter what happens.” God is honored by such courage. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
Knowing what to do is good, but knowing when and how to do it is better. At times the Lord reveals his will for us, but we either move too slowly in response or too hastily. Ideally, we do God’s will in His timing (otherwise we may indeed miss His will). In fact, doing what God wants prematurely or too late can be disastrous.
So how do we know we are in God’s timing? The first thing to do is to pray, “God help me to do (whatever the activity or venture) in your perfect timing.” Secondly, ask yourself and God what the next right step should be. Then simply do the next right thing. Most big decisions are made up of many other small ones on the way. If you’re planning a short-term mission trip, the first thing to do may be to write a support letter. If you’re planning to stay overseas for a considerable time, the first thing to do might be to research the country or places that you could potentially go.
Also, be sensitive to how God may lead you to do what He’s called you to do. At times when we sense God telling us what to do, we too quickly start acting based on how we think it should come about instead of waiting on the Lord for his provision and plan to unfold. Again, start by praying. “God show me the way you want to accomplish this through me.” Doing things God’s way will save us time, money, and energy, not to mention the avoidance of many hassles.
The wisest decisions you will ever make are those done in obedience to God. Abraham obeyed God in bringing his only son as a sacrificial offering. God faithfully brought him a sacrifice and then promised to bless Abraham’s abundantly (Genesis 22:16-18). In fact, obedience and blessings are so closely knit together they might as well be Siamese twins. For the nation of Israel, their blessings were directly tied to obedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).
While the idea of blessing is appealing to most, the risk and fear factor many of us face when looking to obey God seems overwhelming. After all, who wants to put their son on the chopping block? For this reason, obedience to God can only truly take place when we trust the Lord with all our hearts. The more we trust God, the easier it becomes to obey Him. The reverse also works. The more we are willing to obey God, the more we learn to trust Him. It reminds me of the refrain of the famous hymn Trust and Obey, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Even when it’s our heart’s desire to make wise choices and do God’s will, we will inevitably fail from time to time. Instead of beating ourselves up for our mistakes, since Jesus already took our punishment for us, we need to learn from our mistakes and failures. In order to become wise decision makers, it’s imperative to be of a moldable, teachable spirit. Any form of stubbornness or pride will prove to be the downfall of those who seek to make wise choices. When we do make mistakes, we need to confess them to the Lord asking His forgiveness and not allow the enemy to condemn us (1 John 1:9, 1 John 3:20, Romans 8:1).
Let’s not forget to learn from our successes as well! I have heard it said, “God gets the glory, you get the encouragement.” That one statement really provided me with a lot of freedom. Of course, only God deserves the credit and glory (Romans 16:27), but each of us needs to humbly receive the encouragement of others, of God, and even of ourselves (1 Samuel 30:6).
And why limit our learning to our own life experiences when there are so many others to learn from, including the hundreds of Bible characters who either blew it, made it, or both (Hebrews 12:1, Romans 15:4). As we study the Word of God, we can prayerfully ask the Lord to give us wisdom (James 1: 5) and understanding from the lives of God’s people who have gone before us. Someday, let’s hope others will look upon the story of our lives and also learn how to make wise choices that glorify God.
Join us again next Friday, and we will conclude our answer on how to make wise choices on our “Ask Gramps” episode. Our next trek is Mediation Monday when we will help you reflect on what is most important in life. So encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along on Monday for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
If you would like to listen to any of the past 1082 daily treks or read the associated journals, they are all available at Wisdom-Trek.com. I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so each day will be downloaded to you automatically.
Thank you for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all your friend as I serve you through the Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.
As we take this trek together, let us always:
- Live Abundantly (Fully)
- Love Unconditionally
- Listen Intentionally
- Learn Continuously
- Lend to others Generously
- Lead with Integrity
- Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
I am Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Everyday! See you on Monday!