We have decisions to make in life that are sometimes difficult. The man or
woman of faith wants their choices to be pleasing to the Lord, and
concerning things about which He has directly spoken that is easier to do
than it is concerning things about which He has not directly spoken. How do
I determine what God wants me to do on a daily basis as the decisions of my
life are to be made? "Does He want me to take this new job opportunity,
or remain where I am?" "I want to donate some time and energy to a worthy
cause - which one would He prefer that I help?" "Should I let junior play
Little League, or soccer, or both, or neither?" Obviously God does not
speak directly to these issues and questions. But He does provide help to us
in finding the answers. The basic way to arrive at the best answers is the
same for everyone. In order to live by faith, we must know God's word
(Romans 10:17). When we give the word of God the degree of importance that
it deserves in our lives, then all of our thoughts, decisions and activities
will be influenced by the desire to please the Lord. It will be on that
basis that we approach even the more mundane questions of life and come to
If we fail to internalize the teachings of Scripture into our beings and to
allow the Word to have control over our everyday lives, then we will have
very poor discernment. We will likely remain focused on the carnal and make
very harmful decisions with reference to our soul's well being, and to the
spiritual needs of our loved ones and friends, as well as other associates.
Our goal needs to be to help these people please the Lord and go to heaven.
On a "Need to Know" Basis
We do need to know the word to live by faith. The Scriptures are adequate
for our needs (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16,17). A respect for them as our guide
will help us develop discernment. The Book of Proverbs has much to say about
our needing to know and to understand and to apply so we do not make a mess
out of our lives.
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,
3 To receive instruction in wise behavior,
Righteousness, justice and equity;
4 To give prudence to the naive,
To the youth knowledge and discretion,
5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, (Proverbs 1:2-5;
cf. 7; 2:10-12; 11:9; 3:16; 15:2; 24:14).
The Bible tells us to ”in humility receive the word implanted, which is able
to save your souls.” (James 1:21-22; 1:5). Living by faith means both
knowing the Scriptures and applying them to our lives with confidence in
them as the Word of God. When the Word becomes a part of us, it becomes a
part of our thinking processes. This empowers us to make good decisions with
the wisdom that is gained “from above” (James 3:13-18). We are
blessed with built in protection from making foolish mistakes (Genesis 4:6,7
Some Biblical Examples
Negative Examples - We have many examples in the Scripture of poor
discernment resulting from ignorance or neglect of spiritual values.
For example, there was Lot - what was good for his bank account was awful
for his family (Genesis 13:9-12; 19:12-13). Lot would lose his sons-in-laws
and wife, and though his daughters would survive, they had been ruined by
the godlessness of Sodom.
Then there were the carnal disciples at the church in Corinth - they spent
much time fussing about small things while remaining ignorant about
spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:12-14; 3:1-3).
We recall the rich farmer in Jesus' parable - the choices he made reflect an
overestimation of the value of stuff even as he vastly underrated the value
of his soul (Luke 12:15-21)
Finally, there was the nation of Israel who was “destroyed for a lack of
knowledge” (Deuteronomy 6:7; Hosea 4:6; Proverbs 1:28-33).
Positive Examples - We also have examples of good discernment
resulting from a great faith in God and having proper spiritual priorities.
Of Abraham the Lord says, "He will command his children" because
Abraham had great faith (Genesis 18:19; Hebrews 11:8; 13)
In the qualifications of elders we find that a man must be “holding fast the
faithful word” (Titus 1:5-9). Many of the qualifications show that he must
have proven himself over time to have shown good discernment with reference
to his family and his life.
Timothy's mother and grandmother had to fulfill the father's spiritual role
in their home because Timothy's father was evidently an unbeliever. Paul
commends there efforts and the decisions they had made as they had instilled
within Timothy the faith they had held so dear (Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy
Joshua's and his house made good spiritual decisions. No matter what the
nation did or would do, they would serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:14-15; Judges
2:8,10) We would love to save the whole nation, but we may have to just
settle for saving our house. That is where we must start.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions -
Practical Counsel on Getting Them Right
The godly man fears, reveres, respects the Lord (Proverbs 9:10-12). He loves
the Lord (1 John 5:3-4) and has great confidence in the Lord's word (1 John
5:13). He takes these attributes with him as he make all kinds of decisions.
So, for example, does the Lord want me to take that new job or stay with the
one I already have? To arrive at an answer, we would ask ourselves some
questions, and establish certain priorities since some questions would carry
more weight than others. Here are some potential questions:
Does it pay more? Does it require anything of me that will be a disadvantage
to my spiritual growth and duties? Does it have better hours? Does it
require me to disobey the law of Christ? Does it have good benefits? Will I
still be able to be present in my home to take care of my responsibilities
to my family? Is there potential for advancement and promotion? Will it
become necessary for me to neglect some aspect of my responsibilities to the
From The Bradley Banner 9/17/2006
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
Bradley, IL 60915