Team Ministry in West Dorset

Pause for Thought

Posted: 1st April 2015

Making Good Decisions

From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep – we have to make decisions. They may be straightforward, like which shirt to wear, or more complex, like whether to apply for a new job. Some people make decisions rapidly while others take time. Just look in a Supermarket – there are all types pf shoppers!

What drives our brains and can we make “decisions which make life better” – either for ourselves or those around us? More importantly – can we become better at making “good decisions”? Some shoppers decide on the basis of “information” about the amount of fat or salt there is on the food label. Others prefer to have that information processed for them into more understandable “knowledge” such as how much of our daily fat or salt requirement the food contains. Some people “phone home”, others remember what their mothers bought, and most of us are influenced by “advertising”. Some (I am not one!) shoppers seem very “wise”, deciding on good value for money and what is best for their family.

How about really important decisions such as whether to apply for a new job or move house or who to develop a relationship with? For many people, having to make difficult decisions is disturbing; wouldn’t it be great if we could obtain good advice and “make the right decisions”!

Interestingly, God has been giving advice about decisions for thousands of years. Firstly, God used special events such as when Moses went up a mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, wrote then down on a slate and shared them with his followers. Secondly, writers who were inspired by God wrote entire books about their inspiration; the Old Testament is full of them. Thirdly, God can influence our thinking and decision making directly, through the influence of the Holy Spirit who enters the life of anybody who becomes a Christian.

Do Christians make “better decisions” than non-believers? I have no idea. However, it surely is extremely helpful to draw on God’s guidance when facing challenging times. Psalm 119 says that the Bible is “like a lamp” – very useful if the situation seems dark and unknown. People often talk about the “wisdom of Solomon” but the first Book of Kings (ch.4) reminds us that “God gave Solomon wisdom”; his was not just “human wisdom”. Quite amazingly, the author of the letter to the church at Ephesus (ch.1) says that “God will give the Spirit of wisdom”. Maybe we need to spend more time listening to God and receiving his wisdom, rather than getting “all steamed up” when we face difficult decisions.

How about putting your Easter Egg down on April 5th and going to listen to the historic Easter events celebrated in your local church? You will hear about the massive, life changing decisions that Jesus and his followers had to make; these might give us all new insights into making our own decisions.

Andrew Tomkins