Everyday we make decisions.  If we really thought about it, it would probably blow our minds just how many decisions we make in a day.  Some decisions carry more weight than others.  Some are a big deal and some are not.  Some we can make without really thinking about them while others may keep us up at night.  Some decisions are low risk and don’t cost much in the long term, but others come with a heavy price tag and the consequences can last a lifetime.  We’ve all made good ones and bad ones that we have to live with.  As they say we’ve “made our bed and now we have to sleep in it”.

I’ll admit that I haven’t mastered the art of decision-making.  I’m not sure that you can master an art.  I know we call some artists masters, but art is abstract.  It’s in the eye of the beholder.  Decision-making is kind of like that sometimes.  What may seem like a good decision to some may be a bad decision to someone else, so it’s not always an exact science.  Some decisions aren’t necessarily good or bad; some fall into the good, better, or best category.  The problem is figuring out which or what they are.

We all have a pretty good idea of what bad decisions look like.  There are certain things that just don’t pass the basic sense test of touch, taste and smell.  Those are usually the ones that we learn pretty early in life, like not putting your hand on a hot stove or in a fire.  You don’t stick your finger in a light socket or throw an electric appliance in the bathtub while you’re taking a bath.  These are “no brainers”, right?  You would think that’s true, but if you’ve watched videos on YouTube or Facebook there are obviously some people out there with “no brains” making extremely unwise decisions.  But, for the adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers out there, the pain of doing something risky or stupid is worth it as long as they get their fifteen minutes of fame.  And who am I to say that the decision to jump out of a perfectly good airplane is a bad one?  It all depends on your point of view I guess.

Ok, I’ve rambled long enough.  I need to get on with it.  “Uh, yes Robby that would be great!  Please move along.  We don’t have all day.”

Let’s just pretend that there is a standard for decision-making, a baseline or a foundation.  I know there is always some grey areas or levels when it comes to decision-making, but there are basically two kind of decisions, good and bad or wise and foolish.  There are also differing opinions about what might be a “go to guide for decision-making”, but I think the Bible is a pretty good place to start.  Wisdom is necessary for making good decisions, and the Bible is loaded with it.  In fact, there are several books or volumes inside the Bible that are dedicated to the subject.  They include but are not limited to Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.  There are also tons of examples throughout the Bible of real people making real decisions, both good and bad that we can learn from.

Solomon is considered to be one of the wisest men that ever lived.  He wrote 3 of the books of wisdom listed above: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.  However, his wisdom was far from complete.  He did some really foolish stuff too.  It is evident from his writings that wisdom didn’t or doesn’t come easily.  It takes time.  In order to understand the difference between good and bad decisions, wise and foolish, we have to experience both.  In order to succeed we have fail.  Part of the “Wisdom of Solomon” is that he learned from his mistakes.  His wisdom grew with experience, and as I’ve said several times in my writings, failure is a great teacher.  Of course we don’t fail on purpose so that we can succeed, but failure just happens because we don’t know everything yet.  As we grow and our database of knowledge and wisdom expands hopefully our decision-making gets better.

Our wisdom is incomplete or unfinished.  We never really “arrive” or figure it all out.  It’s a life long pursuit.  Listen to Solomon as he reflects on his pursuit of wisdom and knowledge.

I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.  For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”  Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 NIV

To be honest, this passage is not very upbeat.  I mean Solomon sounds like he needs a little cheering up or maybe a refill on the anti-depression meds.  Solomon may be a smart guy, but his struggle with figuring everything out is universally experienced by all of humanity.  Wisdom and knowledge are endless, exhausting, and agonizing pursuits that can cause sorrow, pain, distress, anxiety, and grief.

In our weekly Children’s afterschool program, Wonderful Wednesday, we have been studying a series called “Remote Control”.  The theme verse for our study is 1 Peter 1:3, but I want us to look at verses 3-11.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  I Peter 1:3-11 NIV

According to this passage, God has given us “everything we need for a godly life”.  He even invites us to participate in the “divine nature”.  Because of what He has given us and created us for, we can escape corruption and bad decisions caused by evil desires.  We can add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness (righteousness), mutual affection, and love to our decision-making toolbox.

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”  Hebrews 10:16 NIV

“Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”  Romans 1:19 NIV

I realize that this doesn’t solve all of our problems when it comes to making decisions, but knowing that we are created with and have been given a part of God’s divine nature should be encouraging.  God has installed some good stuff on our human hard drives.  It may not help us decide what color shirt to wear, but according to Peter if we do “these things”, we will never stumble.  More on this next week, so stay tuned!

Love y’all!  Have a great weekend!

Weekly Devotional by Robby Morris, Director of Family Ministry & Facility Coordinator @ Andrews UMC.