Traps to Avoid
Decisions of this magnitude are not easy, and, unfortunately, the majority of people regard outside indicators as their internal rudders. Most allow impressions, emotions, or other pressure-packed forces to influence them.
The book Wharton on Making Decisions by Stephen J. Hoch, Howard C. Kunreuther, and Robert E. Gunther identifies several attributes that contribute to poor decisions. They list blinding emotions, an over reliance on intuition, and an emphasis on speed instead of timely consideration as negative factors.
Stephen P. Robbins, Ph.D., author of Decide and Conquer: Make Winning Decisions and Take Control of Your Life, offers these additional insights into the bias and errors made in decisions. He lists overconfidence, procrastination, immediate gratification, and limiting the search for viable answers among the culprits that misguide one’s choices. Robbins also notes that many individuals place great emphasis on another’s advice that validates their preferred choice. This only reinforces what could be a bad decision.
So, how do you make a solid, reliable decision without these kinds of negative influences? What is the missing component that would provide a sound basis for your decisions? The answer is found in the pages of Scripture. It is called wisdom.
Wisdom might be defined today as “knowledge, the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships, insight, and judgment.” Biblical wisdom, however, was described by the Hebrew word chakmah. It was more than common sense and was characterized by skill and craftsmanship, cleverness and cunning, and prudence in everyday matters. Wisdom graced the lives of many biblical figures—Daniel, Ezra, Joshua—and brought them great success.
How do you find wisdom today? Where do you go to have your problems solved and questions answered? The answer is to go to the source of all wisdom, God Himself. He is the one who created you—He has placed His gifts and callings within you and understands their worth. Certainly, He is a good steward of His gifts and will develop them to their maturity.
God is also the one who understands your past and future—He has intrinsic knowledge of your weaknesses and strengths. The Lord will protect you, yet challenge you to grow in your Christian walk.
Finally, God will lead you along a path that will fulfill His plans for your life. He is the one who knows the direction you are to follow and will lead accordingly.
So, how do you begin? Here are five basic steps for receiving wisdom from God.
1. Acknowledge that God has the answer. God is the source of wisdom for all things. Realize that He not only has the answer, He is the answer. Proverbs 2:6 and 9 states, “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding… Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.”
2. Pray and ask for God’s wisdom. How can you be sure God will answer when you ask Him? James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” So simply ask for
God’s help and then…
3. Believe He will guide you. Faith is an important component to accepting God’s wisdom. You must recognize the fact that God wants to communicate with you. Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” God’s direction in your decision will become clearer and more distinct as you continue to pray and ask for His help.
4. Get in motion. You have probably heard the saying “It is hard to steer a parked car.” Begin to do your part and research your vocational options. Travel with your family and investigate the prospective area first hand. Explore the housing market, recreational opportunities, and cost of living. Your move could be a blessing in disguise, allowing your family greater financial freedom.
5. Check your decision against God’s Word. James 3:15-17 provides the characteristics of true godly wisdom: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Have the courage to ask yourself whether your choice meets these qualifications for God’s wisdom, or whether there are still any outside influences directing your path.
If you sense any anxiety or confusion, keep praying. God’s wisdom will direct your paths in a peaceful manner.
God is the source of all wisdom. Only He views your life from an eternal and comprehensive perspective. Allow Him to become part of your decision–making process and guarantee yourself a lifetime of success.