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Saturday, August 17, 2013

How Do You Make Decisions?

Your brain is fascinating. Many things you do don't require thought about how to do them. If you had to think about every act: how to walk, tie your shoes, or brush your teeth, that would limit how many challenging tasks you could tackle. In fact, thinking about some tasks makes them harder. If I try to think about how I tie a tie, I can't do it. I also can't seem to teach anyone how to do it. I just have to do it without thinking. Thinking about it gets in the way.

Unique challenges though require real thinking. One category of challenges we all manage is making decisions. We all make choices every day that don't matter in the grand scheme of things; choices like what you will wear or deciding which direction you will drive to work. But some have greater significance. Some are life altering. Some have eternal consequences.

Many things influence your decisions. Your values influence you without you necessarily recognizing that. Values are like internal guides that operate on you. You don't think about them much; they just quietly define who you are and what you do. You probably apply your wisdom and knowledge you've gained through experience to decisions you need to make. You may also seek advice or try to gain new knowledge through some form of research. 

Finally, though, being in relationship with God means that that relationship influences your choices. Otherwise, what practically does following Jesus mean? In that case, saying you are a follower of Jesus is just a label with little practical meaning. Instead, following Jesus means you learn from him and that you seek to do what he says. But most believers I know don't claim they receive audible instructions from God. Most don't claim that they can hear God's voice like they can hear a cymbal crashing. So is there a way that we can learn to make choices that honor God and bless people?

One final consideration: other people perceive how you make decisions and determine by that whether or not they can trust you as a friend, or a partner, or as someone they would allow to influence them. Taking all of this together, shows we need to evaluate how we make decisions and make necessary adjustments.

Sunday I'm doing a stand alone message I'm calling The Go Point: Decision Making and God's Will. I've spent the week thinking hard about an incident recorded in 2 Corinthians 1 where the apostle Paul explains how he makes decisions. He did this for a group of people who were in danger of shutting him out, because they'd been lead to believe he was selfishly pursuing his own ends. From that text, we will get a picture of how we can make decisions in line with God's will. You can see the scripture, outline, and discussion questions by clicking here.

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