Have you ever done something you wish you could take back? Made a comment, did a thing, chose one option over another? It’s a pretty crummy feeling, what’s worse is that most of the time, we could have changed the consequence by our original choice. I love working in children’s ministry, and one of the main points we talk about is that we need to make the wise choice. But, how exactly do we make the “wise choice?” Sure, some options are easier to see, like, if I need to be up at 5, I probably shouldn’t get to bed at midnight if I want to be alert the next day. Pretty straight forward, but what about the other choices in our lives. Relationships, jobs, living situations, what we spend our time doing; the list goes on and on. It would be easy to say, just do what the bible says, and wash my hands with this question, but the reality is, the bible doesn’t say anything about if you should move or if you should pursue a relationship. Or does it?
I’ve been in situations where I feel so frustrated and wish I could open the bible and have it say, “Joshua, this is the path you should walk, follow these simple steps and you’ll be a-okay.” Wouldn’t that be swell? Instead we have to look a little deeper. The first step in all of this, is that you need to be reading your bible. It’s God’s living word, meaning that the holy spirit will reveal things to you and about you supernaturally. You can be reading something about the life of Joseph and the holy spirit can key that directly into your life. That’s your first step.
The next step is going to be a bit more on you. You see, the bible holds principles for your life, it may not answer the specific situation, but it can guide you in the midst of those decisions. Today I’m going to focus on general ways to make wise choices, so that you can think deeply about your situations and make the wise choice.
Short term solutions, long term consequences.
You’ve heard of the three little pigs I’m sure. The story of three pigs choosing to build their houses, and two thinking about short term rather than the long term. We like to do this too. We see the things that may be great right now, but ignore how it can change our lives in the long run. I worked in high school ministry last year, and that is such a perfect place to see this idea. Relationships are so funny in high school, there were so many times where I would talk to students about a relationship they wanted to get into. Scenarios like, “yeah she’s really hot, I mean she’s kinda mean and is really self-absorbed, but she goes to church, every Easter, but she’s really hot!” You may chuckle at this real conversation a student had with me, but we do this a lot. You get swept up in the motions and want this true love, but you ignore all the warning signs of a schmuck. It’s short term satisfaction and ignoring the long-term consequence.
You have to look at the big picture.
If you’re dating a guy or gal who makes you feel less-than, drop that loser. They most likely wont change. If your new promotion is keeping you from spending time with your family, it’s not going to go well. If you’re in a place where people dangle a carrot in front of you but never actually help you, maybe it’s time to move on (Ouch, that hit home for me too). You have to think about the long term. Scripture talks about the house on sand and the house on rock; it’s the parable Jesus told that inspired the tale of the three little pigs (don’t fact check that).
Matthew 7:26 says, “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”
Think about the endgame, and make wise choices.
Align with your calling.
This sounds like a big concept, but your calling in reality is very simple. Love God, love people. That’s it. So, when it comes to making choices, how does it affect those two factors of your calling? When it comes to people, how will the choices you make affect people in your life? Are you building others up and encouraging them, or are you using people to get ahead? I’ve seen people do this in life, ministry, and every area. Let me tell you, it’s a dark place to be. Instead of using others, be a light and expect nothing in return.
Now the biggest key in making wise choices is this, what is God calling you towards? A verse to focus on when making decisions is this, Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” This is talking about the mind, because every choice comes from our minds. You’re going to have not great thoughts pop into your head, but when those come in, choose to kill it right then.
You must protect your mind, if you know something is not good for you, you choose to get away from it. It’s like the chasing of the bulls. You don’t go in thinking you’ll come out unscathed, be wise with your thoughts and the actions from those thoughts.
A piece that combines the two concepts I talk about above is this, seek wise counsel. Go to the people in your life that have a few more years on them than you. Talk to them, don’t post on Facebook or Instagram about your problems for the world, go directly to trusted people and listen. They will tell it to you straight, you just have to make the final choice.
That’s the thing about choices, no one can make them except for you. Don’t search for the answer you want to hear. Think about the long-term plan and remember what you are called to do, let others speak wisdom into your life, and make the wise choice.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__