By Jon Shonebarger

Our lives are made up of a series of decisions. Those who make wise decisions are blessed to live abundant and profitable lives, while those who make poor decisions are left with the negative consequences of those decisions. For all of us, making decisions can be difficult. Decision-making may be more of an art than a science.

There are many folks who may be inexperienced in making the wise decision and by avoidance or delay, do not make hard choices. Then, there are those who are impetuous and jump at opportunities that prove, in time, to be tragic pitfalls. Those who make conscientious, deliberate, prayerful decisions reap the fruits that follow. It is clear that nobody purposes to make poor decisions. The process in the decision choice is what is most important for us to contemplate.

Making decisions as a young adult can be especially challenging when you lack the experience and wisdom upon which to lean. As a result, there are many young adults who later regret the decision they made in marriage or long term financial commitments. Poor choices often reap damages that last a life time. It may be impossible to regain a fresh start, a clean slate or be granted the proverbial mulligan! As the Bible proclaims, “You reap what you sow.”

Submitted photo
Jon Shonebarger

I have personally counseled with many people who are caught in the trap of, “What if?” What if I would have gone to college? What if I would have married that person? What if I would have accepted that job offer? What if I would have moved out of state to pursue a dream? What if I would have stayed in the military and taken retirement? What if I would have stayed close to a loved one now passed away?

What if… The “what ifs” are too numerous to list, but our minds wonder of situations that might have been. Facebook has garnered millions of followers from people looking up the “old flame” in hope of reconnecting. A lot of “what ifs” have danced in their heads! Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Decisions can rarely be reversed. I have known people who have walked off the job angry at 3 in the afternoon and then called back at 5 asking for their job back. Most of those decisions are irreversible; they were final. To quit a job with no notice results in a “no rehire” policy for most companies. Impetuous decisions.

For a few years of my ministry, I was a bi-vocational pastor. I worked at an Acura dealership as a Finance and Lease Manager. There were customers happy driving off the car lot in that shiny new automobile on Friday, only to drive it back in to the dealership on Monday wanting to terminate the deal. Sorry fella! Buyer’s remorse; a bad decision on Friday. It was an impulsive buying decision. Now you have 72 long payments to make with money you don’t have.

Wise decision-making isn’t only difficult for young people, middle-aged and seniors have difficulties as well. Deciding whether to take a promotion across the country and leave the family is difficult. Decisions on retirement, medical treatment, wills and other end of life choices are difficult decisions to make. What should we do? How do we know these are right decisions? Is the timing right? What are the pros and cons of these decisions? Decisions are what determine our way of life.

While none of us knows perfectly how to make each decision in life, the Christian finds guidance in the Holy Bible. There are many principles that are taught for us to follow. Through faith and obedience, we trust the perfect Word of God. His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. In addition, there are numerous warnings and prohibitions in the Scripture. By rejecting the temptation of disobeying God, we can be sure that God will bless and prosper us. After all, God is all wise, loving and powerful. God blesses obedience! Do what God says; this is His perfect will. You don’t need to pray about those things!

God has a perfect way, even though we may not see it. We are wise to pray and exercise faith. Jesus taught His disciples to ask, seek and knock when discerning the will of God and thus making the right decision. God has assured us that He opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open. We must learn to utterly depend on the Lord for His perfect time and opportunity. He promises to make ALL things beautiful, in His time!

The final encouragement in making life choices is seeking godly counsel. A godly man or woman, blessed of God and wise in their journey, will provide solid biblical counsel for those who genuinely want to please God. The reward is having a blessed and abundant life. This counsel may come from your pastor, chaplain or a leader in your congregation. May we all determine to make wise decisions, every day, with God’s help! Have a great week and remember, God loves YOU!