Making good decisions is a choice. Life presents us with choices. Every day we make decisions that will impact us today, tomorrow, and next year. Therefore, it is critical that we make the best decisions possible. Making good decisions is where we need our Helper, the Holy Spirit. "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).
Why is it difficult to make good decisions when anxious, upset, or depressed? Anxiety decreases activity in the thinking part of the mind. Therefore, the mind cannot think clearly, and often a decision—any decision—is grabbed in desperation.
It is difficult to make good decisions when our minds are set on things not in accordance with God. Access to the Spirit of God is hindered when there is no peace of mind. We must be close to God to hear that "still, small voice."
This in one of the reasons Paul told us in Philippians that we should meditate on whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of a good report (Philippians 4:8). These qualities are found in the Kingdom of God—where God resides. Jesus told us, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).
Sometimes individuals are determined to make certain decisions—even bad decisions. If you are committed to making a particular decision, the Lord will allow you to do so. Even though we were made in His image, His likeness, and given dominion over the earth, God gives us free will. He does not violate that free will.
God allows us to choose and has given us free will to live as we desire. That gift of freedom is a beautiful gift He has given to us. God wants us to choose to serve Him because we love Him and desire to obey Him.
Our desire to make good decisions leads to right standing with God and knowing the blueprint of His will. The Holy Spirit can guide our choices even as we have the freedom to make them. Let us seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. After all, it is our choice to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit or not.
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The 30th chapter of Deuteronomy records Moses' last plea with the Israelites before his death. They will cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land and face many challenges. Moses stresses the importance of making good decisions as they move into their new life.
15 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess (Deuteronomy 30: 15-20).
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil. God makes it very clear that we have a choice and are free to choose. He desires we make the right choice. Love of God and compliance with His will are ways of securing God's blessings and avoiding evil. But the choice is made by each individual.
Last week we studied Exodus, where God told the Israelites to follow His commandments, and He would bless them and protect them. Did the Israelites follow God's commandments?
No! We read about their grumbling and complaining. This action was their choice, which was not pleasing to God. We see that disobedience had its consequences for them.
Under the terms of the Old Covenant, Israel had a choice: life or death, good or evil. It was up to them. God was going to glorify Himself through Israel one way or another. How it would happen was Israel's choice.
The LORD, your God, will bless you in the land which you go to possess. Under the terms of the Old Covenant, Israel, if obedient, would see blessings. If disobedient, then Israel would surely perish. Therefore, it was up to Israel and based on their conduct.
We need to understand that we, in Jesus Christ, do not relate to God on the terms of the Old Covenant but on the terms of a better covenant—the New Covenant. Under the New Covenant, my relationship with God is not based on what I do for God but on what Jesus has done on my behalf. There is, of course, more to the New Covenant than this, but this is one crucial distinction between the two covenants.
Paul wrote, "If this Old Covenant is inferior to the New Covenant, and if there was a high price to pay for rejecting the Old Covenant, should we not know there is an even greater penalty for rejecting an even greater covenant?" (Hebrews 10:28-29)
Verse 19. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you, life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."
God, through Moses, laid the framework for the Israelites to make good decisions about whom they would serve. The choice was up to Israel, and their choice decided whether they would have life and death, blessing and cursing.
At the same time, though the choice belonged to Israel, God cared about what they chose. So when Moses pled with Israel, crying out to choose life, we know that Moses reflected the heart of God toward Israel. It was God's desire to be glorified through an obedient Israel.
Today we serve God under the New Covenant. And the choice remains with each individual. Our choice isn't as much as "Will I obey God or not?" but "Will I trust in Jesus for my salvation?"
Jesus still asks each of us the question He asked the disciples when they traveled to Caesarea Philippi, "Who do you say that I am" (Matthew 16:15). The answer to this crucial decision determines our eternal destiny. So it is an especially important question for us today.
The disciples had been with Jesus for more than two and a half years. This was the first time He had approached them with this question. The question was so important that Jesus asked them the same question three times. The answer they gave would have a significant impact on their lives. Just as important, the answer we give today dramatically impacts our lives.
Moses wanted to impress upon the Israelite nation the importance of choosing God and making good decisions. Loving God, and trusting Him, are explained well in Deuteronomy 30:20. To love and trust God means to obey His voice. A child who loves and trusts their father will obey him. He will cling to him and love and trust him. We will attach to God and regard Him as our life. He is not part of our life; He is our life.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
How often have you reached the "end of your rope" and said to God, "I can't go any further? So take it; I give it to you, Lord."
How did you feel? Did you feel relief?
Though we may not always see what's ahead, God does. And there's tremendous power in trusting Him. Our future is in His hands and not in our circumstances or other people's circumstances.
This is a choice so make a good decision. When we decide to trust in the Lord, He brings clarity and light into dark times. We can be confident that God's presence will go before us, guiding our every step.
God desires the very best for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
The thought of God's love is so wonderful. It is comforting to know that God is faithful. God desires to prosper us more than we want to prosper. So let us stand firm, eyes fixed on God, and seek His purpose as we think about whatever is true, honest, pure, lovely, and of a good report.
God has a beautiful plan for each of us. Let us seek His plan. It is better than any plan we could ever produce.
These are choices. Make the right choices—make good decisions—choose God.