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Friday, November 30, 2018

Wisdom and Making Decisions

In review of James 1:7-8 it says, “If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord” (GNT).

Today’s passage comes from James 1:5-8. James tells me that if I need wisdom, I can just ask my generous God, and he will give it to me. He will not rebuke me for asking. But when I do ask him, it's important that my faith is in God alone. I should not waver, for if I have divided loyalty it's much like an unsettled wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. If I do, then I should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, as I am unstable in everything I do.

By "wisdom," James is talking not only about knowledge but about the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances. Whenever I need wisdom, I can pray to God, and he will generously supply what I need. I don't need to stumble around in the dark, hoping to find an answer. I can ask for God's wisdom to guide my choices.

The wisdom I need will have three distinct characteristics:
1). It will be practical. It relates to life even during the most trying times. It's not a wisdom that will isolate me from suffering and trials. It's a wisdom that will help overcome trials. It's more than ideas, it's the ability to put profound ideas into action. Intelligence will allow someone to describe several reasons why the car broke down. The wise person chooses the most likely reason and proceeds to take action.
2). It is divine. It goes beyond common sense. Common sense does not lead me to choose joy in the middle of trials. This wisdom begins with respect for God, leading to living by God's direction, and results in the ability to tell right from wrong.
3). It is Christlike. Asking for wisdom is ultimately asking to be like Christ.

I must believe not only in the existence of God but also in his loving care. This includes relying on God and expecting that he will hear and answer when I pray. I must put away my critical attitude when I come to him. God does not grant every thoughtless or selfish request. I must have confidence that God will align my desires with his purposes.

If I have divided loyalty, then I'm not completely convinced that God's way is best. I would then be treating God's Word like any human advice and retaining the option to disobey. I must trust God, then be loyal to him. To stabilize my wavering or doubtful mind, I need to commit myself wholeheartedly to God.

In addition, divided loyalty on my part leaves me as unsettled at the ocean waves. In order to stop being tossed around, I need to rely on God to show me what is best for me. Ask him for wisdom, and trust that he will give it to you. Then my decisions will be sure and solid.

When God gives me a dream for my life, my eyes suddenly open up to see what he wants to do in and through me. I begin to understand that I’m not just here on Earth by accident. I begin to see his plan, his purpose.

But a dream is worthless unless I wake up and go to work on it. I have to take the next step of faith: decision-making.

I love decisive leaders who can make quick decisions. But quickness is not the most important thing. It’s easier to make a fast decision than a good decision. It takes nothing at all to make a quick decision. It takes a lot of wisdom to make a right decision.

The Bible has a lot to say about decision-making. James 1:7-8, for example, says, “If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord” (GNT). The Bible says double mindedness is disastrous and indecision keeps me from God’s best. Someone whose decision-making is marked by those traits will struggle to make wise choices.

If I can’t make up my mind about what’s really important in life, then I am courting disaster. I will miss God’s best for my life, and I’ll never grow in character.

My decisions determine my destiny. My choices determine whether my character is developed or destroyed.

I will never face God’s true dream for my life until I conquer this stage of decision-making.

Bottom Line:
If you can’t make up your mind, don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.

What this means to me:
If I my loyalty is divided between God and the world, then I will be end up being unstable in all I do. If I'm like this, then I should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

In summary, If I need wisdom, I can just ask God and he will give it to me to help guide my choices. However, when I do ask, it's important not to waver on what he provides me. This is divided loyalty as I am unsettled. If I'm like this, then I should not expect to receive anything. God's wisdom is practical, it helps and teaches me to the right answer and the power to proceed to take action. It is divine and goes beyond common sense. It begins with a respect for God and leads to obedience, which results in the ability to tell right from wrong. It's Christlike, as it is my asking to be like Christ. I must be willing and have the confidence to allow God to align my desires with his purposes. It's my reliance upon him to show me what is best for me. I need to learn to take the next step of faith, which is decision making.

Today, as I learn more about asking for Wisdom and making decisions I need to consider if I am being obedient to what God tells me when I do ask for wisdom? I need to be obedient in what he says and not leave myself the option to disobey / do my own thing. At this point, I’m not sure if I’m really thinking about the dream God has for my life. I will need to revisit this and consider where I am with this. This morning Father I pray and ask for your wisdom and guidance as I make decisions. With the help of the Holy Spirit within me, remind me to think about the things that are your desire and mission for me. Help me to be obedient or realize when I’m not. I ask these things through your Son Jesus name, amen!

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