“I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” Proverbs 4:11
Making wise decisions is one of the more difficult tasks of life. Fortunately, the Bible gives us some guidance. Good decisions begin by discerning the will of God, which is revealed in two ways; the Holy Spirit (John 16:13, and the Bible (Psalm 119:105). The process of decision making includes making a judgment about an attitude or action. Decisions are an act of the will and are always influenced by the mind, emotions or both. The decisions we actually make reflect the desires of our heart (Psa. 119:30). Therefore, a key question to ask is: will I choose to please myself of God?
As we put our trust in God, we learn what decisions are pleasing to him, which ones he blesses: Those that he initiates and align with his word; those that accomplish his purpose and depend on his strength, those that result in his glory; those that reflect his character – promote justice, kindness and humility and those that come from faith.
God promises to give his children wisdom when they ask (James 1:5) and when we pray for wisdom, we must trust God to answer our prayer. Patience is also important, as we wait for God’s timing.
Practically speaking, wise decisions come when we: pray for guidance, get all the facts – because there is no contradiction between faith and facts, ask for advice, determine the alternatives, calculate the cost, weigh the consequences, prepare for problems and face your fears.
Where do you need God’s wisdom? How can you apply these principles to your problem or situation?
“David said to Goliath, “You come at me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me and I’ll strike you down…and all those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47
The story of David and Goliath is universally known. It’s one of the great stories of all time. It’s the underdog versus the champion, the bully versus purity and faith, right versus wrong, tall versus short. It proves the truth that with God all things are possible. God’s ability to provide victory in the face of overwhelming odds is a fact! But there is something else in this story that needs to be appreciated. As you read this story, note how David sees and hears things that the other characters do not. The soldiers speak of Goliath as unbeatable, David sees him as an animal, like any other animal (lion or bear) he’s killed. Israel’s military leaders are paralyzed with fear, but for David, this is an opportunity to prove to the Philistines that God is alive, powerful and sovereign. David’s words to Goliath are one of the great statements of faith in the Old Testament. He is motivated by his love for and faith in God.
Where do you need God’s strength today? How can you see beyond your circumstances to put your trust in God? How has God provided for you in the past?
“The Lord said to Samuel…I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king…When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely, the Lord’s anointed stands here.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16 1, 6-7.
God calls the prophet Samuel to go visit Jesse because God has chosen one of his eight sons to be the next king of Israel. When Samuel arrives, he looks at the oldest son, Eliab, and was obviously impressed with his outward appearance. He was physically impressive and being the oldest, he had the demeanor of a leader. But that’s not who God had in mind. In fact, none of the seven sons lined up in front of Samuel were God’s choice. It was the youngest son, David, who was so insignificant that he wasn’t even invited to attend the viewing. He was out watching over the sheep! They had to go get him so he could be anointed the next king of Israel! There are two lessons we learn from this story. The first is provided by God himself when he tells Samuel, “I don’t look at outward appearances, I look at the heart.” We, on the other hand, are often impressed by the wrong things. We are enamored with people who are good looking, athletic, articulate, brilliant, funny, wealthy, talented and well-educated. Our evaluation is superficial and based on own limited perspective. Godly character is usually not at the top of our list. But that is what God is most concerned with. He’s looking for someone who wants to be faithful and obedient to him. The second lesson we learn is that God often chooses the most unassuming, least likely person to do his work. David is the youngest son, a shepherd boy. Jesus came as an infant, a suffering servant. People laughed at the thought he could be the Messiah. The disciples were made fun of by the religious leaders because they were just fisherman. However, they all had one thing in common; the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Because when God calls, he also empowers.
How can we look beyond the deceptive externals and discern a person’s true character? What is God calling you to do?
“See how much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children…” 1 John 3:1
Through the early years of development, a child begins to discover who he or she is as a person. Similarly, a Jesus follower's identity is a key principle in his or her abiding relationship with God. The result of the love of the Father is seen in the incredible fact that He has given His people an identity that of His children. Jesus followers are, in fact, the very sons and daughters of God. When this spiritual reality is appropriated into the daily life of a believer, temptations and vices become triumphs and victories.
What areas of your life can you claim victory over because you are a child of God?
“All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name.” Psalm 86:9
It is overwhelming to realize that the same God who spoke the universe into existence also created us to love us and to live our lives in fellowship with Him. God loves the whole world, and He is establishing a kingdom comprised of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. Revelation 7 tells us that one day this great multitude of kingdom citizens will stand before the throne of God, "clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'" What we will experience on that day should radically shape our desire to join in God's kingdom activity on this day. God is building His kingdom, and He is graciously inviting us to join Him!
How is God inviting you to participate in His kingdom activity today?