Wise Decisions

There is a story of a young man who decided that he wanted to earn a college degree.  He was accepted at a prestigious University and began his studies.  But the night before one of his exams, this young man was invited to a party and he skipped preparing for the test.  Days later, a paper was due.  Instead of working on his assignment, the young man went on a camping trip with friends.  Mid-term studying was put off due to a canoe trip.  And rather than study for finals, he went on a date with his girlfriend.  As you can imagine, this young man flunked out of college.  The young man had made a great decision in life:  To go to college.  But he failed in the goal because of a series of small unwise decisions.  

In a similar way, the same is true for us today.  Our goal is to make Heaven our eternal home, but many fail in that goal not because of a single unwise decision.  Rather people generally lose their faith because of a series of small unwise decisions just like that college student. At the same time, people do not become stronger in the Lord because of a single big decision.  Rather, one becomes stronger in the Lord because they make a series of seemingly small but very wise decisions.

Making wise choices is something the Bible talks a great deal about.   The word wise or wisdom appears 197 in the Bible, 35 of which are in the NT.  But rather than read all of these verses, the conclusion we can reach is that the Bible is rich in offering us advice on how to make wise decisions. You know we can know if we are wise according to the Bible or not. Just like how you can know what sickness you have based on your symtoms, you can know if you are Biblically wise based on symtpoms as well. Here are some of the symptoms of wisdom: 

We can make the small yet wise decision to watch our words. It is estimated that a talkative person speaks over 100,000 words every day. Words have the power to strengthen us spiritually, encourage us to live faithfully, or even to correct us. But words also have the power to destroy souls, damage relationships, and ruin congregations.  Prov. 10:19In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.      

Prov. 21:23Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.        

James 3:2For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.  

We can make the small yet wise decision to listen to counsel.  Everyone of us needs some advice and coaching from time to time.  We find ourselves in situations where we need to seek the counsel of someone with more experience, age, and our spiritual elder.  Prov. 13:10By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom. 

We can make the small yet wise decision to be humble.  How many of life’s problems are generated because we think too highly of ourselves and our own opinions, and we begin to think we are better than others around us.  Luke 9:48  “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”.   The mind of humility is also taught in Phil. 2:5-7

We can make the small yet wise decision to live the life of a New Testament Christian.   If we truly are wise from the Bible’s standards, then it will be evident from the lives we live.  James 3:13-James asks the question that we are considering and then says: Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.    Eph. 5:15-16See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.     1 Peter 2:12-13-If you are wise, you will understand that you represent Christ and the Church to the world wherever you go, and that people are watching you, the way you act, the way you dress, the way you talk, your attitude, everything about you. 

Solomon, the very man who asked God for that great gift, after all of his wordly experiences and in all his wisdom stated in Eccl. 12:13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 

These are only a few of the symptoms of true wisdom, but there are indeed many more, as James tells us James 3:17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 

If you want to reach Heaven as your goal, remember, a person does not fall away from the Lord generally in one giant step.  Rather they fall away by making a series of unwise decisions.  If we want to know if we are wise, let us look into the Bible and see for ourselves.

Carter Stephens

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