In every day of our lives we make countless choices. Our society places a great deal of value on our right as individuals to make these choices. Americans have the opportunity to make decisions on almost everything, including whether or not they will acknowledge God’s authority in their lives or not. As Christian educators and parents, we understand the value of making right choices, and the sometimes painful consequences for wrong ones. Unfortunately some decisions are so intense that even if an individual knows what is right, they still struggle with what decision they will actually make.
One of my favorite holiday movies is A Christmas Carol, which depicts Ebeneezer Scrooge’s life and the choices he had already made in his life, and a glimpse into the future of the consequences ahead if he continued making the same type of choices. His character is a powerful reminder of how the difficult and complicated choices a person makes in their daily life has consequences, both good and bad. Although Charles Dickens wrote this story in the mid 1800’s the message of his writing is still applicable in 2016, and actually reinforces a Biblical view on decision making.
One of the greatest responsibilities we have been given as teachers and parents, for those we have influence over, is to make sure that they understand that ultimately there are only two paths to follow. One of those paths is to make decisions in accordance with the principles and teachings of God’s Word, and the other path follows human reasoning alone, however well intended, to make their choice. In fulfilling our responsibility in teaching about making choices, the Bible offers us a clear path to choosing to align with making Godly decisions.
The present generation, which has been brought up in a culture which emphasizes their individual rights, struggles greatly with God’s authority in their life when it comes to the decision making process. In the path to making good decisions the first step we must teach them is to recognize God’s place in the process. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Unless this concept is understood and embraced, God cannot have His rightful place in the decision making process. In addition, it unlikely that God will guide in a decision if He knows already that a person won’t obey it anyway. It is absolutely essential that individuals must understand that their will must be completely submitted to God’s. The Bible says that when our will is humbly and fully submitted to God, we can have confidence that he will give us direction in making good choices. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Another area in which the present generation struggles is simply in receiving counsel from parents and teachers who want the best for them. The world offers this generation instant information via Google and social media, but the downside of such instantaneous information, is that the need to seek Godly counsel can be easily ignored. Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” In addition, Godly counsel will always emphasize what the Bible says. Hebrews 4:12, “The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Our ultimate counsel for our young people should be that God’s promises are true. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
This scriptural pattern for choosing wisely must not only be taught, but it must be practiced and modeled by those of us who influence young people, because we know how inevitable it is that these difficult decisions will come.