WISE LIVING FROM PROVERBS
Decision Making: Make Plans/Hold them Lightly
OPENER: Read the following statement Terry made: Good decisions require a (1) working knowledge of God’s word, (2) ongoing growth in wisdom, and (3) a personal relationship with God such that we can respond to his direction as he gives it in specific situations.
Question: Now think about your own life and the three aspects of “good decisions” Terry talked about. Are these three areas your strong suit? Do you have a good working knowledge of God’s Word? Would you describe your relationship with Christ as it is described in Terry’s statement above?
We grow in these areas through ongoing training; as we train, we become better at making decisions that maximize God’s glory.
OBJECTIVE: Today, we will discuss how we become more skilled (wiser) in decision making over time and talk about what actions and attitudes are pleasing to God in the specific situations of our lives.
DISCUSSION 1: The Ultimate Goal
Q1: To become wise, we have to know what God’s ultimate goal for us is. What is that goal?
Answer: For us to become more and more like Christ over time.
Q2: What is the theological word for becoming more like Christ?
Q3: What did Terry say the requirements for having biblical wisdom were?
Answer: Fear of the Lord, Faith, Humility
Q4: In your own words, tell us why it’s essential we understand what God’s ultimate goal is for us, the sanctification process, and the requirements for biblical wisdom?
Why is understanding these fundamental when it comes to making good decisions?
(Note: The intent of this question is to help internalize the first three questions. Don’t let it get you wrapped around the axle. Just try to summarize in your own words.)
DISCUSSION 2: Different views about God’s will for your life
Can anyone name the three different views of concerning God’s will for our lives that Terry mentioned this morning in his sermon?
View #1: The Circle – God will is like a circle (larger or smaller depending on who you talk to)…the parameters of this circle are the principles and precepts of the Bible.
View #2: The Dot – The precision of this depends on who you talk to:
- For some there is a “dot” to be found only in the big ticket items…job, spouse, house
- For others…God has a “dot” for everything…what cereal you eat for breakfast, as well as spouse and house level items.
View #3: A relationship approach…Word, Wisdom, and Direction – Good decisions require a working knowledge of God’s word…it does form the parameter or boundaries for making decisions. In addition we need ongoing growth in Wisdom…to know how to act wisely inside the parameters of his Word.
Q1: Which of the views above do you find yourself holding to when thinking about God’s will for your life?
Have you always held this view about God’s will, or did it change for you at some point in life? If your opinion changed, what happened that makes you think differently?
Q2: Which of the above views seems the most biblically correct? Why?
Answer: The best biblical view of God’s will is that God’s will is only what is in the Bible. Therefore, God does not have a specific will regarding our job or a spouse…other than biblical principles. In principle, the job should be legal and ethical, and the spouse should be a growing believer. Apart from that you get to choose, and it would all be “God’s will.” This is why gaining wisdom is so important.
DISCUSSION 3: Wisdom, why we need it!
Terry said that wisdom is so valuable because it is how we spend and not waste our lives. It’s how we know what to do and who to be.
We need… Wisdom to know what God has said about “this” situation and to understand how to apply God’s Word in “this” situation (to know biblical principles or precepts). …Wisdom to know what are the right actions and attitudes (I can do the right thing with the wrong heart).…Wisdom to know how much to listen to others, who to listen to…you can fail to listen and miss the way; you can also listen to fools and miss the way (more next week)…Wisdom to know what might happen if I take certain actions or fail to take certain actions (won’t know perfectly…but we should get better at it.) …Wisdom to respond correctly to the outcomes of my decisions (trust and adjust…not anger and frustration)…Wisdom to know if this is an open door or a diversion…a closed-door or an opportunity to endure.
*Key points to remember: Wisdom is training/practice/skill… we all need to grow in this! Remember Luke 2:52 “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Even Jesus grew in wisdom as he grew in age! We grow in wisdom by pursuing a relationship with Christ. So, train to trust Him; train to let scripture get a handle on you more and more; and train towards a “free heart.”
Look at these ways to grow in wisdom and circle the one that you want prayer for this week.
1 – Pursue a relationship with Christ…train to trust him. (Through reading Scripture and authentic prayer.)
Q1: How do we grow in relationship with Christ?
Answer: Through frequent authentic interaction with God, through his Word, through prayer and being with His people are the most common ways.
2 – Train to let Scripture get a handle on you…more and more.
(This means to apply what you learn in Scripture to your life.)
Q2: How do we grow in letting Scripture “handle” us?
Answer: This happens as we work to apply the Scripture diligently to our lives. We can go and just listen to a sermon or we can listen with a heart to apply something we learn that day. Or we can read our bibles each day and look for things we can actively apply or repent of.
3 – Train towards a “free heart”.
Q3: How do we train towards having a “free heart”?
Answer: One way this can happen is to train ourselves to accept what happens – even if it is not what we prayed for.
Don’t be frustrated when decision-making is hard… don’t make it more complex than it is. Instead of getting frustrated, lean into the opportunity you have when a decision needs to be made.
Scripture passages used in sermon:
James 1:5-8 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
Proverbs 3:13–17 “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. . . Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”
Hebrews 5:14 “Solid food (analogy for the mature teachings and wisdom of God) is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Luke 2:52 “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
Psalm 19:7 “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
Proverbs 9:10 “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
Proverbs 19:3 “When a man’s own folly ruins his life…his heart rages against the Lord.”
John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
Colossians 2:3 “In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”