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How To Make Wise Decisions

Updated on December 8, 2017

* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *

While sitting in church one day I heard a sermon that I had to place in the "toolbox of life." This sermon was filled with practicality and sound methods of decision making. Many is the time I have reached into the toolbox and pulled out that same sermon and used it to help me make wise decisions. One day, while I was looking at the sermon I realized that I could take the essentials and share them. I had taken many notes so all the main points were there. I knew the precious soul that preached it would not care, if anyone at all would be benefited by it. I have so much respect for the man and he did give his approval of its use (as I knew he would).The sermon, preached in 1995, whose chief points are here will give you a grid through which to put problematic situations, solution choices, courses of action, and measure them against the Word of God. This method of contemplating a problen through the grid of Scripture has never let me down. You look at the article, and you too will be taking notes and/or copying it for yourself. You'll be putting it next to your usual "pros and cons" list when you have to make critical decisions.


Wise decisions are possible from the simplest of people when they use the Bible as their sole rule of truth and practice. The Book promises "to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion- a wise man will hear and increase learning and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel." (Proverbs 1:4-5)

There are fourteen principle questions that, if you take the time to ask yourself, will keep you on a wise course. So many people "fly by the seat of their pants" in life and then when it comes to decision-making use the same reckless method. We here in America have relatively few major decisions in life, unlike other parts of the world where a wrong turn can end their life at any time. We tend to "eeny-meeny-miny-mo" through life and hope we don't regret it. This can be likened to drawing a big circle in your front yard and treating all the potential problems or issues in life like the old fashioned target game "Jarts" I played with as a kid. For anyone that is unfamiliar with this game, it was sort of like horseshoes, but way cooler. This weighty dart about 11/2 to 2 foot long was thrown across the yard into a plastic circle target. The dart would smoothly fly through the air and one could get quite adept at hitting that small little piece of grass way over there. The trouble was immature (and downright stupid) folks would allow their kids to play around with them and endanger other people and pets. These fun but potentially deadly objects treated so haphazardly ruined it for everyone. The darts were declared life-threatening and banned. Many people go into life as if they are standing in the middle of a Jart circle and throw all their problems straight up into the air and wait to see where they land. As long as they get those things away from their immediate area thatt endangers them, they feel fine. But, just like Jarts, an ill-aimed game piece could come straight back down into that target circle where they stand and impale them. There is a better way. Ask yourself this series of questions first. Using the principles that motivate this series of fourteen questions, you can make wise decisions and have much better outcomes than just flinging "Jart-like" problems away from you.

Okay, are you ready? Here they are:

Question 1: Can I ask God to bless this decision once made?

God is omniscient. That means He knows the outcome of all of the problems and questions you have in front of you to mold you into the person that God wants you to be. There is a right answer, a right motivation, a right course of action. God can not bless the results of all decisions. Each wrong decision has a consequence. Admittedly, God can and often does make something good of a wrong decision but...

Knowing what you know about the nature of this action, would you be able to say that God will be able to bless it and build on it?

"Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivers from death." (Proverbs 10:2)

Question 2: After the decision is made, will I be able to thank God for it?

Though hindsight is 20/20, there can be some moments of clarity before a decision is made. We know we are to thank God for everything but...

Knowing what you know now, do you think you will thank God that you made the decision as you have?

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17)

Question 3: Will I be able to say that the decision was made for God's glory?

The "who's glory" question is very interesting because it gives insight into why we do the things we do and make the decisions we make. We so want fame, positive attention, notoriety. Many times we chase it and just don't realize that is what we are doing until later when it is too late to change our decision. So...

For who's glory do you work here by this decision? Yours? or God's? It may make a huge difference in how you will decide.

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Question 4: Does the decision spring from the influence of God in my life or of the World around me?

We are influenced every time we make a decision. If we do not focus on God and what He wants, we will be influenced by one of the "big three," the world, the flesh or the devil.

Given what you know, from whose influence does this decision spring? Will the answer to the problem that you have chosen indicate God was behind it or someone else?

"Do not love the World, or the things in the world. If anyone love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)

Question 5: Will this decision become a stumbling block to the unbeliever or to my weaker fellow Christians?

This question is entirely different from the previous question. Question 4 is inward and this one is reflecting on how I effect others. So consider, if you make this decision, will it become something to cause others to turn away from the faith? Will it cause new Christians or weak Christians to stray out of God's perfect will?

"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak." (1 Corinthians 8:9)

Question 6: Because all decisions result in consequences, have I considered the consequences that will (or could) come from this decision?

For every action there is a reaction, scientifically speaking. How 'bout it? have you considered any foreseeable consequences? or are you plowing ahead without regard to what it will cause?

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7)

Question 7: Will this decision create a heavy weight of responsibility for me to bear?

Many times when we make a decision, we do it for all the right reasons and find that later it was "too big of a bite to chew." Then the situation requiring the decision is made worse for the trying. As a result of your decision have you considered what, if any, responsibilities would exist as a result of this decision? Should those resulting responsibilities fall on you, have you considered how that would weigh on you?

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)

Question 8: Will this decision please God or will it please other people who don't care what God thinks?

I have made this mistake, because of people that were close to me (or that I desired to be close to me) I have done things that I knew were unwise just to impress them, knowing that they did not care for God nor even wanted the best for me. We all have done this, made a decision so that people around us will be pleased. Ask yourself: Am I doing this because I am a people pleaser? or are you doing this because you know that it is the right thing?

"Not with eyeservice, as men pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men." (Ephesians 6:6-7)

Question 9: Sometimes decisions are made unnecessarily, is this decision even necessary?

Is it possible that a little time passing would make this decision unnecessary, and thus not worth the trouble? Think about it, is this decision really necessary?

"All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me but all things don't edify." (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Question 10: Will it edify the brethren?

Choosing to always be edifying to others is a good decision. Keeping in mind our brothers and doing things that are edifying to them draws a boundary for behavior. No matter the level of the Christian's maturity, a wise decision will help, an unwise one will hurt. So, think about it, will this decision edify your brothers in Christ or hurt them.

"All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me but all things don't edify." (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Question 11: Every decision made serves a master. Will this decision serve God? or will serve His enemies?

One inescapable truth is that one serves a master even if one doesn't acknowledge it to be true. Whom does this decision serve?

"No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon." [an example of a false God, in this case money] (Matthew 6:24)

Question 12: Would God's Word condemn my decision?

Searching the Scriptures will reveal any answer to any question you have. Decisions filtered through the Word of God will be wise decisions. What does the Bible say about your decision?

"For the word of God is quick, [alive] 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." (Hebrews 4:12)

Question 13: Is my decision based on love?

God is love and He wishes His children to be moved and motivated by love.

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (1 John 4:10-11)

Question 14: Since Jesus is coming soon, will this decision make me ashamed at His coming?

This is an excellent question. If I imagine standing before Jesus, trying to explain why I made this decision, will I be confident in my explanation? or will I be full of shame as I explain how I chose to do this?

"According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing shall I be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be my life or my death." (Philippians 1:20)

Let these 14 principles guide your decisions as they have mine over the years. You may want to frame them and hang them on your wall.

Dear Reader: It is possible that when you read this article you were disappointed. Maybe you thought it would have less Biblical oriented material. Maybe you couldn't quite understand all the points because you are just not a Bible person. If that is, you then maybe you don't know Christ as Savior. It is not something that can't be corrected. To become a child of God is simple. First you must understand something about yourself. You, like everyone else in this whole world is a sinner. That sin was passed down from the first man Adam who sinned. We sin now because the first man sinned. That is because you cannot get something clean out of something unclean. (Job 14:4) God realized that you would need a Savior and clothed Himself in human flesh and was born of a virgin. He allowed Himself to die, punished for every persons sin, including yours. But to come to God you must come His way, not yours. You must turn from your life and the way you live to and turn to God, throwing yourself into His arms and living God's way.

Pray this: Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and imperfect. I believe you came to earth to die and were buried and rose again three days later. I confess my sin before you and ask you to forgive me of my sin and save me. I turn from my sin and turn to you as the only way of salvation. Thank you for saving me. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

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    • mothersofnations profile image

      Mothers of Nations 

      4 years ago

      Wow, awesome article - I'm sure I'll be back to read it many more times.

      The only question that got me was #9 "Is this decision necessary?" Yes and no. Because the answer includes a "no", I think I should pray on it a little more and see if this is the right time - you never want to move before the Lord is ready for you to. God bless you.

      Definitely a must-share and voted up!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      4 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I praise God. The material in this article was preached by the man that led me to the Lord. I knew as I feverishly took notes that this had to be put to use in my life and would help others too. It was preached with such power. I put it forth in this article and it has consistently been one of the most read pieces I have. In this world of unsureness and consequences, it feels good to have some reassurance that the thinking behind an important decision is actually wise thinking. Thank you Sky2Day. You have made MY day. God bless you. Bob.

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 

      4 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      no body. I happened to land on your writing a few minutes ago. No mistakes in Gods world, Amen. I see I was here 6 months ago. I have bookmarked and look forward to referring to it. I will use the verses to further study decision making in Christ. Praise God there is no condemnation in Christ. Mistakes are made. God can turn a bad decision into good for all those that love Him, Amen. I am blessed by your works and how the Holy Spirit of God has moved on you to touch on many hearts is indeed awesome. God's words never change. He is the man. Praise to Jesus Christ. Do keep em coming precious child of the King. I have not seen you around the block. Do stop in for a visit, Have some tea and cake. In Christ Jesus love you . Skye

      honored to share! Voted.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      5 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Yes Pamela-anne, this is a small example of the teaching I have been sitting under for 30 years. Old notes from an old sermon from an old war-horse of a preacher. I owe so many of my traits to the incredible tutelage of this man. I have run almost every hard decision I've had to make through a prayer-filled grid of these very questions. I look forward to you reading my articles and hearing from you again. God bless, Bob.

    • Pamela-anne profile image

      Pamela-anne 

      5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Enjoyed this hub it is really been helpful to me as I myself just recently became a Christian so I am in training so to speak; this has been another great learning experience thanks for sharing and God Bless!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      6 years ago from Rochester, New York

      This article was a sermon preached by the man who led me to the Lord. I am writing an article in tribute to other things he taught me. He had something like a stroke and is no longer preaching. I owe so much to him and he is like my own dad. It is the wisdom of God given to him that is responsible for this article. I appreciate you commenting and that you were blessed. Bob.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 

      6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Wodeful Hub, and God Bless You.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you for doing that kind thing. The sermon that served as a basis for this article has helped me so much over the years. If it can help more people it will be a blessing. May the Lord be glorified by it. Much love, Bob.

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 

      7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      NO BODY Love this hub of love. I wrote sitting on the fence with decisions. When I made the decision Praise God All these answers were yes God is in this with me. I linked your hub to mine. I pray many are led here because it is written in the fresh living running water of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful I was led here. Very nice works for our Lord and Savior. I so agree if God does not get the Glory make another decision. Up awesome beautiful useful linked out bookmarked. Thank You Child of God for sharing your notes. WOW. Hugs Galore

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      This has been an inspiration for me a great deal over the years. I have come to so many forks in the road and I have used this pattern to apply God's wisdom to the situation. Happy it blessed your heart. Bob.

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 

      7 years ago from upstate, NY

      Great Hub! Wisdom has greater value than gold! We can save ourselves a lot of grief by seeking God in all our decisions! Winging it, and asking for God's blessing later on, isn't going to cut it! If we live this way we live disconnected with the source of wisdom, Jesus himself!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I was so blessed to hear the original sermon that was given so many years ago. I went right home and wrote the original article that I then modified to become this one. It has blessed so many people it is hard to fathom. Many blessings. bob.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Great hub on, How to Make wide Decisions. It is the single most important thing a person can learn.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      you are given great wisdom by God. He knows that people read and are blessed by your gifts so He continually infuses His wisdom into your ministry. Please continue to be blessed according to His word. Love you, Bob.

    • Pastor_Walt profile image

      Pastor_Walt 

      8 years ago from Jefferson City, Tennessee

      Well put - If we lack wisdom, we need to seek God, who gives liberally, His Word keeps blessing me also!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I love you, my sister. the sermon helped me so much. I wrote this based on it. God's words keep being blessed.

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 

      8 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      I am loving this Hub my friend, GREAT HUB!!!! I have missed you a lot!!! As always you brought it home!!! Much love my friend!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you I.E., you li'l rascal, you. I love your hubs too. I need to comment on more of them. Much love and blessings.

    • IntimatEvolution profile image

      Julie Grimes 

      8 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

      I love your hubs.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Hi Friend, I love it when people see the verses as the strength of the hub. I see you are either a strength to your family or you will be. I'm thinking the later. Jesus will be your strength for you and your family. Keep loving His word. Many Blessings, Bob.

    • ashatt profile image

      ashatt 

      8 years ago from GA

      i love it. haven't seen many hubs with bible verses. I am glad I stumbled upon yours. :D keep bringing it!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      You are quite welcome Yvonne. This information was so helpful to me when I first heard it. I wrote an article many years ago based on this sermon. I updated my original article above. I hope it was helpful. Many Blessings. Bob.

    • ycbeat0 profile image

      ycbeat0 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for this hub.

      -Yvonne

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      9 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I hope it was a help. It has been to me many times over the years. Dr. Burress led me to the Lord and his wisdom has helped make me what I am today. Praise God for godly men like him and you.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Awesome, Spirit-breathed Hub. Wise counsel if I ever heard any. God Bless You for it.

    • Carrie Bradshaw profile image

      Carrie Bradshaw 

      9 years ago from Manhattan

      Very good, sound advice! Thanks for getting this out there to help us all consider the decisions we have the power to make unto God's glory or our own.

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