Making the Right Choices - Part 2 - Hope 103.2

Making the Right Choices – Part 2

In Part 1, I opened up the topic of making the right choices. And I said we certainly can make wrong choices, wrong decisions, and have to live with them. The Bible, particularly in Proverbs, gives some really good ideas.It talks a bit about war in Proverbs. You’d have to be crazy to go to […]

By Chris WittsMonday 18 Feb 2019Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 5 minutes

In Part 1, I opened up the topic of making the right choices. And I said we certainly can make wrong choices, wrong decisions, and have to live with them. The Bible, particularly in Proverbs, gives some really good ideas.

It talks a bit about war in Proverbs. You’d have to be crazy to go to any battle or war if you didn’t have a plan. Imagine having all the troops lined up about to engage in battle when somebody asks,

  • “OK boss, what’s the plan?”
  • “I don’t know yet. We’ll wing it.”

Armies have plans and strategies before they go to war, and they’re based on lots of advice from lots of smart people. That’s why there are books like The Art of War. Smart sports teams have plans before they actually play. And you’d be crazy if you didn’t have a plan.

It involves thinking about:

  • goals
  • getting advice
  • thinking about the steps necessary to accomplish that goal
  • devising alternatives
  • dealing with roadblocks, and
  • using your imagination to picture the end result.

We Need A Plan

We need to begin with the human side and say: you need to plan.

Some people think it’s non-spiritual to plan, but Proverbs says that’s nonsense. Some people say that we need to go through all kinds of spiritual exercises to determine God’s will. But Proverbs says: no, plan:

  • Use your brain
  • Get good advice
  • Make good decisions

So you should be planning for your future. That’s the human side of planning. Proverbs doesn’t stop there, though. We also need to look at God’s role when it comes to the decisions that we make. Proverbs teaches us that we have a role to play in our decisions, but so does God. Proverbs 16:1-2 says:

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To human beings belong the plans of the heart,
but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.

People may think all their ways are pure,
but motives are weighed by the LORD.

What this means is that we can plan, but God may have something different in mind than what we plan. Verse 1 gives us an example. Have you ever planned what you were going to say to somebody, even planned carefully, but when you went to speak, something completely different came out? That’s what verse 1 says. You can plan all you want, but if God wants you to say something different, then you’re going to say something different. You can plan all that you want, but if God wants something else to happen, then something else is going to happen.

Then verse 2 says that God sees something completely different than we do. When I make a decision, I think that I’m being objective and rational, and I’m often pretty convinced that I’ve made the correct decision when I’m done. That’s what the first part of verse 2 says: “People may think all their ways are pure.”

The reality is, though, that I am not impartial and rational when I make decisions. God sees my heart and my motives, and he understands that I’m often not making the best decisions because I have all kinds of mixed motives, and so do you.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that our problem isn’t so much small-s sins, like sinful actions, as much as capital-S Sin. We have sinful hearts. John Bunyan said it well: “There is enough sin in my best prayer to send the whole world to Hell.”

That is, even when we are at our best, we are still full of mixed motives and selfish desires and all kinds of things that corrupt us. We can’t make wise decisions like we’re supposed to because our hearts are corrupt, and we lack wisdom. Then look at:

  • Proverbs 16:9 (NIV): In their hearts human beings plan their course,but the LORD establishes their steps.
  • Proverbs 19:21 (NIV): Many are the plans in a human heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

Do you see the tension? We have a role to play when it comes to decisions, but so does God. You see this especially when it comes to bad things that happen. What happens when the decisions that are made are bad ones? Proverbs 16:4 (NIV) tells us: The LORD works out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for a day of disaster.

Here’s what this means. The first part of the verse says that God is in control of everything. But the second part of the verse says that when wicked people make bad choices of their own free will, God is able to use even their free choices for good.

God’s Will Is Finally Done

God doesn’t author evil, but he’s able to use even the evil choices that people make of themselves for his own purposes. We can choose, but God ultimately gets his will done even through even the bad choices that we make.

A good example is the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph was able to say after years of being unjustly treated by others, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20 – NIV).

There’s a tension here that we really aren’t going to be able to put together:

  • Are we free to make our own choices? Yes.
  • Do our choices really matter? Yes.
  • But does God sovereignty determine the way things are going to turn out? Yes.

The technical term for this is antinomy. It’s an apparent contradiction. And if you think about it, it’s really the best of both worlds.

If your decisions didn’t matter, then you may as well stay in bed all day because what’s the use? But if your decisions determine everything, then the pressure is on. You have to make good decisions or else. But if your decisions matter and at the same time God determines the future, then you have an important role, but you can relax knowing that God is in charge.

Understanding our role and God’s role brings significance to our decisions, but it also brings confidence because we know that God is at work even through our mistakes and the bad things that happen. This also means that if you want to know what God’s will is for your life, you’re standing in it. God’s will is not something that you discover; it’s something that he does. He has you right where he wants you.

So your decisions matter, but God ultimately uses those decisions so that it’s his purpose that prevails. He uses even the bad things to accomplish his purposes.