Did you ever see the film series Back to the Future, the very popular American science fiction comedy movie that has a cult following even today? In his remarkable journey, Marty McFly meets the scientist Doctor Emmett Brown known as Doc. And there is one scene where Doc Brown has a profound thought: Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.
In this view, everything is up for grabs, and you can determine your own future by the choices that you make. This is a very interesting idea, one I want to think about briefly, because one of the most important issues in any of our lives is that of making choices.
We make them every day—big ones like who to marry, what career to choose, what city to live in. But equally as significant are the everyday decisions that we make, the consequences of which add up to be just as significant as the momentous decisions. From the moment we wake up, we make decisions. The choices we make are going to determine our destiny. Even the small decisions end up really making a difference because we make them on such a regular basis.
So the question today really is, how to make good decisions, and there are two schools of thought.
One is the hands-off approach. Do you remember the Greek myth of Oedipus? Before he was born, it was prophesied that he would kill his father and marry his mother. When he grew up he was aware of this prophecy, and he tried everything to avoid his fate, yet he ended up fulfilling the prophesy despite all of his efforts. In this view of reality, you can make all the decisions in the world, but you can’t escape your fate. It says your destiny is predetermined, and no matter what you do you can’t avoid your fate.
I don’t agree with that view—it leaves a supreme and powerful God out of the picture. So what do we do and how should we approach the topic of making the right choices in life?
It’s quite easy to make a bad choice and suffer the consequences. I think many people have done just that. How are we supposed to make wise decisions?
How to Make Good Decisions
The Bible is a great help, and Proverbs from the OT is full of assistance. First, let’s look at our role in making decisions. Proverbs teaches us that you have a role in making decisions. That’s common sense:
- “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5 – NIV)
- “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.” (Proverbs 24:6 – NIV)
And if you make good decisions, you’ll get to enjoy the benefits. Proverbs 31 speaks of the noble woman who embodies the wisdom described in Proverbs, and it says:
- “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25 – NIV)
One of the clearest verses that describes both the importance of planning, and one of the most important ingredients in planning, is:
- “Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.” (Proverbs 20:18 – NIV)
It talks about war because that is what was happening at the time. But not only in those times but at all times we can ask for God’s help.