How to Make Wise Choices
My parents only live six minutes away from me, and I love to stop in and visit as much as possible. Every time I do, they are faced with a choice. With my hands hidden behind my back, I walk right in and say with my best game show hostess voice possible, “Do you want what’s in my right hand, or my left hand?”
Ninety-nine percent of the time, my dad chooses first, and chooses correctly. I don’t know how he does it. The prizes are often both good ones, like a chocolate chip cookie in one hand and a candy bar in the other, but sometimes there’s only one good prize and the other’s a real dud. Dad rarely ever chooses the dud.
If only all of life’s choices were so simple, huh?
I don’t want to make dud decisions in my life, and I know you don’t either. Here is a small checklist to help each of us make wise choices.
Making Wise Choices
#1 Ask yourself, “What’s the wise thing to do?” (And actually do it.)
I know this sounds so simplistic, and obvious, but I find that I had failed to ask this every time I have regrets. When I have a stomach ache after eating that second half gallon of ice cream, I hadn’t asked, “What’s the wise thing to do?”
When I quickly responded to my husband in an angry tone, I hadn’t asked before that, “What’s the wise thing to do?”
When I purchased a pricey brand new phone that I didn’t absolutely need yet, I hadn’t asked before that, “What’s the wise thing to do?”
You could ask this question about every area of your life.
#2 Ask, “What would Jesus do?”
The first one sounded simplistic. This one sounds like a bracelet.
WWJD? Even though those four letters together may seem cliché, the actual question should never grow old. I must have only been 6 or 7 years old when my mom began to tell me while I was turning the TV channels, “Caryn, picture Jesus sitting there right next to you. Would He want to watch that show?”
#3 Humble yourself to admit you don’t know everything.
Humble people are learners and listeners. I’m a bit shocked by how many parents have never picked up a good Christian parenting book or taken a parenting class. Likewise, if I were engaged to be married now, I would be soaking up every opportunity to read marriage books, or to meet with couples who still love each other after a decade or two of marriage. Even though I feel like I’ve had 23 years of a wonderful marriage, I know I can always learn more.
I want to gain as much understanding as I possibly can in all areas of my life, but to do so, I have to be willing to consider that I might currently be wrong or at least limited in those very areas.
#4 Seek counsel from wise, godly friends.
I’m so grateful for the Body of Christ. God has given each of us unique gifts, talents, and areas of expertise. I had been feeling quite insecure about how my husband and I could be the best stewards possible of our finances, so I texted a friend from my church a quick question about resources to help us gain wisdom, and she was at our house a few days later, walking us through Biblical financial principles.
A guy at church helps us with our car maintenance. Another church friend helps me with improving my communication skills. Others challenge me to know God’s word even more. The list goes on and on.
May we serve and learn from other Believers.
Proverbs 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (NIV)
#5 Soak in wisdom from God’s word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV)
Lord, may we yearn to know Your word, and may we desire even more, to put it into practice. Amen.
Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (NIV)
Proverbs 13:13-14 People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed. The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death. (NLT)
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (ESV)
Proverbs 14:26-27 Those who fear the LORD are secure; he will be a refuge for their children. Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death. (NLT)