“Time is equal to life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.”
~ Alan Lakein
If we accept that how you spend your time in totality makes up your life, how are we all doing? If we accept HWA’s conclusion that the purpose this life is to build godly character and prepare for eternal life, how are we doing there? And, just how do you build godly character, anyhow?
I suppose each of us could come up with a number of answers to these questions. Let me ask you, though, to consider how you spend much of your day. You decide when to get up, what to have for breakfast, whether or not to brush your teeth, whether to use the dandruff shampoo or the smelly one that attracts bees, what outfit to wear, etc. Life is full of decisions. We exercise this ability every day, unless we are among the truly unfortunate who have no say in anything (in which case, you’re probably not reading this).
Occasionally, I post about discernment. It is a related topic. The ability to recognize and choose the right amongst many other choices is very much related. However, in the end, we could still choose the wrong. This is what searing of the conscience is all about. One of the consequences over time can be the loss of ability to discern. Making godly choices and discernment are closely intertwined, but I should add they are separate ideas. Making the right decisions is dependent upon discernment, but it should be noted that making right decisions also builds discernment. It isn’t just the knowing, but the real exercise comes in the doing.
We cannot know all the answers. Only God does. Knowing this, we cannot wait for “all the information” to come in. That’s just a form of procrastination. If we procrastinate long enough, the decision will be made for us, and it will usually be quite unpleasant.
That’s why it is important to seek God’s will upfront. The more important the decision, the earlier we should seek Him out.
6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
~ Pr 3:6 (KJV)
It is important to realize that we must “acknowledge Him” first. Not only that, but in “all” of our ways. Then, He will direct our steps.
However, to “acknowledge Him” by paying Him lip service and going about our own ways regardless is not what the passage is referring to. We must be sure we are actually relying upon Him, trusting Him, fearing Him and obeying Him.
5Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
6In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
7Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil.
~ Pr 3:5-7 (AMP)
This is the foundation of making godly and wise choices. If your thoughts run counter to what Scripture says, then you should not be “wise in your own eyes”. That is what Eve did. She “saw the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes”. How did she “see” this? In her mind, of course. The fruit looked good, and she imagined that it was good to eat, even though God said otherwise.
We rely upon God because only He knows all. We will never know 100%. In fact, Newsweek a few years ago documented how the Marines make decisions. They use the 70% rule. If they have 70% of the needed information, they feel that is reasonably enough to make a decision. Steven L Anderson, PhD, in a paper titled “The 40-70 rule” puts it like this:
Making tough decisions is the hallmark of an effective leader. Many leaders struggle with the fear that they will make a mistake when making a decision that will either embarrass them or hurt other people.
Colin Powell has a rule of thumb about making tough decisions that I feel is helpful when facing such situations. He says that every time you face a tough decision you should have no less than forty percent and no more than seventy percent of the information you need to make the decision. If you make a decision with less than forty percent of the information you need you are shooting from the hip and you will make too many mistakes.
The second part of the decision making rule is what surprises many leaders. They often think that they need more than seventy percent of the information before they can make a decision. But, I explain to them, if you get more than seventy percent of the information you need to make the decision then the opportunity has usually passed and someone else has beaten you to the punch.
So, if you are waiting on perfect knowledge, you will be waiting too long. However, because of that, if you are not communicating with the Omniscient One and asking for assistance, then you have nothing left but your own faulty heart and mind to base your decisions upon.
Yet, what is the world’s way? Doesn’t the mainstream media push the message to “follow your heart”?
9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
~ Jer 17:9 (KJV)
Communication with God (prayer and Bible Study) is so important that David R Reid in “The Seven C’s of Decision-Making” says it is the most important of all the seven C’s (a play on words with “seven seas”, in case you were wondering). I don’t know what denomination he is, but it is an interesting article with Scriptures to back it up. Well worth a read, IMO.
Will we make mistakes? Yes, we will! That’s why we have to get back up and try it again.
16For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
~ Pr 24:16 (KJV)
I’m certainly not perfect in this area, nor do I expect I ever will be in this life. This has certainly given me a lot to chew on.