Living From Our Morals (Part 1)
Life is a series of decisions; every day we encounter countless decisions to make. Some decisions are very easy (Coke or Pepsi; wake up or hit the snooze; buckle up or not…) while other decisions can be a lot more complex (where do I work, should I confront that person, where should I go to college, where should we send our kids to school; who’s house will we visit for Thanksgiving and Christmas…). Some decisions will simply come down to our own preference, like what particular brand to buy (Under Armor or ADIDAS) while other decisions could cause several late nights of discussion (should we Home-School, Public School or Christian School our children). Nevertheless, in the end we have to OWN our decisions and that can be scary – because with every decision there could be both positive or negative consequences. What’s more, the bigger the decision, the higher the risk that we could get it wrong. So, how do we navigate this area of life so we can be confident (or at least as confident as possible) in the decisions we are making. Well, it all starts with our morals or, in how we set our standards for living our life.
Setting the Standard
Today I’m going to start an eleven part series to help us understand that there is a foundation we need to lay so we can get to a place in our life where decision making (big or little decisions) becomes very easy. I believe that decision making can become easy when we live by a standard or a set of guidelines. From time-to-time there will be some “gray” areas but even then, there will be standards or checklist we can run through to ensure we are making wise decisions.
First, let’s look at some wrong ways to go about making decisions:
We should not base our decisions on what “everybody” else is doing or by what _______ (fill in a person’s name) is doing. This is the mindset where we look at the life of someone else and make the assumption that what is good for them is also good for us. Now, sometimes, that might be true (reading your Bible everyday and applying it’s teaching is good for everybody). However, I should not read my Bible because I know of another guy in my neighborhood who reads his Bible – I read the Bible because I know it’s good for me and I know I will learn more about the Creator through reading it.
Consequences can be a good motivator for getting things done. But really, this is elementary. There is a higher calling for accomplishing tasks and making decisions. Consequences might get a “right” response or a “right” result but the character development of the heart might not be there.
In life, we can easily make a lot of good decisions based on our emotions and also a lot of bad ones. Just the other day I made an emotional decision as I was moved (emotionally) to pick up my son and hug him when he was crying. I was moved (emotionally) when I sat down to talk with my daughter because she was sad. Emotions, like consequences, can motivate us to do great things. But again, if we are “driven” only by our emotions we could end up deciding to do something very foolish.
So I say this to make a simple point; emotions, consequences and comparisons are not the best way to set our standards for decision making. Instead, when making life decisions we should follow these three guidelines:
Accept God’s way over the World’s Way.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Galatians 6:14-15 (NLT)
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died… What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.
God is: Objective, Universal, Constant
In life, we can base our decision making process on how the world does it or we can base our decisions on the truth of God. Both will require faith; yet, the more we get to know God the more we will see that His wisdom for our life IS LIFE.
And that brings us to the second guideline…
Believe God’s Standard Promotes Life.
John 10:10 (NLT)
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
God is the creator of life and although His guiding in our life might not always make sense at the time; it will in the end. God sees the big picture of our life. Therefore, trusting Him will lead us to what would be best.
Commit to Putting God First.
Exodus 20:3 (NLT)
God says, “You must not have any other god but Me.
When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments (to then give to the Israelites) He made it clear that He was to be the only God in their life. Just like the Israelites, we too are drawn away by our own selfishness and the worship of false gods. We (especially in our culture) worship our material possessions. We continually think that some new item will bring us happiness; when in fact the opposite is true. It always has been and always will be relationships (with God and Others) that will bring us happiness. When we commit to putting God first in our life (seeking Him and really getting to Know His heart and mind) He will guide our thoughts and decision making process. The Bible tells us that when we seek God with all our heart we will find him. Are you seeking? Or, are you too busy seeking the STUFF of this world to try and satisfy your empty heart?
Deuteronomy 4:29 (NLT)
And if you search for Him (God) with all your heart and soul, you will find Him.
Standards: “They lay the FOUNDATIONS for your life. What we BELIEVE determines how we BEHAVE which determines what we BECOME.”