Do you have trouble making decisions? For some people decision making is easy. But for most of us, it's difficult to know if we're using good judgment as we make daily decision about life. It becomes even harder with important, life-changing decisions. In her humorous and candid style, Karen Wolff of Christian-Books-for-Women.com examines the concepts of judgment and discernment from a biblical standpoint and offers four keys to making right decisions.
4 Keys to Making Right Decisions
How do you define judgment? Webster says:
"The process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing; an opinion or estimate so formed; the capacity for judging; discernment; the exercise of this capacity; a proposition stating something believed or asserted."
That pretty much says it all, doesn't it? The truth is, everybody uses judgment every day in the decision making process. It just gets complicated when other people evaluate that judgment. Whether it was good judgment or bad judgement depends on who you ask.
So how do you know who to listen to? Who gets to decide if you're showing good judgment?
The answer comes when you look to God for a solution. Believing and relying on God's Word will shed incredible light on just about any issue. God has an amazing plan for you and your life, and he does all he can to help you find and attain it. So when you work with God, he gives you the grace to make right decisions and show good judgment.
Of course, I'm not so sure that grace extends to that ugly, green shirt you bought just because it was on sale. And it might not cover your decision to shave your head because you lost a bet. I think the consequences of those decisions will ultimately be yours and yours alone!
You do have to be very careful when you start making efforts to improve on this area of decision making and judgment, though. Just because you're working with God to move forward in your own life, doesn't mean you have the right or responsibility to judge what someone else is doing. It's so easy to have an opinion about others because you have no direct responsibility for what other people do or say. But God isn't going to ask you about someone else when you stand before him someday. He is only going to be concerned about what you said and did.
Getting Started on the Road to Right Decision Making
So how do you get started working with God so you can begin making right decisions and showing good judgment? Here are four keys to point you in the right direction:
Make the decision to let God be God. You'll never make progress in this area as long as you refuse to give up control. It certainly isn't easy, and it certainly doesn't happen overnight, especially if you're a control freak as I once was. It almost drove me completely nuts when I began giving up control of things. But it helped immensely when I realized there was somebody a bit more qualified than me in charge of my life.
We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. (NLT)
Study the Word of God. The only way you're going to get to know God and his character is to study his Word. It won't take long before you're able to judge situations and circumstances with a new view. Decisions are easier because you already know in advance the direction you want your life to take.
2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (NKJV)
Surround yourself with people who are further along in the journey. There is no reason to learn every lesson yourself when you have perfectly good examples right in front of you. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we often counsel one another from what we've learned through our mistakes. Take advantage of this counsel and learn from the mistakes of others so your own learning curve is not so steep. You'll be very glad you don't have to go through every mistake as you learn from observing and listening to others. But trust me, you'll still make plenty of your own mistakes. You can take comfort in knowing that one day your mistakes may serve to help someone else.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. (NLT)
Never give up. Be glad about your progress. Let yourself off the hook. You didn't start showing poor judgment overnight and you won't always show good judgment now, just because you want to. Just be happy you're making progress and you're seeing your life improve. Little by little as you gain wisdom from God's Word, you'll begin to see the results reflected in your decisions.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. (NLT)
It takes time to develop good judgment, but once you make the commitment to move forward in this area, you're halfway there. Working with God is continuous, but it is worth the effort.
Karen Wolff, a guest writer for About.com, is host to a Christian Web site for women. As founder of Christian-Books-for-Women.com, she wants to provide Christian women with a place to find practical information, tips, and help with a variety of issues they face every day. For more information visit Karen's Bio Page.