5/31 First Things First Part 3 of Series: The Art of Decision-Making James 4: 11-17
The last three Sundays were grouped into a series titled: The Art of Decision Making. Decision making is an art, a skill, the principles, or methods governing any branch of learning. First, we studied Wisdom. We now know wisdom is based on biblical morals. We obey and seek to follow as God teaches us to. Then we addressed our selfishness and pride through humility. We learned that puffing ourselves up is squashing another. It’s through helping and serving others with humility that we make an impact. God sees our heart. He knows our every motive. This week we are addressing First Things First.
Pastor George in his Children’s Time mini sermon talked on The Priority of Following Jesus. Following Jesus is a priority to all of us who profess to be Christian. But how often have we as adults stopped to ask God, what should I do? How can I honor you with what I’m doing? Martin Luther King summarized it best when saying…to do the will of God, come what may! This week’s series in RNM we watched and learned from Andy Stanley on Discovering God’s Will. He says that our life is a subtotal of the decisions we make. So far, we’ve talked about First Things First, God’s Will, and life’s decisions. Do all of these go hand in hand? What about wisdom and humility? Do they play a part in God’s will for me since they too are a part of this series?
Throughout all of life we make many decisions. Some are simple, some are more difficult. Some will affect us a little, some will affect us a lot. All decisions we make reflect the God we follow. As Pastor George asked us, as we seek to put First Things First, what God is the best for me? In the scripture passage for this week, James 4:17 says……”it is sin to know good and yet not do it”. In making our decisions are we listening to our moral compass? In other words, following Jesus? Or what god has us closer than the one true God?
In My Dreams and God’s Will by Phil Vischer, he talked about his experience through his business called Veggie Tales. Phil said, “My dream is important to Him (God), and because my dream is good for God, He will bless my dream – this is when God is going to show up.” In reality, what he said he was saying is “The work I do for God is more important than my relationship with Him”. He was asking God to: open the door, bless us, then get out of my way – that kind of mentality. He wanted his dream. Veggie Tales eventually went bankrupt. Phil said in living the way God intends is for us to focus on obedience – God what do you want me to do? And am I doing it? He said, Life becomes about loving others not about accomplishing objectives. That’s where you find the fruit of the spirit – that’s where you find joy! Joy, an inner sense of wellbeing and satisfaction that endures through good times and bad.
Andy Stanley says we have a God who cares about you because He knows where you are in your life. God wants you to know His will for you more than you want to know it. The ultimate thing is God wants you to discover Him. God does not give us direction for consideration, but for action/obedience. God says Trust Me. Growing in your faith and obedience then you will be able to know and discern His will for you. Andy explained that in this life we have the Providential will of God. Those things God is going to do no matter what. We can read of these in scripture on what he’s accomplished through men and women of the Bible. Then there is the Moral Will of God, the basic do’s, and don’ts of the scripture. To remain morally pure. And then the Personal Will of God for each of us. The personal decisions all of us make. Every decision will cross with a principle of God’s word. What is the wise thing for me to do? Andy says we are to study our Bibles to dig out the principles. He said, you can disobey a command, but a principle….it’s the way the world works. There’s no disobeying a principle without a consequence.
First Things First – God’s will – our dreams. Isaiah 55:8 “My thoughts are not your thoughts; my ways are not your ways”. We need to get to know God better. Read the Bible, look for principles, timeless truths, a cause, and effect behavior. Acting on the First thing, the priority of following Jesus, getting to know God, then when we dream dreams for our life – a career, marriage, family, finances, and so on, we need to first see it, get a vision, what does “it” look like? Define it, describe it, allow God to have some impact to this picture. Have courage, make decisions, accordingly, saying yes or no to opportunities that bring the vision into clear focus all the while living the way God intends for us to.
As Pastor George said on Sunday, we need strength to act and live. How can I honor you Lord with what I’m doing? Life and Religion says life justifies living. Grace and religion say its grace that justifies living. With God all things are possible. In making those decision in life we should: Stop – Ask – Pray – Listen – Respond. Pursue God’s best for me. Questions we can ask ourselves are 1. What one thing I could do that I am not doing now that would make a positive difference? And 2. What one thing in my academic/business/professional life would bring similar results?
Yes, learning the Wisdom that’s found within our Bibles and from others who God brings into our lives, plus living humbly in service to what God wants us to do, will lead us into doing the will of God and mastering the art of decision making. But always its First Things First – God is First.
Larry & Darlene