Making Biblical Decisions
by: Stephen Beck
An excerpt from Making Biblical Decisions book
Do you see a pattern developing? All decisions must be made in light of God’s overall goal of bringing glory to Himself. All decisions must also be made in accordance with God’s priorities found in His Word. God’s Word is the ultimate authority on God’s priorities. God’s Word is also the ultimate authority on what is a biblical decision. It is not enough to try our best in making correct decisions. God does not bless us for trying hard. If He blessed for sincerity and hard work, the Mormons would win hands down! God only blesses our decisions that are in accordance with scripture. Let me say that again, God only blesses decisions that are biblical!
And what constitutes a biblical decision is not open to private interpretation. A decision is either based on the expressed Word of God (or a principle derived from the expressed Word of God ) or it is not. This is why we are required to know the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). As we gain in understanding of the scripture, we must then skillfully apply it to every situation in order to make biblical decisions. This is called wisdom and it comes at a great price. It must be diligently sought after.
But, we must be careful to realize that spiritual wisdom is not just “Christian” common sense. It is a gift from the Most High, the ability to discern not only between good and evil, but between better and best! It can never be obtained apart from the Holy Spirit, a thorough understanding of God’s Word and an obedient heart. Actually, one can exhibit godly wisdom without a thorough understanding of the scriptures if he has an obedient heart, but having an obedient heart will inevitably lead to more study of the scriptures and thus, ultimately a thorough understanding of the scriptures.
But what about all the little decisions we have to make during the course of the day? Does the bible address whether we should buy Wonder bread or Mrs. Baird’s instead? As we increase in our understanding of God’s Word and begin to apply God’s priorities, we will begin to think more biblically. As our wisdom grows, our confidence in our decision-making ability will grow because we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16).
As I have stated before, God’s goal, God’s priorities and God’s Word are not open to private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20-21). One of the greatest dangers in our modern “Christian” culture is the focus on ourselves.
- “What does this passage mean to me?”
- “What are God’s priorities for me?”
- “What is God’s will for my life?”
When we look at the Word though this myopic lens, God’s Word becomes very subjective. If I interpret the bible this way and you interpret the bible another way, then which interpretation is correct? Can we really know what the bible is saying if there are so many different ways of interpreting it? Is there really such a thing as absolute truth? When we view scripture as applying to each of us differently, we are thinking as a humanist. We are placing ourselves as the final arbiter over God’s Word. I determine what God means in this passage for me, and you determine what this passage means for you.
God knew exactly what He meant when He wrote the bible and it is our responsibility, through the Holy Spirit, to understand what He meant and to conform our lives to His Word. When we try to change the plain meaning of the scriptures to fit our current culture, we are assuming the role of God. Allowing women to teach or to be in authority over men in the church is a good example of this. 1 Timothy 2:11-15 clearly teaches against this and yet many of our evangelical churches have women teaching men in adult Sunday schools. The bible does not allow a woman to teach a man even if her teaching partner is a man and they are teaching couples. Women are not to be in authority over men in the church, period. That is why God’s priorities can not be viewed subjectively. If we view the bible subjectively, what it means to us in this day and time, we begin to experience priorities that are at cross purposes with one another.
Our centralized, federal government is full of these. The United States government spends billions of dollars through the agricultural extension service trying to increase farm productivity. It then turns right around and pays farmers not to plant due to over-production! (This is called the PIC program.) Because governments have competing priorities, conflicting programs and confusion inevitably result. Churches have the same problem. Many of our evangelical churches have programs and activities at cross purposes with one another and the Word of God. One thing the modern evangelical church has done very poorly is identify God’s priorities. Because church leaders do not have a clear understanding of God’s overall objective, they make decisions that lead them farther and farther from the summit.
Consider the modern church youth group. A church becomes alarmed at the behavior and the lack of scriptural knowledge of their youth. To combat this, they hire a young, hip youth minister. As the kids gravitate toward this young energetic guy, it exacerbates an already widening gap between the children and their parents. The kids begin to view the youth pastor as their spiritual leader instead of the biblical model of their own fathers as we see in Deuteronomy 6. The parents, whom God has called to train their own children in ways of the Lord, abdicate their responsibility even further because, “Hey, the guy needs to disciple my kids. That’s what he’s getting paid for!”
The parents even doubt their own ability to disciple their kids because they have not been trained to do so. It is the “I am a trained professional, do not attempt this at home” mentality. The demands of the parents and the kids finally become too great for our young youth minister and he departs to start the whole process over again in another church. This leaves the kids in a worse state than before they started. Although they may have a few tidbits of scripture in their heads (after all, the youth pastor did have a Wednesday night bible study!), they have missed a very important principle. The principle of fathers discipling their own children in the ways of the Lord. The same kids, having missed the principle, will in turn fail to pass this principle to their own kids, making the same mistake their parents made.
You see, decisions made without keeping God’s priorities in view will end in disaster and will not accomplish His overall goal, which is to glorify Himself. Activities not in line with His priorities achieve nothing and can even be counter productive. The modern day church is notorious for being busy in all the lesser things. This siphons precious time, energy and resources away from the most significant issues. Programs try to solve problems through bureaucracy instead of the biblical model of relationships. If a man is not leading his family well he does not need a program or a pep rally. He needs a mature believer to come along side to model biblical family leadership.
Stephen Beck owns and operates a small business in Texas. He is the author of A Father’s Stew: The Biblical Integration of Family, Work and Ministry and 8 Weeks to Profits. His passions are discipling his three children and leading younger believers to maturity in Christ, which he combines with his other passion of duck hunting whenever he can! Stephen wants to give you a copy his mini-course. Just go to this site and sign up for the course. http://www.FamilyEbiz.com