How do we make good decisions? It is a subject that is important to me as a physician. Making decisions that include others is at the heart of what I do and who I am. So, how do we make good ones? There are lots of books written about the process. "Blink" is my favorite. Malcolm Gladwell carefully told us that maybe our intuitive first impression was the best. Jumping to conclusions could be scientifically shown to have an advantage over long term considering.
But anytime someone makes a fortune selling books telling us not to spend our lives agonizing over a decision that can be made in a "blink" someone is bound to write to the contrary. In no time another author was telling us that it would be better to be "thinking fast and slow!" And there we are caught between two opinions wondering which to choose...
As with anything in life it is always best to go to the instruction manual or the directions first. Men are notorious for failing that on Christmas morning putting the toys together even though we know we would better off if we did. Much about life is like that. We know that we should be consulting the owner's manual before we make major changes. Of course the owner’s manual for humans is not "Gray's Anatomy." It is the Bible.
When I think of making important decisions the one passage that comes to mind is Romans 12:1-2. I beseech you brethren by the mercies of God to present you bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of you mind so that you may prove what is that good acceptable and perfect will of God. There are 4 tests that I see in that passage that help us to avoid making really bad choices.
1. Is this a sacrifice to God or to me? Is this choice I am about to make going to be a gift to God or something that will satisfy my own self-interested desires? If the choice falls in the second category and not the first, it will come to no
2. Will this choice continue the process of "transforming" me into the image of Christ or will it simply conform me or make me more like the world. The job that takes me out of church on Sunday morning may be justified on lots of
biblical grounds but the end result will be the same. I will be doing what the rest of the world is doing on Sunday morning.
3. Will this choice renew my mind or pollute it? This is particularly important when it comes to amusements,
entertainment, literature and television today. Our Lord's warning in Luke 21:34 to guard what we allow into our hearts was given to people who lived in the middle of an immoral society. So do we and we should think hard about the things we read and watch.
4. When the neighbors see the results of my choice will they believe I am doing the will of the God I serve or acting just like them? We are supposed to be in the world as salt and light. The world is not supposed to be in us.
Asking these 4 questions before we choose will not help us pick between good, better and best choices. That will need to wait on another blog spot. These questions will help us avoid making really bad choices and often in life
that makes all the difference.