Baseball experts have developed technology that allows them to determine the speed a ball is thrown by a pitcher, describe the trajectory of the ball, and pinpoint the exact location the ball crosses the plate. A committed hitter will often prepare to face an opposing pitcher by using this technology in an attempt to ascertain whether or not he has developed any identifiable patterns in his choices of pitches (i.e. fastball up and in, high curve, slider down and away, etc.). Pitchers are humans and as such, their decision-making tends to fall into certain grooves that can sometimes be predicted.
In like manner, the choices and decisions people make about everyday life are also identifiable and often predictable. Life is full of options. Everyday choices must be made. Most of these would not be considered weighty or consequential (i.e. “Should I get a haircut today or tomorrow?”), but many affect a person’s life. Poor choices can complicate and quickly worsen a person’s situation. A series of bad decisions can bury him in a hole that isn’t easy to escape. Indeed, prisons and graveyards are full of people who have made unfortunate mistakes that have cost them dearly. “A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless,” says Proverbs 14:16.
“A person is considered foolish when he doesn’t think through the implications and consequences of his actions.”
A person is considered foolish when he doesn’t think through the implications and consequences of his actions. His only concern is the immediate dividends to be gained and his decision-making will usually involve questions such as these: “Will this bring me pleasure now?” “Will it help me avoid discomfort today?” “How will it affect me at this moment?” It is as Solomon said, “The mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.” (Ecclesiastes 7:4)
On the other hand, a wise person is continually thinking ahead. His mental processes take a completely different line of thought: “How will this choice affect my life a month from now?” “What will I think of this decision in a year’s time?” “How will it contribute to the shaping of my eternity?” Every choice he faces must pass through the filter of these queries. It isn’t that a wise person cannot take pleasure in the things of life. If the particular activity he is considering will not adversely affect him, he knows he is free to enjoy it. But if it is going to have adverse consequences, it is quickly dismissed.
How to Change Your Decision-Making
People who habitually give over to masturbation, pornography, and illicit sex are routinely making poor choices. Indeed, the very habits that are ruling their lives are nothing more than the outcome of making consistent mistakes. They have allowed the love of immediate pleasure to carry more weight in their lives than the peace and joy that accompanies godliness. However, God has graciously provided the means for a person to turn his life around. The following are a few pointers about changing one’s decision-making.
1. Identify Patterns
First, like the committed hitter mentioned above, this person should study past decisions and look for patterns. He should ask himself tough questions: “Why did I do that?” “What were my thoughts leading up to that decision?” “What would have been the wiser thing to do?” “How can I prepare myself to choose to do the right thing when faced with this in the future?” Acknowledging and coming to grips with past errors will help him to be prepared to make wise decisions in the days ahead.
Once he has identified past mistakes, he should repent of each of them to the Lord and to anyone else who was adversely affected by them. This clears the slate and, in a certain respect, helps him to spiritually disentangle himself from those past sins.
3. Find Counsel
He should also seek out wise people and subject himself to their counsel. Solomon rightly said, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” (Proverbs 12:15) People who have shown a propensity for making bad decisions can learn much by humbling themselves to godly saints. He should be careful to heed their advice, remembering that his best thinking has gotten him into his current condition.
4. Seek Wisdom
He should also make a commitment to study and cherish wisdom. Rather than continuing on the path of making impulsive choices based on a temporal mindset, he must learn the value of thinking things through. A thorough study of wisdom vs. foolishness in Scripture would be very valuable as well.
As the individual incorporate these principles into his daily life, things will begin to turn around for him. Good decisions not only bring positive consequences, but they also help develop the habit pattern of making wise choices in the future. Wisdom begets more wisdom and, as can be seen by the passage of Scripture below, it also brings with it a life of spiritual prosperity and emotional soundness. I recommend that the reader take some time to ponder and meditate upon the following words:
“How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.” (Proverbs 3:13-18)
Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.
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