Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 06, February 17, 2008
"How To Make Up Your Mind"
How do you make decisions?
Do you struggle making choices?
Life is basically a series of choices. Everyday we contemplate, evaluate, perhaps even hesitate and then we draw conclusions. However, we don’t always know how to do that.
It has been said, “We make our decisions and then our decisions make us.”
Q. What is the secret of business success?
Q. How can I learn to make wise decisions?
Q. How do you get experience?
Read James 1:5-11
THE PROBLEM: INDECISION
Verse 8 “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Double-mindedness is translated ‘confused”. James says if you can't make up your mind it produces instability. He says in fact, all your ways will become unstable. Constant turmoil.
Three ways indecision makes you unstable:
You worry and fret wondering if you made the right move, made the right decision or choice. Second guessing. You can't sleep or eat.
You go to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist asks, “Are you indecisive?”" You say, “I used to be, but now I'm not sure.”
When parents say one thing, then say another thing it causes instability with the children. Never being certain about decisions being made, “Are we going or not going?” Will you or won’t you?” Hard to live like that.
Some people use up more energy deciding what to do than it would take to just do it.
Unstable spiritual life
Verse 7 “That man should not think that he'll receive anything from the Lord.”
Indecision keeps God from giving and you from receiving. Some folks wonder why God doesn’t answer their prayers. Perhaps they are not specific enough. Perhaps they’ve never really decided what it is they want. No clear-cut goal.
Pilgrim's Progress talks about a man, Mr. Facing-Both-Ways. He wanted to do his will and God's will at the same time.
THE SOLUTION: “Get wisdom”. James says, "If any of you lack wisdom, ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him."
Then he gives three practical steps.
You Admit, You Ask, You Anticipate.
Admit your need.
verse 5 “If you lack wisdom”.
Wisdom is different from knowledge in that wisdom is knowledge put into practice.
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes then comes disgrace. But with humility comes wisdom.”
Pride blocks wisdom
Hard to learn anything if you think you know it all. The key to wisdom is to admit that you need wisdom.
Ask for wisdom
“If any man lack wisdom he should ask God.”
Proverbs 2:6 “It is the Lord who gives wisdom, from Him comes knowledge and understanding.” Wisdom comes from God.
James 4:2 “You have not because you ask not.” Could it be that simple? The reason we don’t have wisdom is we didn’t ask.
Twenty times in the New Testament it says, “Ask and it shall be given”. This phrase literally says, “keep on asking, be persistent”.
As your pastor, I wouldn't dare to lead our church without continually asking God for wisdom. I pray this prayer every day and sometimes 100 times a day.
In our new work especially, my spiritual responsibility as the Shepherd is to discover what God wants to do in this His body.
Expect an answer in faith when you pray. “If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask of God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him. But when he asks he must believe and not doubt.” Circle ‘not doubt’.
If you want wisdom…..
First you must ask the right person.
Then you must ask the right way (in faith, believing, not doubting)
Perhaps we are looking at the problem rather than at the Lord, the solution.
“He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
Sadly, many of God’s children are victims of their circumstances. If you want any help from God you've got to believe in advance you're going to get it. That's faith!
Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please God. Anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
THE PROMISE: GOD WILL GIVE IT!
“If any man lacks wisdom he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
God wants to give you wisdom. Just like it pleased God when Solomon asked for wisdom, it pleases God when we come to Him and say, “I haven't got a clue as to what I'm supposed to do.”
It is God's nature to give. Look how James says God will give wisdom:
Continually….“Ask God who gives”
Literally keeps on giving in a continuous tense.
Generously…..His resources are unlimited. He has enough resources for everybody.
Without finding fault…..God gives cheerfully. God doesn’t resent you asking for wisdom, it actually pleases Him.
Have you ever received a gift from someone who gave it to you begrudgingly? Kind of takes the joy out of it, doesn’t it?
God does not want to nor will He make the decision for you. He wants you to make the decision, based on His wisdom.
Perhaps we need to confess that we are poor decision-makers. Admitting that we don't know which way to turn, opens the door to God’s intervention.
God's wisdom is found in His Word.
Psalm 119:105 “God's word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
Don’t leave it up to chance - choose to trust God. That may be the deeper issue here, an inability to trust God.
The most important decision you can ever make is to build a relationship with Jesus Christ.
As your relationship with Him grows, it will produce incredible stability and as you lean on Him moment by moment you'll find guidance in every other area of your life.