Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Making Decisions--Personal Evaluations

Making Decisions—Personal Evaluations
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”        (Romans 12:1,2 NIV)
In our first three devotions we focused on godly attitudes in making wise and prudent decisions. We stated that submission to the sovereign and moral wills of God was a key element. For those areas where direct references are not given to guide us, we should be motivated by love and seeking the best interests of others.
     In this final devotion, we shall focus our attention on another several other principles that involve personal assessments. We will be using the Bible reference listed above from Romans 12:1-2.
     The first thing the Apostle Paul tells us to do is to submit ourselves to God. This is seen in his statement, “offer your bodies.” This closely relates to our previous principle of “submission” as stated in devotion two, and is a key element in determining the will of God.
     Second, we are commanded “not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” What is Paul trying to tell us in this statement? I believe he is saying, “Don’t allow our present society or culture to mold our thinking.” Don’t be swayed in your decision-making by the social media or twitter crowd. Their opinions are tainted by the culture of an unbiblical worldview.
     Third, he admonishes us to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” The word transformed comes from a Greek word (metamorphousthe) translated in English as “metamorphosis” meaning a total change from the inside out. (2 Cor. 3:18) The key to this change is the renewing of the mind which is the control center of one’s attitudes, thoughts, feeling, and actions.
     Paul gives us a blueprint to help in the renewing of our mind process. He urges us to do a realistic self-evaluation. In verse 3 he says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (NIV) What is Paul saying to us in this verse? He is telling us to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. Paul is advocating that we emphasize our strengths not our weaknesses in making wise and prudent choices.
     Paul says, “Know yourself.” Know your abilities and spiritual gifts. Do what you can to shore up your weaknesses, but go with your strengths.
     There are several other principles that we could look at such as “considering circumstances, seeking special revelation, second-best decisions, and danger-zones, but space does not allow for a full explanation of each.
     The final principle that I want us to consider is “seeking Godly counsel.” The book of Proverbs urges us to seek wise counsel before finalizing our decisions: “Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life.” (Prov. 19:20 NLT). See also Prov. 11:14;13:20;15:22;20:18;25:5-6)
     In our decision-making process we need to seek (l) Biblical counsel (Pastors), (2) Experienced counsel (those who have gone through similar experiences), and (3) Best available counsel (Christian or non-Christian).

     It is my intent that these devotion have at the least given you some practical guidelines for determining the will of God in a given situation. 

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