Several years ago, I decided to help my little brother paint his closet. As two energetic young painters, we dove right into this project—and didn’t bother to remove the clothes and other miscellaneous stuff in the closet while we painted. (Amateur, I know.)
We were on a roll, the back wall almost completed, when I decided the paint bucket needed to be relocated. So with my paint-covered hands, I grabbed the handle and lifted.
WARNING: Paint bucket handles are slippery when wet!
It was like a slow motion moment of horror, as the handle slid out of my grip, the bucket hit the floor, and a volcano of tan paint exploded.
This wasn’t a gentle spill.
Paint was everywhere, on clothes and the floor and the walls and me. I stood for an instant totally thunderstruck, looked at my brother, and burst into tears.
Like an Exploding Bucket of Paint
Every day we have the opportunity to make decisions that will affect our lives and the lives of those around us. Just like when I dropped the bucket of paint and it affected EVERYTHING in the closet, our decisions will make a difference in plenty of lives besides our own.
Here’s an extreme example: If I decide that red lights are obnoxious and I don’t feel like stopping at them anymore, that decision doesn’t just put my life in danger but also the lives of the people coming from the other direction.
Our decisions, whether good or bad, don’t only affect our lives; they can deeply affect the people around us, too.
As we’ve settled into the daily routines of this school year, there are a lot of decisions to be made:
- Who should I hang out with?
- Should I go to that party?
- What college should I attend?
- Should I even go to college?
- Should I get a job?
- Is a boyfriend a good idea when I’m sixteen?
- Should I give him my number?
- Should I be dating this guy?
- Is this outfit attracting the wrong kind of attention?
- Do I actually need to go to church?
Life is full of decisions, big and small, and thankfully, we’re not left to fend for ourselves! The Bible has a lot to say about this topic, giving us incredible guidelines for making wise decisions.
Let’s take a look at three of those guidelines.
1. Resist the know-it-all mentality.
It’s tempting to think we know all the answers and to jump into something that looks okay at first glance. But in Proverbs 3:5–6, we learn that we first have to admit that God is the only One who has all the answers and that only with Him can we follow the path He’s mapped out for us.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5–8).
2. Ask for advice.
No matter how old you are, where you live, or what decisions you’re struggling with, asking for advice is always a good (and biblical) idea.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice (Prov. 12:15).
Find someone older and wiser who is seeking God and ask for their advice. An outside opinion can bring clarity into the situation and point you to Truth.
3. Ask yourself questions according to Scripture.
This is a huge one. We have to hold up our thoughts against the plumb line of God’s Word. Why? Because our own hearts are deceitful; if we don’t seek Truth, we’ll get lost in a world of lies real quick (Jer. 17:9). (For more on this topic, read this post.)
We have to train ourselves to pause, think about our motivations behind a decision, and ask ourselves if our hearts are in line with God and His Word.
Take a passage like Ephesians 5:15–16: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
- Would this decision be unwise or wise?
- Is it the best use of my time?
- Have I looked to Scripture in this situation?
- Have I prayed about this decision?
- Am I walking with God, or am I charting my own path?
- Do I truly desire God’s ways, or am I wanting my own satisfaction from the world?
Honestly answering these questions can help you determine what the best decision is. Make sure you’re praying that God would align your heart with His! Always go back to Him in prayer and in the Word.
Sin’s Splatter Marks
Spilled and splattered paint isn’t easy to clean! It stains. It makes a total mess.
It’s kind of similar to sinful decisions. Our wrong choices can do serious damage—but a whole lot more severe than a paint spill inside your brother’s closet.
So as you’re faced with difficult decisions, don’t stray from God’s Word. We need its Truth to remind us that our choices matter, and like a paint can plummeting to the ground, they have the power to affect the people around us!
- Have you been faced with a tough decision? How has God helped you in that situation?
- Have you seen how your decisions affect others?