Jesus Offers Hope for Bad Decisions
By Rick Warren
“If you want better insight and discernment . . . learn the importance of reverence for the Lord and of trusting him . . . He shows how to distinguish right from wrong, how to find the right decision every time” (Proverbs 2:3-5, 9 TLB).
For the last several days you’ve seen six different tests you can use when making decisions. Today I have them all listed here together. As you read over the tests again, reflect on your own decision-making habits. And then read what Jesus might want to say to you about the decisions you’ve made in the past.
Ideal Test: Is this in harmony with God’s Word?
For many decisions, the Bible offers instructions or a clear principle to follow. When you’re making a decision, consider whether God’s Word speaks directly to what you should do.
Integrity Test: Would I want everyone to know about this decision that I’m making?
When you’re a person of integrity, who you are on the inside matches who you are on the outside. Who you are in private is the same as who you are in public.
Improvement Test: Will this make me a better person?
In your life, you often won’t be choosing between good and evil, but between better and best. Have a high standard and fill your life with the best.
Independence Test: Could this begin to control and dominate my life?
Even if something isn’t bad on the surface, it’s bad for you if it becomes an addiction. Christ is the only one who deserves control in your life.
Influence Test: Will this harm other people?
Our culture asks: What do you need? But God demands that you think of other people, too. If a decision you make will harm other people, it’s the wrong decision.
Investment Test: Is this the best use of my time?
You don’t have time for everything, and God doesn’t expect you to do everything. Figure out the mission God has for you. Invest your time in that.
As you read through this list, you may be haunted by bad decisions you’ve made. You may be feeling shame, guilt, regret, or remorse. Maybe you were unfaithful to a spouse. Perhaps you lied to protect yourself. You may have done something so bad that you never have told anyone what you’ve done.
Here’s what I think Jesus might like to say to you today:
“I don’t care what bad decisions you have made. You matter to me. You are valuable to me. I love you. I will forgive you. I can restore you. I can even reverse some of the damage you have brought on your life and the lives of other people. I will welcome you back home with open arms. I died for those poor decisions that you made. They’ve already been paid for on the cross. Come to me and give me all the pieces of your life: the good parts, the ugly parts, the parts that embarrass you. I will take your pieces and give you my peace. Some of your past decisions have caused scars and shame. I will give you the power and wisdom to start making smart decisions that will lead to satisfaction and significance.”
What a deal! Who could turn that down? If you’ve realized today that you’ve been calling your own shots, give that control over to God. And enjoy the peace that will follow.
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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