We make thousands of decisions every day, from what to wear, to what to eat, to whom to marry. Some of our decisions are in the “natural” realm and others are in the “spiritual” realm. Natural decisions usually are of little importance, whereas spiritual decisions sometimes carry eternal weight.
Natural decisions are usually just a matter of preference, like eggs and bacon versus oatmeal for breakfast. Although some choices are better than others, physical decisions are most often innocuous and have little effect on your spiritual condition.
Spiritual decisions, on the other hand, will directly affect the level of intimacy you have with your Father God and can even determine your Eternal Destiny.
This study will concentrate on the latter; so what are the basic guidelines for making good spiritual decisions?
First and foremost, we must ask if the decision we have to make is addressed in Scripture. Does God directly deal with your specific issue in His Word? If so, your decision is easy and the “choice” is moot. If God says, “This is right,” or “This is wrong,” then there is no need for a decision. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me you will obey me.” As a Believer, our only response is obedience. Should I cheat on my spouse? God says, “No.” Then don’t do it! It’s that simple. James 1:22 says, “Be doers of the Word, not hearers only.” So if we are going to claim to be a follower of Christ, our choice is simple: Do the right thing. Now, do we always do the right thing in the heat of the moment? Not always…but once we have had time to mull things over, we must acquiesce to God’s Will as revealed in His Word.
But what if your dilemma is not addressed “specifically” in Scripture…then what do we do? In reality, that mindset is usually a copout. Someone might claim, “I watch porn because the Bible does not “specifically” say that I shouldn’t.” Obviously, watching pornography IS addressed under the topic of “lust.” Since the Biblical writers didn’t have television or internet back then, those specific types of lust would not be directly addressed but the topic of lust is addressed many, many times.
So the vast majority of time, your issue will be addressed directly in Scripture--that is if you bother to read Scripture. Many “believers” today don’t read their Bible, for fear that it might conflict with their “deeply held religious beliefs.” Which leads many towards fighting for freedom TO sin rather than freedom FROM sin. The only way to find out if your beliefs are Scriptural is to actually read and study the Bible. Then and only then can you be totally confident that you are on the right side of any spiritual issue.
Should I talk about people behind their back? No: That’s gossip. (II Corinthians 12)
What if they are your parents? Double NO: Honor your Mother and Father. (Eph. 6:1)
“But they frustrated me and I needed to talk to someone...”
Matthew 18 says to talk to them directly first. If they have wronged you somehow but won’t repent or even acknowledge it, you are to bring a family member into the mix to mediate. Badmouthing or gossiping is never an option.
But what if the issue is not so cut and dry? What are the basic guidelines for those types of decisions? There are three basic questions you can ask yourself:
1) Will your decision honor God or feed your flesh? (Always seek to honor God)
2) Will your decision harm anyone; physically or their reputation? (Do no harm)
3) Will your decision honor others or yourself? (Honor others above yourself)
If you claim to be a Believer, then the only valid options are in the “Spiritually Motivated” column. In any situation of conflict, communication is essential and mandated by Scripture (Matthew 18). Truth is always better than rumors, evidence is always better than hearsay and forgiveness is always better than vengeance.
If you find that any of your motives fall under the “Carnally Motivated” column, you are definitely out of the Will of God. Does that mean you are lost and going to Hell? Not necessarily, but it shows a lack of depth and sincerity in your relationship with your Heavenly Father.
No one is perfect; we all stumble occasionally. But a true Believer will not “walk” in sin. In other words, if you have a genuine relationship with your Creator, you cannot continually walk in carnality.
Paul said in Romans 8, “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God…for if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
I John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
So for Believers, walking in the Spirit is our only option. Walking in the flesh will kill our relationship with God, just like cheating on your spouse will kill your marriage. Every decision we make, that is contrary to God’s Will and His Word, pushes us a little farther apart. If you truly want to walk in unity with Jesus, you must walk according to His Plan for your life. He is not trying to control or manipulate you; He simply wants what is best for you. To have true Life and True Peace we must walk in unity with our Creator.
As Paul said, “to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Like Jesus, our prayer should always be, “Not my will, but Thy Will be done.”