You do something several times a day that drastically affects your life. It alters your health, your academics, your athletics, your job, your reputation, your relationships with other people, and your relationship with God.
I’m talking about making decisions.
How often have you decided to go out to eat, but no one in your group will actually choose a restaurant? (“Wherever you want to go is fine with me.”) How often have you decided to watch a movie, but then spent more time choosing which one than you spent watching it? These are trivial but common examples that reveal a bigger issue many people struggle with: indecision.
God requires you to make decisions. This is actually a tremendous power He has given you! He wants you to learn to exercise that power wisely.
God tells you, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). God doesn’t make up your mind for you. He has given you free will—and you have to decide.
When you are under your parents’ authority, you submit to and learn from their decisions. But ultimately, you are responsible for your own decisions. You won’t attain the Kingdom of God based on the decisions of your parents or anyone else (e.g. Ezekiel 18:20; Philippians 2:12).
Making decisions is fundamental to building godly character. The Incredible Human Potential defines character as “the ability, in a separate entity with free moral agency, to come to the knowledge of the right from the wrong—the true from the false—and to choose the right, and possess the will to enforce self-discipline to do the right and resist the wrong.” He wrote, “The Christian must develop the righteous character to choose the right way, and resist the wrong—to discipline the self in the way he ought to go, instead of the way of self-desire and vanity.”
Are you learning to exercise this power wisely? Are you developing and practicing your ability to make right decisions? Or do you always hesitate to even make a decision and end up just doing what comes easiest? If you are indecisive, you stunt your own character growth. Failure to decide is a decision—usually a bad one.
How do you learn good decision-making? By making decisions. God gives you small decisions to start: where to eat, which classes to take, how hard to push yourself in basketball. As you move forward in life, the importance of those decisions grows—but you are ready for that if you are practicing good decision-making as you go. With each decision, God is preparing you for greater decisions down the road.
All the decisions you make regularly add up to a lot: How much time to spend studying this versus that; what to eat; whether to exercise; how well you take care of your possessions; what to spend your money on; what you talk about with your friends; the time you spend with your parents, the respect you choose to show your teachers and the adult members in your Church congregation; when to go to bed; how much time and effort to put into your prayers; how diligent you are to review your Church notes and turn them into actions. You make many decisions every day.
Recognize those moments as decisions! Become aware of when you need to make a decision—then exercise your power and seize that opportunity!
Here are some choices that one minister in God’s Church recommended the students of Ambassador College make every day. These are good for us all to keep in mind: • Bounce out of bed when the alarm goes off • Get in prayer before you start the day • Keep your room and study area neat, clean and well organized • Faithfully perform your chores without having to be reminded • Greet each person with a friendly smile instead of a scowl or grumpy face • Be a good Samaritan and recognize the opportunities to serve others all around you • Learn and practice proper etiquette and social graces • Resist the temptation to gossip and tear others down • Learn to say “No” to the things you shouldn’t do and “Yes” to the things you should • Guard your health—watch your weight—and limit junk foods • Cut out late-night tv and go to bed when you should.
Do you recognize the power you have? It’s easy to underestimate the importance of all those decisions—but each one is an opportunity to either build character or break it down.
Decision-making requires action and follow-through (Proverbs 4:25-27). For a decision to work, you have to put it into action! So roll up your sleeves and get to work.
And when you’ve made a decision, stick with it. Be disciplined. Don’t waffle (James 1:8). If you decide to attend an event, don’t back out because you don’t feel like it. If you decide you’re going to cut sugar out of your diet, don’t give in the first time you see a donut. Remember—decision is vital to character development! If you don’t stick with the decisions God leads you to make, you are weakening your character.
God has given you a wonderful power. Recognize it, starting right now. And exercise it purposefully every day!