It’s that time of year isn’t it? Happy New Decision. A time of re-evaluation. Of lines in the sand. T junctions. Or maybe feeling like this is a roundabout :-).
“The talent is in the choices”, Robert De Niro once said. We can feel the weight of that truth, can’t we? which can make Happy New Decision feel a little daunting.
How do you make your decisions? Have you got a process you can identify? Does God appear in the process? In what function: guide, friend, counsellor, Lord, obstacle to get around, afterthought?
What can we learn from Jesus about how to make decisions?
In the Gospels, we get opportunities a few times to get up close to Jesus in the process and we can see some themes.
We see Jesus withdrawing, sometimes with closer friends, sometimes alone. (He recognised the decision needed attention, not a reflex act.) We see him praying, sometimes all night. We see him wrestle but ultimately surrender in obedience to His Father’s will.
(In seeking the Father’s will he’s recognising that the God who sees all will have a path that is best for all, not just the one I reckon will be. God sees me in the communities I inhabit, not just as an atomised being our society suggests we are.)
Then, when He has chosen, we see him walking it out in action.
Now you may read this and think, that’s great because Jesus actually knew what his Dad wanted. I don’t. So it’s not that simple.
Agreed. But I think it’s clear that Jesus found that clarity through his attentive pausing, withdrawing, praying, surrendering to God’s way.
James wrote, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.” (James 1:5). In that verse I hear echoes of the proverb, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The first act of wisdom is to ask our generous God.
If I haven’t taken that simple but essential first step, it’s a whole lot less likely that my decision – regardless of how expert I feel in light of what I’ve read or googled or who I’ve talked to – will be one that the Bible would consider a wise one.
But look at the incredible promise if I do ask.