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The Key to Making Wise Decisions

 

Judge

 

Memory Verse: Jeremiah 5:14-28

I. How do you make significant decisions? The best way to make choices in life is to rely on the principles found in God’s Word. Daniel knew how to make choices based on the unchanging truths of Scripture. Although he was under tremendous pressure to live like the Babylonians, he stayed true to the biblical principles he had learned as a young child.

II. The Historical Setting

A. After conquering Jerusalem, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon selected the brightest and most capable young Jewish men. Along with others, Daniel was trained in the culture, literature, religion, and world view of his captors.

B. Daniel and the other young men knew how to make righteous choices even in an ungodly setting.

III. Principle and Preference

A. Principle––a fixed or predetermined mode of conduct, or a moral rule based on the Word of God. As Christians, we should live by convictions that are grounded in the Word of God.

B. Preference––a moral choice based on likes and dislikes or whatever seems best in the moment. A person who operates on this basis asks, “What is going to make me feel good, please me, honor me, or benefit me?”

IV. Daniel’s Example

A. Refusing to the king’s rich food. Rather than eat non-kosher food, Daniel asked if he and his friends could eat only vegetables and drink only water. God honored them for keeping their convictions, and Daniel and his friends looked healthier than the other young men (see Daniel 1:1-16).

B. Disregarding the law against prayer. When prayer was outlawed, Daniel continued to kneel daily before the Lord. Although he was arrested and thrown into a pit of lions, God spared his life (see Daniel 6:4-24).  Daniel was restored to his position of authority and served as a leader for approximately 70 years under four different kings. He also wrote some of the most significant prophecies in the Bible.

V. Areas of Principle

Our choices should be guided by core beliefs such as these:

A. Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world (John 14:6).

B. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and, as such, is infallible and inerrant (2 Tim. 3:16).

C. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19).

D. Money is not a god (see Hebrews 13:5).

E. The proper place for sexual relations is marriage (1 Thess. 4:3-7).

VI. Living by Preference

People fail to align their lives with biblical principles because of . . .

A. The fear of rejection: People are afraid if they go against the crowd, others won’t like them.

B. Greed: Some are willing to be dishonest or unkind to make more money or get the promotion they seek.

C. Compromise: Rationalizing sin is a quick route to bondage to it.

VII. Living by Principle

Daniel and his friends were willing to die rather than worship a false god (Dan. 3:18). We should have the same commitment to obeying God. Sometimes He will rescue you; other times, He will walk with you through difficulty or persecution.

How can you become a person of conviction? You must:

A. Live for a cause greater than yourself. In other words, live for Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

B. Know what you believe. Don’t even consider choices that are forbidden by God’s Word.

C. Expect conflict. If you live by godly principles, not everyone will understand. Your high standards may make others so uncomfortable that they reject you.

D. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. Decide to follow His direction without regard to the results of obedience.  He is with you no matter what happens.

E. Remember our Lord is sovereign. He is absolutely in control of all that happens in this world.

VIII. Conclusion:

Principle or preference: which of these two words best describes how you make moral decisions? My prayer is that you will choose to live your life based on the unchanging truths found in God’s Word. Obeying Him always results in internal peace and joy, regardless of the external circumstances. Surrender your preferences to God and let Him show you how to live by His holy, unchanging principles.

(By Charles F. StanleyCopyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)