Now that we have developed our roots in Scripture and in prayer, it is time to move beyond these times of silent growth into what it looks like to thrive in the rest of life. Like a tree, if we are strongly secured at the base, then we can flourish at the top. One of the ways this manifests itself is through how we make decisions.
Especially as young people, the decisions that we make are instrumental in our lives. However, with so many influences—friends, family, culture, etc.—pressing on us, making decisions can be overwhelming. Thriving in action is making good decisions. So, how do we know what to do?
Here are some key questions we should consider when making decisions:
-Who does my decision affect?
Obviously, your life decisions affect someone other than just you. They affect your family, your friends, and others who love you. However, your decisions also affect unbelievers. When you’re considering what choice to make, ask, “how will this decision affect my ministry to unbelievers?” For example, if you are trying to decide whether to go to a party with your friends, consider how your example will affect how unbelievers think a Christian might act. Never forget Who you represent.
-Where can I look for wisdom?
Like I mentioned above, we have so many influences impacting our lives and our decisions. Where should we look for good advice? First, we should look to the Bible. The Word of God is packed full of principles to consider, patterns to follow, and commands to obey. One professor that I had said it very bluntly: “The Bible says something about everything!” Secondly, we should look to God in prayer, asking Him to give us guidance in doing His will. Lastly, we should look to others for direction, primarily trusted Christians such as our parents, grandparents, pastors, etc. As I always tell my little group of middle school girls who I have a Bible study with, the number one, most important thing that I have learned as a teenager is to listen. Most of the time, people who are trying to give us advice are way smarter than we think, so listen up!
-What is the wise thing to do?
According to Pastor Andy Stanley, this is the best question ever. Although it is simple, asking this question puts our decisions in a whole new light. Rather than asking if we can get away with it, we need to ask if it is wise. Is it going to build us up in our relationships with Christ? Is it going to benefit our futures, our families, and our ministries? The honest answer to this simple question makes an observable impact on how we make decisions.
-Does it help me run?
When making decisions, we want to stay as far away from sin as possible. I always come back to this John Piper* quote about asking the right questions: “‘Well, what is wrong with it? What is wrong with it?’ I don’t even want to talk about what is wrong with it. Let’s ask, ‘Does it help me run?'” Will the result of your decision help you run? Will it help you thrive?
We have developed a strong base in the Bible and in prayer. Now, it is time to delve into what it looks like to thrive in everyday life, which includes how we make decisions. Using these questions and guidance from wise others, we can begin to thrive in action.