How To Make Wise Decisions.
Below are sermons by Dr. Richard Caldwell that will help us to grow further in our understanding of God’s Word. They will help to instruct and guide us in rightly dividing His Word, and in faithfully applying it to our decision making. These sermons can be watched or listened to from the following links:
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How To Make Wise Decisions
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and host Dr. Josh Philpot talk about what the Christian needs to work through making decisions. A questioner wants to know how to reconcile what they read about in Jeremiah 17:9 and Psalm 37:4. The questioner states that they find themselves wrestling with what the will of God is for their life when it seems that they have many good, but opposite desires within themself.
Dr. Caldwell first reminds us that salvation involves a heart change for the believer. We are not a lost man if we are in Christ. Yes, we were indeed all born into this world with desperately wicked hearts. But thanks be to God He changed our heart so that we now have the ability and desire to love God, to love His Word and to walk in truth. We are now able to honor God from our innermost being. So while Psalm 37:4 says, “He will give you the desires of your heart.” it is preceded by the statement, “Delight yourself in the Lord;”.
Dr. Caldwell explains that it is the heart that is delighting itself in God that will see its desires fulfilled. Psalm 37:4 is not teaching us that whatever we want or desire God is going to give to us. Instead, it teaches us that when our hearts are in agreement with Scripture, our hearts are agreeing with God.
We want to seek the Lord
It is when our hearts are here, that God is pleased to fill them with good things, good desires, things that we should desire; this is for what we strive. We want to seek the Lord and ask Him for help. We ask Him to help us be in the place where we want what He wants, that we desire what He desires so that He will then give us the very things that would most please Him.
Dr. Philpot asks for Dr. Caldwell to give us more guidance then. He shares that we often have challenging decisions to make. There are times when an individual may have two or more desires before them. They must choose and can only act on one. How do they assess this situation from Psalm 37 that also says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”?
Dr. Caldwell reminds us that we must always begin with Scripture. He asks, does the Bible make any clear statements that would just settle the decision? Does it identify one pathway as sin and the other as righteous? If so, then the decision is easy. Absent from this, we can ask what principles does the Bible give us by which we can make this decision. Some of those principles will involve good, sound counseling. Dr. Caldwell advises going and talking to those who are more mature than ourselves in the faith or going to those in church leadership.
The Duties of Pastors
One of the duties of Pastors and Elders is to shepherd God's people. We need to allow them to shepherd us by guiding and helping us in decision making. But in everything being equal, in that the Bible doesn't forbid a course we desire to take, and we don’t see where it would be spiritually unhealthy, then we can do what we want to do. If we aren’t sinning, we know that we're delighting ourselves in the Lord, and our heart desires to please Him, then we can do what we want. That’s actually liberating. These are decisions that require us to walk in wisdom and that’s a wisdom that is informed by Scripture.
Okay, then says Dr. Philpot. If a person is delighting themself in the Lord, and they are committed to His ways and His purposes, is their heart still deceitful above all things? Can this be true?
Dr. Caldwell says no, he would not say that this verse applies to this situation. He tells us it is true that our hearts are not a trustworthy guide, and it should not be the final guide for anything. We don’t look inside ourselves, not to our emotions, our experiences, or even for the matter of judgments. We have to know the limitations of our own perspectives. We don’t know anything inerrantly unless we are just agreeing with Scripture, that then is an inerrant point of view. But left to our own judgment, we aren’t inerrant. It’s the same God who tells us that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all else, who has given us the freedom to make decisions while relying on Him.
Our confidence can be that if we get the decision wrong, having chosen with the right desire or ambition, that God is at work even in the mistake that we have made. He is in it shaping us, forming us, making us, molding us, and teaching us for His glory and our good. We don’t have to live paralyzed, thinking that we are capable of making perfect decisions all the time. We can’t go about thinking we can make a move unless we know exactly what to do; that would be a paralyzing way to live.
Wrapping up the discussion, Dr. Caldwell restates that we must live in light of the truths given in Scripture and take the principles set forth there to help us. He encourages us to seek wise counsel and guidance to help us make the best decisions we can. All this, knowing that we can make mistakes even when delighting ourselves in the Lord, and seeking to follow the desires we believe He has given us. We can make the decision fully trusting the Lord and if we get it wrong we can know He will be at work even in that for His glory and our good. In that, we can rest.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
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