Saturday, January 3, 2015

January 4, 2015

"Be very careful then how you live - not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish but understand what the Lord's will is." Ephesians 5:15-17

What is the wise thing for me to do?

That is a question that gives clarity to almost every decision you will ever need to make. But let's add some depth and dimension to it.

Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, equates wisdom with careful living and the word used for careful means "looking in every direction" or "have your head on a swivel". So, wisdom looks ahead and looks around and looks back in factoring a good decision.

So, expanding this critical question in three dimensions, it looks like this:

In light of my past experiences, what is the wise thing for me to do?

Unless we learn from history it will repeat. That should seem obvious but one thing that characterizes unwise people is their reluctance to learn from past mistakes.

Why don't we learn from our past? Let me offer two possibilities:

We don't learn from the past because we fail to ask this question. We are careful to look back and try to learn.

And, we don't learn because we deceive ourselves into believing we can manage the outcome of our decisions. 

Those are very unwise and careless ways to approach life.

Second, looking around we should ask, In light of my current circumstances what is the wise thing for me to do?

Often, our current circumstances are complicated by the unwise decisions we made in the past. So, not asking the wise questions then will catch up with us.

How can we make wise decisions without accurate and relevant information? It is impossible to make wise decisions without properly assessing our current circumstances.

Paul counsels to "make the most of every opportunity" but you can't recognize opportunity without objectively analyzing our current circumstances..

And, finally, ask In light of my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?

In fact, all wise decisions are made in reverse. We dream and decide where we want to be and then set goals and plot objectives backward from there to where we are today.

For example, we never get into our cars without a destination in mind. And knowing what our destination is predetermines all the starts and stops and turns we will make to get there.

That's why it is unwise to live life without a destination in mind. We all end up somewhere but without wise decisions we will not end up where we want to be.

Wise decision-making demands that at every opportunity, every invitation, and every impulse we ask ourselves In light of my past experiences, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams what is the wise thing for me to do?

2015 can be the beginning of new hopes and dreams if you are willing to wise up in your decision-making.