Have you noticed that some teens, after graduating high school, instead of immediately getting busy learning a trade or attending college, will loaf around the house or hang out at the local mall for what seems like months on end? Others will indecisively hop from one low-paying job to another—flipping burgers, scooping ice cream, or hovering over the city pool in a lifeguard’s seat during the summer—and then, come autumn, ring up purchases in a discount store.
Many who do this will admit they feel trapped. They don’t want to live at home with Dad and Mom for the rest of their adult lives. They know they don’t want a minimum-wage job indefinitely. So, they remain indecisive. They simply hope for the best and halfheartedly expect the perfect opportunities to seek them out.
What about you? Do you know what to do after high school? Are you stuck in a dead-end job, but don’t know what to do to better yourself?
Life is filled with a host of decisions—some big, some small. Wrong choices, especially in the more important areas of life, can cause a great deal of unhappiness and frustration, and can sometimes take years to straighten out. If you make right decisions, your life will be happier, and you’ll have fewer worries—and more peace of mind.
But making right choices and wise decisions is not a matter of luck. It is a matter of knowing and applying the keys to successful decision-making. Few realize that the Holy Bible contains the all-important guidelines we need in order to make wise decisions!
Grab your Bible and get ready to begin learning the basic keys to making right decisions. Be sure to look up and read the Scriptures referenced in the questions. Also, you may want to write out the verses; this will help you to remember these priceless principles.
God’s Word on Right Decisions
1. What key does the Bible give for making wise decisions? Proverbs 3:5-6. Will God grant wisdom, knowledge and understanding to those who seek them? Proverbs 2:1-6.
God cannot lie, and He never breaks His promises. He will give us wisdom beyond our years, provided we are seeking to please Him (Psalms 119:99-100). If we fail to seek Him, He will forsake us (2 Chronicles 15:2).
2.Who compiled the book of Proverbs? Proverbs 1:1.
3.How did Solomon obtain his wisdom? 1 Kings 3:5-13; 4:29.
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived other than Jesus Christ (1 Kings 4:29-34). Solomon probably became king of Israel at about 18 years of age; yet despite his youth, he recognized the challenges of leadership. He knew he needed wisdom above all else, so he asked for it. God answered his request and gave Solomon wisdom in abundance. Wisdom allowed Solomon to make right decisions for the nation of Israel.
4. How can you receive wisdom? James 1:5-6.
Just like Solomon, you can have wisdom if you ask God for it. The main way we receive wisdom is by praying to God and then waiting for His response.
God, the supreme source of wisdom, will guide you as you apply the basic keys to making right decisions, which are revealed throughout the pages of the Bible. He will steer us in the right direction if we ask Him for that help!
Follow the example of Jesus of Nazareth and make “Thy will be done” a constant way of life (see Luke 11:2). In truly seeking God’s will in all your endeavors, you must pray and ask Him to guide and direct you. Your chances of making wise choices are multiplied many times over when you earnestly look to Him to show you what is right. If you delight yourself in God, commit your life to Him and trust in Him for everything, He will give you all the “desires of your heart” (Psalms 37:4-5).
5.To what did Solomon compare the essential knowledge, guidance and wisdom contained in God’s Word? Proverbs 3:13-15; 8:10-11.
The Bible is much more valuable than all the gold, silver and precious gems in the whole world! It contains principles that can help us make right decisions in every area of life. God inspired the instruction in the Bible for our benefit (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When we pray, we are talking directly to God; when we study His Word, He is talking to us.
The book of Proverbs is especially full of gold nuggets of wisdom and understanding. It contains valuable wisdom that can guide us in making decisions that lead to lifelong success and happiness, including good health, a challenging career, a great marriage, well-balanced children and lasting friendships.
Learn to make right decisions by filling your mind with the Word of God, realizing it is a complete book that touches on every facet of human life and conduct. It contains truths and principles that answer nearly any problem you may encounter. The more of God’s Word you have mastered, the more apt you will be to make the right decision. The key is to stay in prayerful contact with God and deeply study His Word so that when you are called on to make a decision, the appropriate scriptures will leap into your mind.
6. Before making major decisions, is it smart to seek advice and counsel from others with knowledge and experience? Proverbs 11:14; 12:15; 15:22; 19:20.
Seeking the input and advice of others—especially your parents, teachers and experts who are skilled in their particular fields—can be helpful in solving a problem or making a big decision. Advice from experienced or knowledgeable people can often guide us in the right direction by giving us ideas we would not think of ourselves. They can help us establish the pros and cons of a given decision.
Sometimes what we think would be a right choice or wise decision may not necessarily be the best. That is why advice from our parents, teachers and elders is so important. Often older people have gone through similar life experiences and are more than willing to give us the guidance we need to make the right decisions. They want to help us avoid making mistakes that could prove costly and cause many headaches.
You can also learn vicariously how to make smart decisions by reading autobiographies and biographies of successful men and women. From their experiences, we can learn important traits and ways of doing things that we can apply in our lives.
7. Is it important to avoid making reckless or rushed decisions? Notice the principles in Proverbs 4:26; 14:15; 21:5.
A hasty or rash decision can create unnecessary difficulty because you have not really understood the facts. Take time to get all the facts. Analyze the situation from every angle, and consider what the end result of your actions might be.
Beware letting others rush you or pressure you into a decision you may regret. They may not always have your best interests in mind.
As a teenager, the primary resource God has given you is your parents, but from time to time, you may be forced to make a split-second decision. In such a circumstance, your best course of action is to say a silent prayer to God and consider, What would Christ do? Jesus Christ lived by every word of God (see Matthew 4:4), and that enabled Him to always make wise, Bible-based decisions. In fact, the Bible is Jesus Christ—the Word—in print. He set the perfect example in all things; we should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21).
8. What kind of friends should you have? Proverbs 13:20; 27:17.
A person who has learned to make right decisions seeks friends who are known for their wisdom and good judgment. You should do the same; such friends can sharpen your understanding and help you make better decisions. Selecting friends who are not wise will have the opposite effect—their negative influence can destroy you!
9. Did God also have the lives of Old and New Testament personalities recorded so we could benefit from their experiences? Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.
By reading about the lives of the great men and women of the Bible—men such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Christ, and women like Ruth, Rahab, Esther, Hannah and Sarah—we can learn valuable lessons and principles that will help us in making decisions. Many of these men and women of faith are listed in Hebrews 11.
10. Should you “count the cost” to be sure you are able to follow through with a decision? Luke 14:28-30.
In making choices such as whether to buy a car, attend a trade school or university after high school, which career path to follow, or whether to live on your own, be sure to “count the cost” as Jesus said. Consider whether your plans might be premature, financially unwise, or beyond your ability to achieve. This is a basic principle of making wise decisions. The sure road to failure and bad decisions is to rush in ill-equipped and unprepared. Sometimes it is best to hold off on a certain course of action and wait until the conditions are more favorable.
Though we may try our best to follow the keys discussed in this study, we still will sometimes make a bad or unwise decision because of unforeseen circumstances or other factors beyond our control.
When this happens, don’t get discouraged. Chalk it up to experience and learn whatever lessons you can from it. Perhaps you didn’t have all the facts and judged the situation prematurely. Perhaps emotions or personal drive, ambition and desire influenced you. Whatever the reason for your wrong decision, glean wisdom from the experience—and profit from it.
In summary, remember to study the Bible and pray to God for wisdom and help in making right choices. Avoid making rash decisions. Count the costs and be sure to get the facts. Seek counsel and advice from qualified experts. Study the examples of others and learn to emulate their positive traits of character. And remember to make God’s will your will in everything.
Abide by the all-important keys outlined in this study when you make decisions, and you will begin to experience the happy, productive and successful life God wants you to have!