What about non-moral decisions? (Part 1)

Before we get to non-moral decision making, here’s a quick recap from the first three installments on God’s will for your life.  The first way God guides is through His sovereign will.  You can know it through the rear-view mirror of life.  If God allowed things to happen, it must be part of His will.  A second way God guides is through His special will.  Certain people in the Bible, like Paul, are told by God what they should do with their life.  A third way God guides us is by His moral will.  The Bible tells us what God wants and what He doesn’t, so we can know what is God-pleasing and what isn’t.  But what about choices that don’t involve a moral component?  How do we handle non-moral decisions?

Non-moral decisions are needed when there is no direct revelation by God either by Himself or His word. In other words, if there is no special guidance by God (like that given to Noah to build the ark), or no moral guidance given by God (since there’s no verse that speaks to this issue), then you have to make a decision that is non-moral in nature. Whatever you choose, you will not be sinning, since there’s no directive from God on the matter either in the Bible or from divine revelation. So to make this non-moral decision, wisdom is required to make the best choice possible.

How does one get wisdom? Proverbs 1:1-7 speaks to that. The opening verses of Proverbs tell us why the book of Proverbs is written: “for attaining wisdom and discipline…for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young…” While God’s entire Bible is full of wisdom for every-day living, the book of Proverbs is one book solely devoted to that purpose. Read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a month—you’ll be wiser person for it!

So when facing non-moral decisions and the desire to make a wise choice, there are six things to consider. These are conscience, common sense, circumstances, counsel, compulsion, and contentment. All six should be weighed together equally, not focusing on one to the exclusion of the other five.

What do these six components mean? In this blog, let’s examine the first three. Conscience means that you pray and seek God’s face regarding the decision. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Before you make your decision, ask God to guide you and to help you make a wise and God-pleasing choice.

Common sense means that you use your God-given intellect to weigh the positives and negatives of the choice before you. Whether it is literally writing down the pros and cons of the decision, or whether you simply bounce ideas off of a friend, common sense is using your brain to logically work through the upsides and downsides of your choice.

Circumstances mean the events that happen around you point in a certain direction. Like an open door of opportunity, these “signs” let us know that this choice may be the best one. While not everything that happens is a sign, combining circumstances with common sense allows you to make a decision that fits the time and happenings around you.

Next time we’ll examine the last three components and continue to focus on the non-moral decision making process.

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July 29, 2013

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