In an effort to do our next relationship differently, Reggie and I decided to take our church’s “So You Think You Wanna Get Married” class. As the title implies, implies, this course provides couples with information on how to make wise decisions about marriage. Not only did the class help us think through the various issues that come into play when deciding if marriage is right for us, but it also gave us plenty of time for reflection and discussion.
Our first assignment in a class about making one of life’s most important choices was on decision making. The assignment was to answer ~50 questions on how we would operate in various scenarios, such as household chores, finances, and travel. The answer to each question was a decision Reggie and I made together and on which we were in agreement.
"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." ~Matthew 7:24-27
As foundations, our first choices are powerful. Our first choices have the power to support our future choices.
Beginning to Make Wise Decisions
The very first choices we make upon entering the world are around food. We all have to eat to survive, so there is little choice in the matter of eating. But when to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat are choices God gives us from birth. We make food choices from the time we enter this world until the time we exit.
Even infants are born with the ability to communicate these choices. Infants cry when they’re hungry and quit eating when they’re full. They spit out food if they don’t like something or have eaten too much.
Since our first choices are food choices, it isn’t surprising that the first choice presented in the Bible involved food (Genesis 2:16-17). Making wise decisions about food is something we all share and relate to.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." ~Genesis 2:15-17
When it comes to making wise decisions, food is also a metaphor for life. In other words, the directions God gave Adam to choose the food that made up his diet contain guidelines we can use in choosing the activities that makeup our lives. Over the next several weeks, we will explore several different aspects of decision making found in this Scripture. This post is the first in this series of explorations.
Creating a new life begins with a desire, but making your desire a reality takes action—many actions taken over time. Together, these actions or activities become our lives. This series is my response to your question: “But what do I do?”Creating a new life begins with a desire, but making your desire a reality takes action—many actions taken over time. Together, these actions or activities become our lives. This series answers the question: “What do I do?” Click To Tweet
Guidelines for Making Wise Decisions
The first food God provided came from trees. Trees are living organisms that sprout from the ground (Genesis 1:11-12). Adam and the animals are also living organisms that came from the ground (Genesis 1:24-25; 2:7). However, trees, like other plants, differ from other living organisms in three ways. Trees:
- Grow in a specific location,
- Are sustained by their roots, and
- Get their energy from sunlight.
Each of these three distinctions provide guidelines we can use to choose the activities we engage in that makeup our lives. We will explore the first today and the other two in the next two weeks.
Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth"; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:11-12
Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:24-25
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. ~Genesis 2:7
Location, location, location
Unlike other living organisms, plants aren’t mobile. They can’t move of their own volition. Though a plant can be moved, it may not thrive—or even survive—in its new location because each location has its own environment or conditions. And some plants can only live and grow under certain conditions. Those conditions only occur in certain locations.
Thus, plants are local. Each belongs to a certain type of environment or location.
The food God provided Adam grew in only one spot—the Garden of Eden. Eden wasn’t just any location. And it wasn’t just their home. Eden was the location of Adam’s assignment—the area of the Kingdom God gave him. Adam was placed in Eden to tend and keep the Garden (Genesis 2:15).
It was also after being placed there that God commanded Adam to find his sustenance—the food that would nurture his strength—in the same place as his assignment. God told Adam he would find his food in the same place God gave Adam to tend and keep.
Now, remember food is a metaphor for our lives. So, when applying Adam’s example as a guideline in making wise decisions in regards to creating a new life, Adam’s example tells us the activities that will feed our new lives are in the same location as our assignments. In other words, we are to engage in activities that align with the area of the Kingdom God gave us to tend and keep.
Guideline #1: Choose activities that align with our assignments.
Doing My Part to Make Wise Decisions
I am going to dive deeper into this first guideline by looking at 2 Thessalonians 3:10b, which says, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” When applying 2 Thessalonians 3:10b to the previous application, the work mentioned here is our assignments.
So, taking that into consideration, I see finding future food and activities depends on my work—the level of effort I put toward my assignment. Basically, I have to tend and keep the areas God gives me, and as these areas thrive as a result of my effort, future food and activities will be available, even abundant. If not, there won’t be—at least not for me (more on availability in a future post).
Ultimately, God will do His part, but I have to do my part. If I want continued activities that align with my new life, I have to engage in activities that align with my new life. And the more I engage in activities that create my new life, the more abundant and vibrant my new life will be.
If you want continued activities that align with your new life, you have to engage in activities that align with your new life. And the more you engage in activities that align with your new life, the more abundant and vibrant your new life will be.
In other words, God will invite me to join Him in His creation of me—my life, my environment, my community, my world—by providing opportunities for me to do so, but I have to accept His invitation to live the life I was meant to live. The same goes for you, too.
The choice is yours.
To be continued…
- In what ways have your first life choices impacted your life’s journey?
- What is your assignment? Which area of the Kingdom did God give you to tend and keep?
- What level of effort are you putting toward completing your assignment?
- How has your level of effort impacted your opportunities to create your new life?
COMPLETE LIST OF GUIDELINES
Guideline #1: Choose activities that align with our assignments.
Guideline #1a: The availability of activities that align with our new lives depends on the level of effort we put into completing our assignments.
The “Choosing Wisely” Series:
- Part 1a – Choosing Wisely
- Part 1b – Getting to the Root
- Part 1c – Fueling Your New Life
- Part 2 – A Habitat for Humanity
- Part 3 – The Order of Rest
- Part 4 – The Right Conditions for Rest
- Part 5 – What’s the Best Decision-Making Process for Creating New Lives?
- Part 6 – Five Freedoms When Creating a New Life
- Part 7 – The Risks of Giving Into Temptation
- Part 8 – How Knowledge Plays in Decision Making
- Part 9 – How Morality Applies to Decision Making
- Part 10 – Biblical Concepts of Time When Making Decisions
- Part 11 – Some Certainties We Have in This Life
- Part 12 – How Will Your Relationship End?