How to Radically Improve Your Life Pt.3 – Making Decisions
The personal manager had advertised a job opening, and a large group of applicants was waiting in her waiting room. The first young man was ushered into her office, and she began explaining the job to him. “We need someone in this job who can make fast decisions,” she said, “someone who can really think on his feet. Can you show me that you’re capable of doing that?” Without a word, the young man got to his feet, stuck his head out the door, and announced to the waiting applicants, “Okay, you guys. You can all go home- the job’s just been filled.”
You cannot make Progress or Improvements without making Decisions.
Introduction: The life you experience in many ways is the sum total of the decisions you make. Our study today speaks to us of the importance of decisions. Our life is shaped largely by the decisions we make. I am what I am—for both good and for bad—as a Christian, as a husband, as a father, as a worker, and as a person mostly because of past decisions I have made in my life.
The average person makes 70 conscious decisions every day. That 25,550 decisions a year. Over 70 years that’s 1,788,500 decisions. You put all that together and that’s basically your life.
One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility. Eleanor Roosevelt
You are where you are today mainly because of the decisions you have made. 20 years from now you will arrive at the destination your decisions carry you to.
Interestingly, the number one influencer of the decisions is not the info you are given, it is your state of mind when you make the decision.
The sad fact is – most of the biggest decisions a person makes are made from a BAD state of mind. Never make a major decision when you are angry, tired, or frustrated. Never make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings.
The greatest power that has been given into the hands of man is the power to make decisions for himself.
Most people share a common curiosity about the future. People want to know:
•What’s going to happen in my life tomorrow, next week, & next year?
•Who am I going to marry?
•What is going to happen in my career?
•Am I going to be Successful?
•Is my marriage going to last?
• What we are going to wear
• When we are going to get up in the morning
• Where we are going and how we are going to get there
People often view themselves as victims of fate. Waiting for a “good break” or “to get lucky” in the events of life. (cross your fingers philosophy)
It is God’s plan and His will that you have a great future!
“How you see your future is much more important than what has happened in the past.”- Zig Ziglar
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “ (good) plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a (good) future.
God never intended us to operate on a hit or miss basis. Things do not happen because of fate.There are 5 Causes of incidents in our lives:
1. God influences, leads, and directs us
2. Satan comes to steal, kill, or destroy
3. Other people make decisions and those actions affect me
4. Natural physical incidents in the world impact us
5. I make decisions & carry them out
Galatians 6:7-8 NIV – Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Don’t go through life allowing things to happen, instead make thing things happen! Your Life now is a reflection of your past decisions.
Unsuccessful people make decisions based on their current situations. Successful people make decisions based on where they want to be.
1. Your Successes and Failures are Determined by Your Decisions
Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV – This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
Choose – pick out or select (someone or something) as being the best or most appropriate of two or more alternatives.
We have the power to: come and go, make friends or enemies, choose good and evil, obey or disobey, change our ways ore remain the same, handle our finances or ignore them, build or terminate our relationships, live or die, etc!
Decision are not usually made in a vacuum. They are created by the influences that are around you. Your culture-Your training-Your beliefs-your family-your friends
Your future is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice! Today’s decisions will have a big impact on your life and future.
What makes the difference in the quality of people’s lives? Any study of history shows that the difference in human beings comes down to one thing: an ability to harness the power of decision, often in spite of adverse conditions. The history of our world is the result of decisions.
Hebrews 11:23-27 NIV – By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
•What happens TO you in life, not as imp as decisions u make
•Choices matter more than circumstances
•You make your choices, then they make you
-Never allow yourself to be defined by someone else’s opinion. Refused to be defined by others.
• Moses had an Identity Crisis – Born of Hebrew slaves but raised as Egyptian royalty palace; Had to decide: Who am I? It would affect rest of life!
–God didn’t create you to be what someone else wants you to be!
It’s the power of decision that caused:
•Rosa Parks to remain in her seat and state, “No, I will not go to the back of the bus.” It would change the structure of society, racism, social justice, and the world.
George Jones was a country music icon from the old school. A lot of his songs are the stereotypical country “cheat’n & drink’n” songs. And the fact that George Jones had a drinking problem was no secret. But on March 6, 1999 country music fans were horrified to hear that Jones was critically injured when he crashed his Lexus into a bridge in Nashville. The investigation showed that George had been drunk at the wheel. Thankfully he recovered, and two months later his new album called “Cold Hard Truth” came out and on it was a hit song titled “Choices”, and ironically the hook line says, “I’m Living And Dying With The Choices I Made”.
- Results of Bad Decisions
Someone once said Bad decisions make good stories LOL
How many people do you know who have ruined their lives or ended them because they made a bad decision? How many people do you know who when they reach a crossroads in their life, they take the wrong turn and end up regretting it.
A young man asked the old man, “What’s the secret of your success?” Good decisions, he replied. How do you learn to make good decisions? You get that by experience. How do you get experience? By making bad decisions.
1. Tom Selleck turned down the Lead role of Indiana Jones
2. A thief stole 2 live lobsters and decided to stick them down his pants
3. Bank robber in Germany pulls out a gun & demands $. Teller said she needed his ID. So he gets it out, takes the cash and leaves the ID.
4. The girl who told Bill Gates, It’s the computer or me
5. Pausing for a moment, when your wife asks you, “Do I look fat in this?”
6. Illus. – At seven o’clock on the morning of December 7, 1941 two US soldiers were on duty at a small radar station in the Pacific ocean. Suddenly, their radar screen filled up with hundreds of dots, until entirely filled. These soldiers quickly notified their young supervisor, a lieutenant. No other officer was around, it being a Sunday, so the lieutenant thought these must be planes from California, and without another thought, said these critical words: “Don’t worry about it.”
Twenty minutes later, at 7:50, the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor began. 353 Japanese airplanes swarmed over the harbor, and within a couple of hours, America lost 8 battleships, 6 major airfields, almost all its planes, and 2,400 men.
There would have been time to scramble the planes at Pearl Harbor, prepare the battleships, and shelter the men, but this lieutenant, in the most important moment of his career, made a very simple, seemingly insignificant decision that had momentous consequences.
The Prodigal Son’s Decision:
Luke 15:11-20 NIV – Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
This young man comes to his senses after a bad decision and starts thinking about what his life SHOULD be like instead of what his life IS LIKE. Making a right decision is the key! He decides to leave the pig pen!
•The floodgates can be open with ONE DECISION. Bringing us joy or sorrow, prosperity or poverty, companionship or solitude, long life or early death.
Our pig pens (Bad decisions) come in many forms but all have a common denominator: “A place where people end up, but never planned on going to.”
You make decisions and decisions will make you.” – Lester Sumrall
Decision is the ultimate power—and there are three core decisions each of us makes every moment we’re alive. These decisions have the capacity to empower, advance, frustrate or derail us, depending on what we choose:
“The greatest power that a person possesses is the power to choose” J Martin Kohe
Questions to ask before making major decisions
•How does this decision line up with my mission and purpose for life? How does this help me achieve my mission in life or fulfill my purpose in life?
•What does the Bible tell me about this decision?
•Is this decision based on myself or is it focused on others?
•Have I sought the will of God in this decision?
•Have I spent time in prayer to seek God’s guidance in this decision?
2. Decision Guidelines To Improve Your Life
Recognizing that you may be facing a difficult decision right now, or soon will be, I want to give you some “guidance guidelines” from Proverbs that will help you make wise choices.
- Lordship. Is Jesus occupying first place in your life? Are you willing to do His will, whatever it will be? Proverbs 3:7 NIV – Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil
- Scripture. What principles, commands, or prohibitions from the Bible apply to the decision you need to make? Has God given any promises or motivating verses on the subject? Most of the situations we’re faced with are already dealt with in the Word of God. Proverbs 13:13: “He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.”
- Prayer. Have I prayed about the decision? Am I seeking the Lord daily and allowing Him time to give me His direction? Most of the bad decisions I make are the result of not taking the necessary time to lay things out before the Lord. Here’s a principle: When possible, choose to pray and ponder for at least 24 hours before making a decision. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 21:5 NIV: “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”
- Wise counsel. We’ve already mentioned this one but don’t underestimate its importance. Proverbs 19:20: “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” When faced with a decision, find a faithful friend or two and ask for their input.
It’s not what we do ONCE in a while that counts, but our consistant actions and decisions we do. What you do daily determines your future
“Success and failure are not overnight experiences. It’s the small decisions along the way that cause people to fail or succeed.” –Anthony Robbins
Is there anything you are not happy about in your life, career, health and money? Make a decision Right Now about how you are going to change it.
Don’t waste your life! Don’t settle for second best! Don’t go through life just existing, coping, or getting by!
The more Decisions you make, the better you become at making them. (Muscles get stronger with use)
Choose to Serve God Today
Joshua 24:15 NIV – “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
“God takes full responsibility for the life that is totally yielded to Him.”