How Can We Make Right Decisions?
ALL of us, at some time or another, have to make critical decisions. On what do you base yours?
Many men—leaders in politics, business, science, religion and other fields—offer themselves as guides. But when you look at world conditions, or even conditions in your own neighborhood, what do you see to show that these men themselves are making the right decisions? The Bible points us to a far better basis.—Prov. 19:20, 21.
The temptation to look to men to point the way, rather than to an invisible God, is always great. Yet right in the physical world around us we can see abundant reason for seeking God’s help in our decisions. (Rom. 1:20) The whole universe testifies that there is a Supreme Lawgiver. Did you ever stop to think that all human sciences—physics, chemistry, mathematics, aerodynamics, to name but a few—depend on knowledge of laws that were here long before man existed?
Knowledge of those laws helps tremendously man’s ability to accomplish things, to work with success. Is it not reasonable that the Source of all the wisdom bound up in these physical laws is also the One who can give us wise moral laws, standards to guide us in our relations with one another and with Him? In his Word, the Bible, we find the principles and standards we need to make right decisions in life.—Ps. 119:105.
True, many persons shy away from submitting to Bible standards. They prefer to set their own standards, to make up their own rules of conduct. But how would you like to drive in a city where each person made up his own traffic rules and went by them? Certainly even a big city’s traffic cannot compare with human relations in complexity.
Rather than rob us of our freedom to enjoy life to the full, accepting Bible standards as our guide brings us far greater freedom. When we base our decisions on these, we are protected from the very things that enslave man in hurtful bondage. As God’s Son said: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) With God’s Word guiding us, we can make our decisions free from superstition, extreme fear of men, false religious ideas and false hopes.—Prov. 3:21-26.
There is a strength to Bible standards that no personal moral code can ever give. Parents who make decisions based on the Bible and who show their children the Scriptural reasons for these have a tremendous advantage. The children can see that this is not just their father’s or mother’s idea, whim or prejudice. It is what their Creator says. This gives real weight to parental counsel.
Persons who seek Scriptural guidance when problems arise in married life are in a far better position to make right decisions than those with only personal moral codes or human philosophies to guide them. As Ecclesiastes 4:12 says: “A threefold cord cannot quickly be torn in two.” Problems that split up some couples fail to break the unity of the husband and wife who are careful to include their Creator in their decisions by consulting his Word.
The Bible says that a man should love his wife as himself and that she should have deep respect for him. (Eph. 5:33) Someone may say, “But I can read words of similar counsel in modern marriage books.” Perhaps so, but it is not just what those words in the Bible say that gives them their strength. It is from whom they proceed, the Source of their inspiration.
For example, 1 Peter 3:4 counsels wives to adorn themselves with “the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit.” But why? Because this is “of great value in the eyes of God.” So, too, husbands are to ‘assign honor to their wives as to a more delicate vessel, the feminine one.’ But why? “In order for your prayers not to be hindered.” (1 Pet. 3:7) Yes, the husband and wife are made to realize that what they do matters to God and is bound to affect their relationship with him.
Only God’s Word can authoritatively tell us these things that bear so heavily on what course we decide to follow.
Questions of right and wrong often arise in one’s employment. Under the push and pull of pressure and temptation, personal moral codes can crumble. Many decide that a little dishonesty now and then is necessary to get along in a tough world. Even if not caught, they pay a heavy price—the loss of a clean conscience and constant tension caused by fear of exposure.
The Bible gives the strength to decide in favor of honesty and integrity. That is why even those Christians who were slaves in the Roman Empire could give faithful, honest service to their masters, “not with acts of eyeservice, as men pleasers, but with sincerity of heart.” Again, why? Because of knowing that “it is from Jehovah you will receive the due reward . . . Certainly the one that is doing wrong will receive back what he wrongly did, and there is no partiality.” (Col. 3:22-25) No personal moral code, not even the thought of hidden television cameras, can have the power for honesty that the desire to please the Creator does.
“The law of Jehovah is perfect.” (Ps. 19:7) Decisions based on it will unfailingly bring the best results, for it applies consistently everywhere, at all times, under any circumstances. To have confidence that this is so, you need to be well acquainted with the Bible; you need to put its counsel to work in your life and see the results. Why not write the publishers of this magazine for a free Bible discussion in your own home to help you to do this? It is a decision you need never regret.
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When each one sets his own rules for life, the results are like the chaos that would result if each one made his own traffic rules