“How do you make decisions?”


One student asked as the rest nodded in agreement.

I launched into a long white board discussion, complete with diagrams.  Foundational to our discussion was this theological truth: there are only two wills of God.  God is sovereign, exercising His will over His creation.  God is good, establishing His will for His creatures.  Humans have no control over the first but are responsible for the second. [1]  There is no “will of God” specifically identified which designates what toothpaste to use, what car to buy, or whom to marry.

But our life is anything but uncertain!

Past ________________________ Proverbs 4; 5:6-11 

Biblical _____________________ Romans 15:4 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11

Outside _____________________ Nehemiah 2:11-16

Wise _______________________ Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; 24:6

Creational ___________________ Proverbs

Prayer for ___________________ 1 Kings 3:7-15

____________________________ Matthew 6:17-18

Paul establishes a clear path for wise decision making in Romans 15:14-25:

  • Philosophy: What do we believe? (14-19)
  • Purpose: What are my responsibilities? (16 “minister to”)
  • Plans: What are on my list of things to do? (24-25)
  • Priorities: What are my (20-21)
  • Perseverance: How will I see them through to the end? (22-23)

Before you begin, as you go, for the future: 10 Markers for Graduate Study Consideration. [2]

1. Commitment: we must make sure that everyone who will travel this graduate studies road with us has agreed to accompany and stay with us during the time necessary for completion.
2. Finances: like any other bill, we should make sure that we have income, knowing from whence the money comes to pay for the program and our living expenses.
3. Work: graduate school is itself, work: intensively so. If we carry other work-related commitments it is imperative to ask if these augment our graduate school focus, whether in praxis, time, or money.
4. Church: do our pastors know of our direction? have our pastors been asked for their wisdom through questioning whether or not this course of action fits our gifts, will benefit The Church, etc.?
5. Purpose: have we written a purpose statement for our life? have we, with the help of others, identified our gifts, strengths, and benefits this study will bring to our field, our world, for God’s glory?
6. Mentor: do we have a discipler who will be direct and honest about our whole life within the scope of graduate study? have we set a schedule of accountability with this person?
7. Sacrifice: what do we know we must forego (hobbies, interests, time-financial commitments, etc.) while we pursue graduate studies?
8. Reading: are we willing to read huge amounts of information, by a wide variety of authors, acknowledging we will be confronted with differing viewpoints, and we may have to reorder our assumptions?
9. Writing: can we write? will we commit to writing better? will we be willing to accomplish projects ahead of time so that an outside editor could critique our writing?
10. Humility: do we abide by the watchword, “The more we learn the more we learn how much more there is to learn?” are we going to graduate school to fulfill our ego or the prompting of The Spirit who has given us the gifts for our vocational commitment?

[1] Mark 3:35; Acts 13:36; Romans 1:10; 8:27; 12:2; 15:32; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 8:5; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:1; 6:6; Colossians 1:1; 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:18; 2 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 10:36; 1 Peter 2:15; 3:17; 4:2, 19; 1 John 2:17.

[2] First written for ESN

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