DAY 1: The Power to Choose
But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the
Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.
Jesus doesn’t want pre-programmed robots following him. He wants people who are CHOOSING to love and follow him. You have been given the beautiful gift of choice. Following Jesus isn’t just a one-time decision either. It’s a daily, hourly, and sometimes minute-by-minute decision.
Every choice you make can either keep you on the path toward the kingdom of God, where you are following and becoming more like Jesus, or move you off the path toward the kingdom of “self,” where you are following desires and temptations that are contrary to the flourishing life Jesus wants for you.
In the passage above, Joshua is addressing the entire nation of Israel and challenging them with a choice—the choice to serve God. Ultimately, we all need to make that choice, and Joshua would have us consider the options and notice the end results of our decision.
From the message last Sunday, you heard about the importance your decisions and commitments are in shaping who you are and who you are becoming. With that in mind, consider these questions.
- What decisions can you make this week to become more like Jesus?
- What commitments have you made to follow Jesus?
- How strong are those commitments?
- Have you shared those commitments with anyone?
Try to remind yourself throughout the day about the power your
decisions have to shape your identity.
DAY 2: The Best Question Ever
Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the LORD’s will is.
No one plans on making bad decisions. No one intentionally makes decisions that end up hurting themselves or others. However, we’ve all been there.
In 2004, Andy Stanley wrote a book called, The Best Question Ever: Learning to Foolproof Your Life. In this book, Andy introduces a
question that will help you in your decision making.
The best question ever is: “What is the wise thing to do?” Asking yourself this question before you make a decision can help you grow in wisdom as you’re presented with multiple choices. Andy asks the question a few different ways in order to provide different perspectives.
In light of your past experiences, what is the wise thing to do?
In light of my current circumstances, what is the wise thing to do?
In light of my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?
Your decisions shape your life. Jesus wants you to approach life and
opportunities with wisdom. Every one of your decisions will have
consequences, good or bad, that will impact you, the people close to you, and the community where you live.
Reflection: Think back to the decisions you made this week.
- How did you spend your money?
- Where did most of your time go?
- What situations came up in your home or with your family members?
Could any of those areas have benefited from asking, “What is the wise thing to do?”
Think ahead to the week in front of you. Commit to asking the best question ever before you make decisions this week.
DAY 3: What Are You Planting?
Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others – ignoring God! – harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
Think about the decisions you make as seeds that you are planting in your life and the world around you. The decisions you make today will eventually grow and show others what you have been committed to.
In the verses above, the Apostle Paul shares a principle that often gets ignored in the day-to-day hustle and grind. It’s easy to get so busy plowing through the day that you aren’t paying attention to what you’re planting, but so many things are being planted that will eventually take root and begin to produce a harvest.
Reflection: Take some time today to dream.
God has a vision for you to flourish. In John 15:8 Jesus says, “It is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit.” Dream about what God’s vision for you looks like. Pick a day in the future and describe yourself. Write about who you are, what you feel, and how you’ve grown. Then write down those things you need to be planting today in order to grow into that person.
DAY 4: Beneath the Surface
I Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.
In this passage, Samuel, one of God’s prophets, was sent to anoint the next king that God had chosen for Israel. Based on outward appearances,
Samuel thought God’s choice would be a man named, Eliab. But, when God makes decisions, he looks beneath the surface.
It’s easy for us to make decisions based only on what we can see above the surface. Many times we can be led astray in our thinking and
decision making based on what we see. You’ve probably heard stories of people buying cars that looked great on the outside, but under the hood it was a different story.
- What are some recent decisions you’ve made?
- What are some upcoming decisions you need to make?
Pay attention to what’s going on beneath the surface.
- What are your motives? What are your desires?
- How will your decisions shape your desires?
- How are your decisions shaping your thoughts and attitude?
- Take this time to look beneath the surface for a heart check.
DAY 5: Choose Together
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.
Can you think back to high school or college when you were forced to work in groups on a project? Maybe you loved them, maybe you hated them, but the goal was to help you learn to think together, process information together, and make decisions together.
When you are faced with unique circumstances, opportunities, and choices, it would be wise to seek the perspective and experience of others. You are not meant to do life alone, and that includes decision making.
God has placed you in a community of people who have a variety of experiences and backgrounds that could potentially give you greater insight and action steps for whatever decision you need to make. For whatever situation you’re in right now, I believe God has someone in your life or community who could offer a word of wisdom.
Reflection: It’s a stereotype for men to not stop and ask directions when they’re lost. However, it’s usually the quickest way to get un-lost. Is it hard for you to ask others for help? Are you part of a community where you can ask others for help? Take time this week to reach out to a friend, share some of the decisions you need to make, and ask for some insight.
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