By Pastor John Brito
We are where we are in life because of the decisions that we’ve made. You may be enjoying a great career because you decided to study and prepare yourself for your future. You may have a family of your own because you decided to invest in your marriage and start a family. Or you may be living in your own home because at some point you decided to save to buy a house.
Like good decisions, bad ones can also have far reaching consequences. Most of us are probably still experiencing the consequences of the bad decisions we’ve made. Being stuck at work for not completing your education or that bad investment that cost you tens of thousands of dollars and set you back years. Or that loss of an important relationship because of a wrong decision made. Or that one-night stand that got you sick and brought a child into this world that you’ve struggled to remain a part of. The worse part of making bad decisions is that our family experiences the far-reaching negative consequences.
But what if I told you that God has a lot to say about decision making? What if there is a way to minimize the making of poor decisions? Where would you and your family be in the next 5, 10, 15 or 20 years if you made good decisions and minimized or eliminated the bad ones? You would be far better off. The good decisions you make today will determine where you’ll be tomorrow.
Here’s a key point on decision making: The best decisions are made when we’re led by God and not our flesh. There’s a story of two brothers that illustrates this. Esau and Jacob were twins. Esau was the firstborn and, as such, had the right to the blessing of the firstborn. In those days, when the father was nearing the time of his death he would bless his firstborn son, and the blessing was prophetic. God would listen and cause the blessing to become a reality.
Jacob, the younger, wanted the blessing. He knew that if his father blessed him that he would be successful, and that his children and their descendants would be blessed. But he had an obstacle. Esau had the right to the blessing. But Esau made a bad decision that changed his future:
One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry.30 Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”)31 “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”32 “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”33 But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn. (Genesis 25:29-34, NLT)
Esau was right. His birthright couldn’t help him with his hunger, but it would impact his future and that of his descendants. Esau decided to gratify his carnal appetite, without considering the impact that this would have on his and his family’s future. Here’ a key point: A decision made to gratify the flesh, without considering future consequences, leads to pain and regret. That day, God heard the vow that Esau made and the contempt that he showed for his rights as the firstborn.
When their father, Isaac, was close to dying he sent Esau to go hunt for him and to prepare his favorite dish so that he could eat and then bless him. But Jacob tricked his blind father and, unbeknownst to him, Isaac blessed Jacob, instead of Esau.
When Esau returned and discovered what had happened, he pleaded with his father saying, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept.” (Genesis 27:38, NLT) You see, a decision made to gratify the flesh, without considering future consequences, leads to pain and regret. Giving in to our carnal appetites and having that one-night stand or getting high or getting drunk and then getting behind the wheel can have serious long-term consequences. Even making emotional decisions, like going shopping, to feel good can have long-reaching negative consequences. You can end up buying things you can’t afford to fill a void in your life.
Jacob was blessed, and his descendants became the nation of Israel. Esau struggled, and his descendants became the nation of Edom. But Edom was never as blessed or prosperous as Israel.
What would have happened if Esau would have told his brother that day, “No thank you Jacob. My birthright is too important to my future.” What if Esau would have passed up on Jacob’s offer and would have looked for food elsewhere? History would be different. Esau and his descendants would have been blessed instead of Jacob. A decision made to gratify the flesh, without considering future consequences, leads to pain and regret.
The best decisions are made when we’re led by God and not our flesh. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (NLT)
James 1:5 say, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (NLT)
And proverbs 11:14 says, “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.” (NLT)
What would happen if you prayed before making an important decision? What if you stopped making decisions to gratify your carnal appetites, without considering future consequences? What if you sought out the advice of wise people that you trust before making decisions? You would make good decisions that would impact your and your family’s future.
Where would you be in the next 5, 10, 15 or 20 years if you minimized or eliminated bad decision making? You would be further along than you are now. Every good decision you make today will impact your tomorrow. You can be the good decision maker that your family needs you to be, and they would learn from you how it’s done.
What will you decide?