Our society in the year 2021 places a great deal of value on the right as individuals to make choices. Americans have the opportunity to make decisions on almost everything in their life, including whether or not they will acknowledge God’s authority in their lives or not. As Christian educators and parents we understand the value of making right choices, and the sometimes, painful consequences for wrong ones. Unfortunately, some decisions are so intense that even if an individual knows what is right, they still struggle with what decision they will actually make.
American Christians have been blessed to live in a country that honors and values religious freedom. In fact, one of the founding and core principles of this great country is the freedom to live and speak in accordance with one’s religion. But our culture has changed and is constantly changing. Christians living in America today are no longer the majority. On the contrary, the Judeo-Christian values and beliefs, that used to distinguish America from other countries, no longer influences most Americans. But this is not unprecedented, Christians in every age have had to balance the tension of living “in the world” without being “of the world.” This is certainly the challenge for believers in today’s America. As believers we are definitely out of the majority in our view of the world and the state of our country, and we recognize that our biblical views are will alienate us from the society in which we live.
One of the greatest responsibilities we have been given as teachers and parents for those we have influence over, is to make sure that those we influence understand that ultimately there are only two paths to follow. One of those paths is to make the decision in accordance with the principles and teachings of God’s Word, and the other path is to follow human reasoning alone, however well intended, to make our daily choices. In fulfilling our responsibility in teaching about making choices, the Bible offers us a clear path to choosing to align with making Godly decisions. The present generation, which has been brought up in a culture which emphasizes their individual rights, struggles greatly with God’s authority in their life when it comes to the decision-making process.
In the path to making good decisions the first step we must teach and practice is to recognize God’s place in the process. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Unless this concept is understood and embraced, God cannot have His rightful place in the decision- making process. In addition, it is unlikely that God will guide in a decision if He knows already that a person won’t obey it anyway, so it is absolutely essential that we understand that our will must be completely submitted to God’s. The Bible says that when our will is humbly and fully submitted to God, we can have confidence that he will give us direction in making good choices. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Another area in which the present generation struggles is simply in receiving counsel from parents and teachers who want the best for them. The world offers this generation instant information via electronic media, but the downside of such instantaneous information I believe, is that the need to seek Godly counsel is too often ignored. Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Godly counsel will always emphasize what the Bible says. Hebrews 4:12, ““The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Our ultimate counsel for our young people should be that God’s promises are true. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
This scriptural pattern for choosing wisely must not only be taught, but it must be practiced and modeled by those of us who influence young people because we know how inevitable it is that these difficult decisions will come.
Robert Andrews, Ph.D.