If Only

Leave your foolish ways behind, and begin to live; learn how to be wise. –Proverbs 9:6 (NLT)

I’ll be honest with you. I’m not the greatest at making decisions. Sometimes, I’m just too impulsive for my own good. After making a not-so-good decision, I often find myself thinking, “If only…”

I find that “if only” pops up in a lot of my conversations with people, where it’s clear they are living in the sea of regret over the decisions they’ve made in their lives. “If only I’d said no to that adulterous opportunity.” “If only I’d said no to that get rich quick scheme.” “If only I hadn’t incurred so much debt.” “If only I’d married a Christian.” “If only, I had told the truth.”

If only we could make better decisions. The good news is that we can learn to make better decisions. I love today’s Scripture passage that instructs us to leave our foolish ways behind and to learn how to be wise. According to this passage, the ball is in our court. It’s up to us to choose to leave our foolish past behind and to pursue wisdom.

When it is decision-making time, here’s the first step: talk to God. Okay, it may sound churchy for me to say something simple like, “Talk to God.” But, I’m guessing far too few people actually do it. Think about it. When you face a big decision, do you really drop to your knees and look up to God and say, “God, I need your help with this. I can’t do this one on my own. God, I need Your supernatural wisdom. I need Your help”?

I think nothing would make God happier than to be invited to come alongside of us and give us His wisdom as we make decisions. In James 1:5-7 we read, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. James says when you make decisions, the best place to get input is from God Himself.

While it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of a trusted friend when faced with a big decision, let me encourage you to first seek the wisdom of the wisest and most trustworthy friend any of us have: God. Go to God first. Talk to Him. There’s no need to live life in the mire of “If only.” God’s always listening, and He always stands ready to generously give you His wisdom.

1. What are the biggest decisions facing you today?

2. Have you talked to God about these decisions? If not, why not?

Proverbs 2:6; Proverbs 22:3; Proverbs 3:13-18

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture; Intentional Parenting; 7 Ways to be Her Hero – the One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For; and To Have and To Hold. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he is also the co-founder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and the youth pastor at Mariners Church. Doug has been married for more than 35 years to his wonderful wife Cathy, and they live near their 3 married children and 3 grandchildren in Southern California.

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