Impact

WDGG? How to make GOoD Decisions!


When making decisions that can have a longterm impact on your life, it is helpful to create distinctions. I have found it of utility to look at these decisions from legal, ethical (2), and prudential distinctions (5). Furthermore, I have found it helpful to have a heuristic (i.e., a thumb-rule) to provide consistency in decision-making resolution.

I. Legal – Will it violate God’s Law as delineated in the Ten Commandments? (1) Will it violate man’s law (Ecclesiastes 8:2-7. Romans 13:1-4)? (3)


If it is against the law, then do not do that thing!


II. Ethical – Will it violate my personnel ethics? Will it violate the ethics policy of my employer?

For our personal ethics, I like to remember WWJD! Christians began wearing bracelets with the acronym for “What would Jesus do?” (i.e., WWJD) in the 1990s as a reminder to attempt to act in a way that personifies Jesus’ teachings from the Gospels. The implication was that you are to conscientiously determine, based on your study of the Holy Scriptures and aided by the Holy Spirit, what Jesus would do in your situation and do that thing!

Furthermore, consider what Jesus stated are the first and second most important commandments:

Now when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they assembled together. And one of them, an expert in religious law, asked him a question to test him: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40 NET) (cf. Deuteronomy 6:5. Leviticus 19:18)

Will your action reveal Jesus, who is love Himself (1 John 4:16), to others? That is, will it show the following qualities of the love of God? (1)

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NET)

Furthermore, loving others with the love of God is not optional for Christians:

 "I give you a new commandment– to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples– if you have love for one another."  (John 13:34-35 NET)

If Jesus, who is love, would not do it, then do not do that thing!


III. Prudential – Is it the wise thing to do? If my decision was on Twitter would it have the appearance of doing the right thing or cause others to stumble (Romans 14:1-23. 2 Corinthians 8:21)

What about those decisions that pass the legal and ethical (i.e., WWJD) tests? What was the guiding heuristic for Jesus as He walked the Earth as the Son of Man? Jesus ever lives to bring glory to His and our Heavenly Father!

 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you– (John 17:1 NET)
that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. (John 17:21 NET)
I knew that you always listen to me, but I said this for the sake of the crowd standing around here, that they may believe that you sent me." (John 11:42 NET)

So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. (John 5:19 NET)

Then Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak just what the Father taught me. (John 8:28 NET)
I can do nothing on my own initiative. Just as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the one who sent me. (John 5:30 NET)
Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." (John 12:28 NET)

Therefore, I am proposing a new heuristic which is actually not new at all! What Does God Get (WDGG)? That is, what is in it for God? Again, What Does God Get out of it?  Is Jesus glorified in our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, resulting in God the Father being glorified (1) as a result of my decision? (Philippians 1:9-11)

Realize one reason we stay on Earth after being saved is to show forth our Heavenly Father’s glory (1) (2 Corinthians 4:7).  Our Heavenly Father is glorified by the revelation of His Son in our lives by the Holy Spirit (1) (Matthew 5:16. John 8:12).  The revelation of Jesus shows the world that He was God’s Son who died and now lives, resulting in their salvation (2 Corinthians 3:3). Our Heavenly Father is glorified through our verbal and nonverbal (i.e., our actions) confession of Jesus’ Lordship (Philippians 2:10). When the world sees Jesus, they will see the Heavenly Father (Hebrews 1:1. John 14:9).  They will then realize that He is for them and not against them (Romans 8:33-39), that Satan has lied to them about God (John 8:44), and that Jesus came to save the world (1) not to condemn it (John 3:16-18).


If through the power of the Holy Spirit, it does not bring glory to Jesus, resulting in God our Father being glorified, then do not do that thing!   


Conclusion:

If we fail to distinguish between legal, ethical, and prudential dimensions, it will result in confusing and complicated decision making. For example, we often characterize emotionally charged prudential decisions as ethical ones; thus, we inadvertently complicate the process of decision making. Furthermore, learning to hear from God (1) through His word, our spirit, and other seasoned Saints is vital to GOoD (4) decision making. If you earnestly seek His wisdom (1) you will find it. However, making the correct decision does not guarantee that all suffering (1) will be avoided.

– Discover Prayer Series:
  1. We Must Ask
  2. Seek Only Our Heavenly Father’s Glory
  3. Pray the Promise Not Just the Problem
  4. Pray in Faith
  5. Live a Lifestyle of Unconditionally Loving Others
  6. Have an Attitude of Gratitude
  7. Be Persistent
  8. Power Dressing for Prayer
  9. The Lord’s Prayer: The Outline for Prayer Given to Us by Jesus

Topical Index of Hal’s Blogs (1)

(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.

(2) Ethics refers to behavior considered right or wrong according to our beliefs independent of the culture or society. Moral refers to behavior customary in our culture or society.

(3) With the caveat that if man’s law violates God’s law, then we default to God’s law. (Matthew 22:21. Acts 4:19. Acts 5:29)

(4) GOoD – the odd capitalization is used to remind that there is no one good but God alone (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19).

(5) Distinctions adapted from ethics {for the real world} by Ronald A. Howard and Clinton D. Korver, 2008, ISBN-13: 978-1422121061


Hal Warren

Hal has been teaching the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father, in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Hal is a Professional Engineer, holding an MBA from Liberty University and a Ph.D. in Engineering. He is in his second career as an adjunct professor at a large research university. In his first career, He served six years honorably in the USN Nuclear Power Program, followed by a distinguished 36-year career in the commercial nuclear energy field. 

Hal and his wife have five adult children, several grandchildren, and with more grandchildren on the way! He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God, that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home. 

Topical Index of Hal's Blogs

One Comment

  • Avatar

    sonshine

    Great post

    Thanks Hal for this wise post. D&I have to teach SS in a couple of weeks, may 'borrow' these ideas!