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Life Decisions
– by Bishop Ayo Odunayo

(These are draft notes from the Young Adults break out session with the Bishop during the Family Weekend Program on Friday 20th July 2018)

The scriptures teach us that an important part of life will be making the right choices.

Life is full of decisions and choices

What should I do with the rest of my life?
Should I go to this school party ?
Who should I marry?
What job shall I do?
Should I save, spend or give my money?
Shall I stay in Dublin or move away?
What shall I eat for dinner tonight?
Should this person be my friend

Life is full of decisions, some big and some small, and the trick to making the most of life is learning how to make good decisions in the everyday so you are equipped to make good decisions about big life events.

However decision-making is not easy and often we feel disappointed and frustrated when we think about past decisions, and worried or paralysed as we think about future decisions. And things are a lot worse if you are a follower of Jesus because then you also have to factor in “the will of God” – what is it, how do I find it, what if I miss it, what if I have already missed it and why does she always seem to find it and get dreams and visions from God when I don’t?

How do we make the right choices when there are so many temptations and so many people telling us what they think we should do with our lives?

There are four important elements that will allow us to make good decisions:

1. You must have an eternal plan and let it be your greatest value and priority in life

2. You need to study and pray daily for guidance and to receive the leading of the Holy Spirit

3: You need to ask for counsel as you study and pray

4. you need to check your motives and balance it with your eternal plan

1. We must have an eternal plan with objectives that we are committed to achieve.

We need an eternal plan.

Life’s plan and the challenge to be successful are demonstrated in a Popular Fable, “The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey.”

The objective of the man and the boy was to journey to the city marketplace and sell the donkey for winter provisions. As they started to town, the father rode the donkey. In the first village, the villagers said, “What an inconsiderate man, riding the donkey and making his son walk!” So the father got off the donkey and let his son ride.

In the next hamlet, the people whispered, “What an inconsiderate boy, riding the donkey and making his father walk!”

In frustration, the father climbed on the donkey; and father and son rode the donkey, only to have the people in the next town declare, “How inconsiderate of the man and the boy to overload their beast of burden and treat him in such an inhumane manner!”

In compliance with the dissident voices and mocking fingers, the father and son both got off the donkey to relieve the animal’s burden, only to have the next group of onlookers say, “Can you imagine a man and a boy being so stupid as to not even use their beast of burden for what it was created!”

Then, in anger and total desperation, having tried to please all those who offered advice, the father and son both rode the donkey until it collapsed. The donkey had to be carried to the marketplace. The donkey could not be sold. The people in the marketplace scoffed, “Who wants a worthless donkey that can’t even walk into the city!”

The father and son had failed in their goal of selling the donkey and had no money to buy the winter provisions they needed in order to survive.

How much different the outcome would have been if the father and son had had a plan to follow. Father could have said, “I’ll ride the donkey one-third of the way; Son, you ride the donkey one-third of the way; and we’ll both walk the last third of the way. The donkey will arrive at the marketplace fresh and strong, ready to be sold.”

Then, as they received confusing advice while traveling through each hamlet and village along their way to the city, they could look at each other, give a reassuring wink of the eye, and say, “We have a plan.”

a. Indeed, you and I have a plan to guide us in our lives—the eternal plan that was given to us by God and that will bring us back into the presence of our Heavenly Father.

During our sojourn on earth, we will be tested with enticements and opposition in all things. But if we are obedient and faithful to the laws, ordinances, and covenants of God, we can attain eternal life.

To attain eternal life is why we came to earth.

Eternal life is our goal. The definition of eternal life is to be able to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with our families for all eternity.

b Every time we make choices in our lives, we should weigh the ultimate effect our decisions will have on our goal of attaining eternal life.

2. we need to study and pray on a daily basis about our decisions for spiritual guidance, courage, and commitment.

When we have the eternal plan as a goal in our lives, we will make eternal choices. However, we will not make the right eternal choices based solely on our pure intellectual deduction and factual analysis from our own understanding: Prayer and study must be used together to build knowledge and wisdom.

2A.Steps to life decisions

When praying over a decision there are some important steps to take
2 Peter 1:5-6 KJV
[5] And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; [6] And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

– we start with the intelligence with which we were born.
-To our intelligence we add knowledge as we search for answers, study, and educate ourselves.
Proverbs 10:14 KJV
[14] Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

-To our knowledge we add experience, which should lead us to a level of wisdom.
Proverbs 4:7 KJV
[7] Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.” (Prov. 3:13.)

-In addition to our wisdom, we add the help of the Holy Ghost through our prayers of faith, asking for spiritual guidance and strength.

Then, and only then, do we reach an understanding in our hearts—which motivates us to “do what is right; let the consequence follow.”

The feelings of an understanding heart give us the sweet spirit of assurance of not only knowing but doing what is right no matter what the circumstances.

The understanding in our hearts comes from a close interdependence of study and prayer.

After we have attained knowledge and understanding, it is important to feel that our decision is right.

This is where understanding the leading of the Holy Spirit comes in

Romans 8:14,16 KJV
[14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [16] The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

How to know a right decision
i. The leading of the Spirit of God can come as a witness in your heart

The witness of the spirit over a decision can come in the following ways

– a deep feeling that your decision is right or otherwise

ii. A Peace or unrest in your heart
2 Corinthians 2:13 KJV
[13] I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.

iii. The voice of your heart
Acts 7:23 KJV
[23] And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

It came into Moses heart….

iv. The rare audible voice of the Holy Spirit

3. Along with study and prayer, we must seek wise counsel.

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” (Prov. 1:5.)

When seeking wise counsel, turn to those who have exhibited obedience to the commandments and willingness to follow the promptings of the Spirit in their lives.

– your pastor, your godly parents, elderly and or mature christian leaders, a mature friend

How to recognize godly counsel / counsellor

-when the advice you are given makes it easier to live the commandments
– when you are not asked to choose between a wayward friend’s ways and the Lord’s ways.

Even though we counsel with others, we must take the responsibility for our actions.

Some try to go through life without making their own decisions and blame others when all does not go as well as expected.

As we study our problems out in our minds, patience and pondering should have an important place in our decision-making process.

We should reflect on our eternal goals and not make hasty and unwise decisions.

4. Lastly we need to examine our motives each time we make a decision.

A good check and balance in decision making is to look at our motives for making our decisions.

a. Don’t make your decisions out of selfish motives

Important questions
-Are my motives selfish, or is there charity in the decision I am about to make?

Is this decision in keeping with the commandments, both in the spirit and the letter of the law?

Is my decision basically right, honorable, and compatible with the golden rule?

Have I considered the impact of my decision on others?”

“Let all your [decisions] be done with charity.” (1 Cor. 16:14.)

B. Don’t make decisions out of fear and greed.

Be aware of your true motives.

We make poor and irrational decisions if our decision is motivated by greediness: greed for monetary gain; greed that results in a conflict of interest; desire for power, titles, and recognition of men.

“He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.” (Prov. 15:27.)

Likewise, we make poor and irrational decisions if we are motivated by fear: fear of man, fear of not being popular, fear of failure, fear of public opinion.

Saul’s decision to disobey Samuel was based on fear

As Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” (1 Sam. 15:24.)

Making long term decisions like marriage

1. Its a decision of a life time
2. It must not be based on emotions or your limited knowledge but on the inner conviction of God’s will for your life and the godly counsel from your pastor, christian leaders and parents

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