What’s better?

Many of the routine decisions we make every day aren’t choices between evil and good. Sometimes we just must decide which path is better. Several times in Proverbs, God describes a “better” way. Take a look:

“Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.” (Proverbs 12:9)

“Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.” (Proverbs 15:16)

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” (Proverbs 15:17)

“Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.” (Proverbs 16:8)

“How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” (Proverbs 16:16)

“Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” (Proverbs 17:1)

“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” (Proverbs 19:1)

“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” (Proverbs 21:9)

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” (Proverbs 27:5)

Are you choosing what’s better?

Decision Making for Christians

Before we make decisions, it’s a good idea to ask some questions. These questions help decisionsus to make better choices and live with fewer regrets.

We might ask…

  • Will this work?
  • What will people think?
  • How much will it cost me? Do I have time for it?
  • Can I get away with it?
  • Am I capable of doing this?
  • Will it make me happy?

Questions like these are pretty useful tools when we make those choices. These are the sorts of questions that many really smart people rely on. I’d like to suggest that Christians should add another set of questions to their lists:

  • How does God feel about this?
  • Will it bring glory to God’s name or is this more about me?
  • Am I helping others or am I just advancing my personal agenda?
  • Is this truly wise?
  • What eternal difference will this decision make?
  • How will it affect my walk with God?
  • Will this decision make it easier or harder for me to follow Jesus?
  • Will this decision make it easier or harder for my family and friends to follow Jesus?
  • Would Jesus make this decision?
  • Is this the best use of the resources I’ve been entrusted with?
  • How will this decision affect eternity?

It’s good for us to think strategically and long-term. It’s better for us to think with God’s perspectives.

What questions would you add to the list?

God’s Faithfulness

God has the power and priviledge to set out “might makes right” rules and precepts. Without getting too philisophical about the nature of God, it’s amazing to me that he didn’t. Many an ancient deity would establish covenants which were more of pseudo-divine protection rackets: pay up or get it. The Egyptian gods mocked by the 10 Plagues may be an example.

Some misconstrue YAHWEH God as that kind of god (at least, in the OT). “It’s my way or the highway.” While this is true — there really is no other way but God’s — He’s given us choice and presented himself as the best option by right of love over fear. Or, at least that’s the way I think he meant it. Sure, he calls for fear in the terms of respect. But isn’t healthy respect a part of love?

As the higher power, he sets the terms of the covenant. Instead of demanding tribute, he just demands loyalty. It’s almost like his covenants just say “Show me you want me, and I’ll stay with you.” Yes, there’s discipline, but that’s the marker of a loving and responsible father. He’s so gracious that even when mankind messes them up over and over again, he’s still faithful to his promise.

Think about it from his perspective: he said to all mankind, “I’ll bless you. Give me your hearts and I’ll give you new life, rescue you from death, and bless you beyond your wildest dreams.”

Man’s response: immediate gratitude followed by amazing ingratitude. In the garden Adam and Eve had it made. Food, simple occupation, no shame or guilt. God’s only stipulation: don’t partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In the Bible “knowledge” is an intimate concept (they knew each other in the biblical sense…). It implies more than just posession of fact, but also personal familiarity and realization. God told Adam and Eve, in effect, don’t get aquainted with knowing good and evil. All they previously knew was “good.” Instead, by ignoring God’s directive, they found out the hard way what evil was like–by in a small way, becoming it. They experinced what God said they should never have to experience…but I digress.

Follow the Bible story through the Exodus, the period of judges, to the coronation of the first king. The repeated theme: God loves man. Man snubs God. God brings man back, because God loves man. Man snubs God…

Wouldn’t it just be easier to be faithful? I’m glad God is.