This past Easter Sunday we began a series titled, Eenie, Meanie, Miney, Moe, where we are attempting to make sense of our decisions. There are a few reasons why we all need some direction in our decision-making.
First, we all make decisions. In fact, our lives are filled every day, every week, every month, and every year with decisions? Amazingly, we make thousands of decisions every year, some of those are minuscule decisions, while some our monumental and weighty. Second, most of us do not have a consistent pattern for making decisions. If we were honest, there are times we make decisions based upon what our gut and heart is telling us. Other times we make decisions based upon our feelings and emotions—if we are glad or mad. Then there are times we make decisions using the “moral algebra” method where we list all the pros and cons and then arrive at a decision. And finally there are times we make decisions based upon experience, knowledge, and what others have told us.
Truth is, none of these methods are bad in and of themselves for streamlining our decisions. However, because we randomly use these for various situations and decisions in our life our decision making can become like our childhood decision making process when we sang the rhyme, “Eenie, meanie, miney, moe catch a tiger by his toe….”
Second, we have all made bad decisions. No one has been able to escape the grip of a bad decision. The bad news of bad decisions can leave us badly bruised, if not scarred. Our bad decisions lead to our fear of making more, especially when we face other tough, stressful, and daunting decisions. Third, since we all make decisions, and we have all made bad decisions; we all have the desire to make better, more consistent decisions.
In order to make better, more consistent decisions we need to understand the foundation of our decision making. The foundation of humanity’s decision making originated in a garden. After making man in his image, and giving man the mandate to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, subduing it and exercising stewardship (dominion) over it, God places man in the Garden of Eden to till it and cultivate while fulfilling their God-given purpose. And it was in the Garden that the foundation of man’s decision making for life originated. Every decision man was to ever make—from small to great, from unimportant to important—was to flow from their relationship with God and his purpose for their life.
However, they made one detrimental decision. They chose to disobey and rebel against God and eat from the tree he had commanded them not to eat. This one decision led to the chaotic breakdown and damage of humanity and the created order. It was this one decision that changed humanity’s nature from fully functioning and flourishing as God’s image bearers to damaged, distorted, and broken law-breakers who are in the cross-hairs of God’s wrath. Although man would still have glimmers of being God’s image bearers, the ramifications for all humanity is that they would all make the same fundamental bad decision that their primordial parents made—they would reject God and thus be separated from him. And this rejection of God would lead to other sinful patterns, which would be manifested in bad decisions.
In light of this, God promises and sends Jesus to reconcile man back to God, inviting them back into the Garden. This is vividly seen while Jesus was on the cross and one of the thieves confesses his sin and his due penalty of death and wrath, but at the same time trusts and believes in Jesus—his kingship and grace. Jesus responds to this [guilty] man’s confession by telling him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Many scholars point out that this is a Persian word, which means garden. In addition, they point to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of Hebrew Scripture, and how the word Jesus uses in speaking to the thief is the same word used to describe the garden in Genesis 2 and 3. In the most condensed simplest form, Jesus—in light of his work on the cross (absorbing God’s wrath) and this man’s confession and belief—is inviting this man back into the Garden to enjoy perfect communion and fellowship with God.
Therefore, if we have followed in the footsteps of this man, this guilty thief turned child of the king, we too have been invited back into the Garden. As a result, every decision we will every make—from small to big, from unimportant to important—should be filtered through our relationship with God and his purpose and plan for our life. If this becomes our foundation we will find that our decision-making will become better, more consistent, and most importantly God glorifying. If you are a believer, is this how you view your decision-making?