Making Great Decisions

Bible Book: Romans  5 : 12-21
Subject: Decisions; Decision Making; Motivation; Christian Living

Romans 5:12-21

How many of you have ever made a bad decision? In 1955, Sam Phillips of Memphis, Tennessee sold to RCA Victor Records his exclusive contract for a relatively unknown singer and whose future he wasn’t quite sure. The name…Elvis Presley!

Former Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick was recently released from prison. About a month ago, the Philadelphia Eagles decided they would take a chance with Michael Vick. They believe he is trying to live a new life and are willing to give him the opportunity to turn around his career. Will this be a good decision? Only time will tell.

Is there a key that can unlock the possibility to making great decisions consistently? Yes, there is. Understand that God loves and cares for you. He desires you to look to Him first and when you do, you will find wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Today, we will look at five tests that will serve as a standard in making great decisions.

I. The Inspiration Test - Does This Agree With The Bible?

(Romans 5.12-15, Genesis 2.17, Genesis 3.1)

The first thing we should ask ourselves in making decisions is, does it line up with the Word of God? Recall that God gave Adam the right to be the first spiritual leader in all of history. God allowed Adam to have certain resources and relationships – yet Adam failed to place the Word of God first in His decision making.

Instead of listening to God and obeying His clear instruction concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam ate of the forbidden fruit when Eve brought it to him. In doing so, Adam failed in at least two points. He failed in his resource test – he was not a good steward of God’s creation.

Adam also failed in his relationship test. Instead of leading Eve to obey God, he allowed Eve to be deceived by the serpent, thus failing in his relationship test.

Dr. John Maxwell states, “Adam’s failure started at home, in just a short time it damaged all his relationships, spoiled the beautiful place he lived, and ultimately devastated the entire world. And the whole mess can be traced back to one spineless refusal to lead.”

Adam and Eve both refused to be held accountable for their poor decision making. When God asked Adam what happened, Adam says, “Don’t look at me, God, Eve brought the fruit to me.” “Well, what about it, Eve?” God says. “Don’t go looking at me, God, it was the serpent that deceived me.” Don’t  we do the same thing when sin gets a hold of our lives? Immediately, we begin looking for someone other than ourselves to take the blame. “It’s not my fault I’m 25 pounds overweight, it was McDonald’s for making Quarter Pounders and fries!

What is the basis for your decision making? What part does the Word of God play in your daily choices? Jesus said, ““Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice” (that is, everyone who listens and acts on Jesus’ word) “is like a wise man…” (Matthew 7:24-27). The Psalmist sated in Psalm 19, “The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes…By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

In addition, God in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 guarantees us that every single word of scripture comes from the very breath of God and is useful for four things in our life…

Teaching us how to walk in the calling and mission of God.
Rebuking us when we’re not walking there.
Correcting us and showing us how to get back to walking there.
Training us to obediently stay there once we’re on course.

The first test in making great decisions is, “Is this decision based solidly on the truth of the Word of God?

II. The Integrity Test - Is This Consistent With What I Believe?

As you make decisions, do you find yourself worried about other people finding out what you are doing? If so, it’s most likely a bad decision. Ask yourself, would I want my best friend to see me  doing what I’m doing? Would I be embarrassed if my wife or husband caught me in this act? Would I do this if I knew God were standing right before me?

James 4:17 says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” We tend to think of sin as stealing, lying, committing adultery, etc. While these indeed are sin, it’s also a sin to know what you should do and then not do it.

Sometimes we as Christians falsely believe we can live any way we want to live and God will just to look away simply because we belong to Him. The Apostle Paul answers this in Romans 6.1, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

While it is true that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins when we confess them to Him, there will also be consequences to those sins. That sin could lead to a loss of relationship to a friend or spouse, being fired from our job, leading into financial bondage, breaking up a close friendship, etc.

What are some of your beliefs? Do they line up with the Word of God? For instance…what would you do if you heard a preacher say, “God blesses all marriage, it makes no difference if it’s between man and woman?” What about teaching that says, “Jesus is simply a way to Heaven, not the only way.

God accepts everyone’s faith.” What about the issue of coming to church? God gave us a day to rest and worship. He knows that if we don’t take time to come apart to be with Him our lives will come apart. Look at Chik-Fil-A as a prime example of obedience to this principle. I’m sure they’ve been tempted to make more $$$, but owner Truett Cathy is standing on his beliefs to obey God. What about our finances? I know God’s Word teaches me to be a joyful giver and to bring Him the first portion our financial resources– but He knows all the bills are due, He understands I need this vacation, He understands I need more stuff.

Jon Piper states in one of his books, “sin "gets its power by persuading us to believe that we will be more happy if we follow it. The power of all temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier."

Sometimes we say, “Even though I know this is wrong, I will do it anyway because I know God will forgive me.” I’m sure everyone one of us has done this at one time or the other. Look at 2 Corinthians

9.8 and Galatians 6.8 – What we reap, we sow!

III. The Impact Test - How Will My Decision Affect My Brethren?

A pastor friend shared something with me that I thought was so impressive recently. He said he knew of a man in his church that woke up every morning with two simple questions on his mind, “How can I serve God today?” and “How can I serve my wife today?”

Too often, our decisions are self-centered rather than others centered. Philippians 2.4, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Do you think Adam and Eve really thought through their decision? They believed the lie of the devil that God was holding back something from them. I’m sure they didn’t think about that this sin was opening the door for death into everyone’s life.

If you want a recipe for a miserable life – think primarily of yourself in your decision making. How can  I benefit from this? If you want a life of much greater joy and happiness – think primarily of others.

How can I be of benefit to others?

I’ve never seen a day when people are filled with such hurt, heartache, overwhelmed by the stresses and pressures of life. I spoke with a friend in Texas this week and it seems the last four years of their life have left their whole family wondering, “God, do even you care about us anymore?” They are strong Christians and know that God is there, but the hurt, sickness, pain, and rejection they have encountered have left a deep hole in their hearts.

Society says, “Think first of your needs, wants, desires,” Perhaps this is why more people are depressed and suicidal today. Just like Adam and Eve bought into the lie of Satan that says, “Me first,” we’ve done the same today.

What about with churches? Do we come with a me first attitude? Do we come with a “God, bless my will,” attitude or a “God, I surrender to your will,” attitude. That will make all the difference in a church.

What about with our children? Romans 14.12-13, “Each of us will give an account of himself to God…make up your mind not to put a stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”

It’s amazing to Amy and I how much Jon David and Nathan pick up from us! When they see us will they be seeing someone they want to imitate with their lives? Sometimes people say, “The only one this is going to impact is me.” Not so. Adam’s sin affected not only him, but all humanity. Romans 5.12, 5.17

Think about it, the decisions we make today are going to impact people either positively or negatively for years to come. How we need to learn to put God and others first in our thinking!

IV. The Improvement Test - Will This Decision Be Beneficial?

First Corinthians 10:23 says, “‘Everything is permissible’” but not everything is beneficial…not everything is constructive.” The question is between what’s good and what’s really best for you. There are a lot of activities I can engage in that are simply not the best for me. The amount of time and energy we increasingly give to entertainment and leisure activities is the prime example of choosing the good over the best.

Some of us allow our lives to revolve around certain television shows, video games, or the Internet. Some of us spend too much time reading gossip newspapers and celebrity magazines. Too many of us spend our weekends watching the football game. Of course, we have to catch the pre and post-game show on ESPN!

Every one of us needs time to rest and become refreshed – but spending too much time on entertainment and leisure is not living like the king Jesus calls you to be! Isn’t it time to spend more time focused on God’s goals and God’s will for your life? His goal for your life is to make you more and more like Jesus Christ, to be “conformed to the likeness of” your Savior and Lord (Romans 8:29). That’s the very best that you can compare against any good activity.

Think of the choice Jesus made on the cross. The whole world felt like it was a foolish decision, but because of what Jesus did on the cross – giving His life for our sins – we live forever. Adam’s choice brought death on the human race – Christ’s choice brought deliverance to all who receive His free gift of salvation!


We’ve all made good decisions and we’ve all made bad decisions, possibly even devastating ones, decisions in which we think, “I wish I hadn’t done that!” You may have carried the burden of a bad decision into this room today. The good news I have to offer you is this: Jesus is here, and He knows who you are, where you are today. He knows about that bad decision, He knows about all the decisions you’ve made, but what He really cares about is you. He says, “You matter to Me. I love you, I gave my life on the cross for you. For the bad decisions you made, I forgive you. I can’t free you from the consequences of those decisions, but if you will come to Me and give Me all the pieces of your life: the good, the bad, the ugly, the parts you’re embarrassed about, I will take those pieces and give you peace, My peace. Not only that, but as you receive Me and make Me the center of your life, your Savior and Lord, I will give you the discernment and understanding and knowledge to make wise  and good decisions from here on.” That’s the offer Jesus makes to each of us today. Responding “yes” to His offer is the wisest and best decision you can make not just for today, but for your whole life!

(Much of this sermon attributed to Rev. Jeffery Jeremiah -