This is the time of year that our high school football players
are preparing to play football. No one would expect our young men
to be a good football team without preparing themselves to play.
And we should not expect ourselves to make godly decisions without
Paul wrote to Timothy: ". . . and exercise yourself rather
to godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness
is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now
is and of that which is to come" (1 Tim. 4:7-8). And to the
Hebrews Paul wrote: "But solid food belongs to those who are
of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses
exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14).
All behavior comes from the heart (Matt. 15:17-20). We must exercise
and condition our heart so that it is strong and stable whereby
we make, and carry out, godly decisions. And having done this, we
love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37f).
How do I prepare my heart?
First, our heart must be cleansed (2 Tim. 2:20-23). If our heart
is not first right with God being pure and clean, it is impossible
to make godly decisions.
Second, we must sanctify God in our hearts. Note Peter's instructions
here whereby one is able to stand strong against any trouble while
making godly decisions. "And who is he who will harm you if
you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer
for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. 'And do not be afraid
of their threats, nor be troubled.' But sanctify the Lord God in
your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who
asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and
fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers,
those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For
it is better, if it is the will of God to suffer for doing good
than for doing evil" (1 Pet. 3:13- 17).
Carefully consider Peter's instruction to sanctify the Lord God
in your heart. If I have made God holy, set Him apart as Lord in
my heart, I will make godly decisions. God is my honored guest.
Everything I do is to please Him. I do not fear others as long as
I am pleasing God. I am not afraid of threats and ridicule from
peers. God strengthens me to stand firm against all evil.
Let me also suggest that it is helpful to make decisions in advance.
God has made some decisions in advance. God determined (decided
in advance) the betrayal, sentence, and death of Jesus (Lk. 22:22).
And among other things, God has determined the times and boundaries
of mankind (Acts 17:26). So we can learn from God to make decisions
in advance. We prepare ourselves to make godly decisions by making
the decision in advance and by rehearsing our answer communicating
Lastly, let me suggest that we need to put ourselves in a good
environment. Paul says: "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company
corrupts good habits'" (1 Cor. 15:33). I have a personal responsibility
to create and choose the best possible environment for making godly
decisions. Thus, as parents we must make godly homes and schools
for ourselves and our children (Eph. 5:22-6:4). As employers we
have a responsibility to make a godly work environment (Eph. 5:9).
And as employees, we have a responsibility to subject ourselves
to employers and environments that are godly while doing our part
in creating and maintaining a godly atmosphere (Eph. 6:5-8).
We must prepare to make godly decisions. Have you prepared yourself?
Or, are you like a football player trying to compete without going
to camp or to the practices. If we do not continually prepare ourselves
to stand firm against the wiles of the devil, we will be like the
football team that never practiced - we will lose the contest, the
prize will be lost forever.