Imagine trying to list the many decisions we make in a day.
We face hundreds of them, perhaps even thousands. We make decisions about everything from what we're going to do as soon as we get out of bed, to what we are going to wear, who we will meet in a particular day, and what things we will try to accomplish. Some decisions are small and not likely to affect anyone else, and others have far-reaching and sometimes unknown consequences. Yet, how often do we stop to think about what motivates our decision-making process? Why do we choose the things we choose? Are we motivated by a desire to make ourselves happy, or are we motivated by a desire to serve others? And where is God in our decision-making process? Is He central of is He somewhere on the periphery?
In I Corinthians 10:31, we read, "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Paul was writing to a church which was experiencing great conflict and division. In this particular context, some Christians had a conscience about eating meat offered to idols. And he gives some specific commands about that. I suspect that none of us have to deal with that particular problem, but we can be sure that sometimes divisions arise among God's people. And the only solution to the problem is to recognize that our motivation should be God' glory. We can ask, "Am I aiming to please God by the decision that I am making? have I made it a point to pray about this decision with a true desire to honor god?" So often we may pray for God to bless our agenda, rather than to pray that God will direct our paths so that we will seek His purposes in all things.
After we are sure that we are seeking the Lord, another question should arise: "Am I looking out for the interests of others, or solely my own personal interests in this decision?" In Philippians 2, Paul exhorts us to have the mind of Christ. In that passage he gives us the greatest example of self-sacrificial love; the Lord Jesus Christ humbling himself to take on flesh, to suffer in the flesh for sinners, and to die the wretched death of the cross. Yet, prior to this example, Paul says, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." (Phil. 2:3). Wow! Can we ever possibly reach this ideal? The difficulty is that we desire to please ourselves. Romans 1 tells us that, in our sin, we worship the creature rather than the Creator. What we need is a reversal of our old sinful self.
This change can take place only in Christ. From the moment we look to Christ in faith until we die, we are a work in progress. We are in constant need of the Spirit of God to change us from desiring to please ourselves to seeking to please God first and others second. So when we make decisions in life, we should first think about what God would have us do; and then ask how this decision will impact others - how can we seek to honor them? What we want should be last. If you want true Joy in life, it comes only as you put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourselves last. If you really want to do yourself a favor, put God and others in their rightful position and you will not be disappointed.