‘But I hardly know this beauty by my side.’ —Chris de Burgh
What would you consider to be the best choice you’ve ever made? Was it when you saw your ‘lady in red?’ or your knight in shining armor?
Here are 10 ways to make good choices in general:
1. Recognize that you can back track on something ‘going south.’ Because you may have started down the wrong path doesn’t mean you have to get to the end of it. You can choose to abort, turn around, or veer off into another direction if you realize your trajectory is leading to doom and gloom. You can pull back before it’s too late.
2. Look back at what you’ve done well and try to replicate or improve upon it. If you made a good choice in the past you can make it again, if you’re faced with a similar circumstance. Maybe you lost 5 pounds by not eating ice cream at 10 o’clock at night. Then you reneged. Choose not to eat at 10 o’clock again, if you have to. Possibly improve upon this choice by sticking with and maybe eating ice cream right after a meal at noon. 😊
3. Learn from the failure but don’t focus on it or overly dwell on it. Why cry over spilt milk? Mop up the spill and move on.
4. Be honest with yourself. Shakespeare said, ‘to thine own self be true.’ My mother would say, ‘don’t fool your fat.’ You can’t make a worst choice if it’s based on a lie. Face the facts. Make wise choices based on reality, not fiction.
5. Try to make the right choice the first time. A good tailor or draftsman knows to measure twice and cut once. Consider the options carefully. If time allows, run through the possible outcomes in your mind before you act, then decide. Not all choices may be rosy. Sometimes we have to choose the lesser of two evils. Factor the ‘greater good’ into the equation.
6. Recognize that sometimes the right choice may be a hard one. Everything isn’t always easy. We sometimes have to make a hard call such as to refuse an invitation, be a whistle blower, or be a defendant. It may take courage. Let noble principles guide your way.
7. Have someone hold you accountable, not just for a life changing event or to break a bad habit, but also in every day things. For example, we don’t need to do mean acts and not tell anyone. We sometimes need to confess to others to be reminded that we can do better. Getting another perspective can be invaluable.
8. ‘Oh crap!’ is a perfectly good expression when you’ve unintentionally hurt yourself or another person. Some may put it another way by saying, ‘oh loss,’ or ‘shucks,’ to an accidental slip of the tongue, or a bad keystroke on the computer. Use the occurrence as a way to be more careful. If you’re using a hammer and you miss a nail that you’re holding and pound your finger, don’t tap the nail so hard again, or hit it from a different angle. Don’t repeatedly hit your finger.
9. Do unto others as you would want them to do to you. Follow the golden rule (Matthew 7:12). You can even take this a step further. You can do to someone something you know they want done as long as it is harmless and doesn’t violate your principles. Make the world a better place through acts of kindness.
10. Digest God’s Word daily and stay connected to the Source of Life, period.
And with this, let’s turn to Romans 7:14-25 for guidance on how to really make the best choice.
Are you struggling with sin like I do at times? Come on, let’s read what Paul is saying (NLT version)
14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
The key to making a good choice is found right in verse 25, Jesus Christ. What does it mean to have Jesus Christ in our life? Picture him. Whatever you know about him. Whatever you know he did. Can we replicate his actions? Can we have his Spirit? He offered himself through his Holy Spirit. Think of having the Spirit of Christ described as ‘another Comforter’ in John 14:16, as the way to find inspiration, guidance and empowerment to make the best choice. Many of us serve one God who says the Father and Son are one (John 10:30). We want God’s Spirit to energize, motivate, and affect our decision making process. When under pressure, or in a tense situation, we need the One who can provide peace in the storm, and calmness to think clearly.
Need Jesus? He must live in our heart as do those who have inspired us along the way. As the songwriter says, ‘Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart Lord Jesus, come in to stay, come in today, come into my heart Lord Jesus.’
I need this prayer each and every day!