Discipleship Truth: No one wants to make foolish decisions—but we all do! The Scriptures exalt wisdom as life’s most desirable quality, the highest blessing people can attain (Proverbs 3:13-15). Wisdom is the ability to navigate through life with supernatural skill—with the Lord’s insight, integrity, and intensity. Because wisdom is so valuable, God doesn’t dispense wisdom to just anyone; becoming wise requires effort (2:1-6). The path to wisdom begins with a desire and determination to know God—fearing and revering Him (9:10). Wise decisions are the result of the Lord’s direct guidance, the input of others, and from personal experience (often, learning from our mistakes).
True Story: Nothing is more important than picking the right friends! A wise man once told me, “Who you hang out with is who you become.” I loved friends, team sports, and youth group. Early on, my buddies strongly influenced me; their opinions mattered greatly. As a young “tween,” I started hanging out with Veronica. We had attended the same school since first grade. She was lively, fun, and she appeared to be a good friend. A classic latchkey kid, Veronica’s parents loved her, but they always seemed to be working. She often joked, “I spend more time with my babysitters!”
One day, Veronica entertained me with stories of slipping out of her house. She and a few friends shoplifted items from a nearby store—just for fun. She later lied to her parents about her whereabouts, telling them she’d been at my house the whole afternoon. Veronica laughed and called me her “partner in crime.” Alarm bells rang in my head. My lively friend was making dumb choices! In spite of my concerns, I simply nodded and pretended to be okay with the situation. “I won’t say anything,” I whispered to Veronica—feeling honored that she trusted me with her secrets.
Later on, I wrestled with my passive response to Veronica’s actions. Why didn’t I speak up? I quickly realized that my silence was due to fear of her disapproval. During the next few months, Veronica kept sneaking out, stealing, and lying. I remembered 1 Corinthians 15:33 from a Sunday school lesson. “Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for ‘bad company corrupts good character.’ ” This friendship was pulling me away from God; I needed a different best friend. It was time to make a decision.
Because Veronica and I attended the same school, transitioning to new friends was tough; but I no longer wanted to be part of her lies. I started spending more time with the girls on my volleyball team and the girls from church. Over time, those bonds of friendship deepened. That made it easier to risk Veronica’s disapproval—and she was not happy! But I saw my new friends daily at practice; many of them went to youth group as well. Those friendships became central throughout my junior high and high school journey. We had fun and grew in faith together.
If I hadn’t made the wise decision to steer clear of Veronica, I may have made VERY different choices during that pivotal time of life. The wise adage is very true—who I spent time with is who I became!
Action Step: Encourage your child to make decisions that consider God’s viewpoint and values (3:5-6). The choices your son or daughter makes today will contribute toward the person he or she becomes tomorrow.
As you face any issue, these ten, practical decision-making guidelines will help you and your child make wise decisions together. Before making each decision, ask yourself, does it:
- Glorify God?
- Honor parents?
- Build others up?
- Increase your integrity?
- Protect your body?
- Demonstrate discipline?
- Produce spiritual fruit?
- Keep a clear conscience?
- Defeat the devil?
- Imitate Jesus?
Portions of this article taken from the ABCs of Family Discipleship booklet, available here.