“ He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. ” (Psalm 91:1) (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Decisions, Decisions
No matter how hard you try to avoid
them, life presents you with decisions you
have to make daily. Some decisions are
easy to make, but others are extremely
difficult. Having clear priorities makes the
decision process easier. But where can we
find the help we need to establish good
priorities? This lesson will show you what
you should use to establish your priorities
as well as who can help you to set good
1. What is one of the toughest decisions you have ever had to make?
2. How did your decision reveal your real priorities?
Read the following sets of Bible passages and application notes. Answer
the questions for each set before moving on to the next.
Proverbs 2:1-6
My son, if thou wilt
receive my words, and
hide my commandments
with thee; so that thou
incline thine ear unto wisdom,
and apply thine
heart to understanding;
yea, if thou criest after
knowledge, and liftest up
thy voice for understanding;
if thou seekest
her as silver, and searchest
for her as for hid treasures;
then shalt thou understand
the fear of the
LORD, and find the
knowledge of God. For
the LORD giveth wisdom:
out of his mouth
cometh knowledge and
My son, if you accept
my words and store up my
commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your
heart to understanding,
and if you call out for
insight and cry aloud for
understanding, and if you
look for it as for silver and
search for it as for hidden
treasure, then you will understand
the fear of the
LORD and find the knowledge
of God. For the LORD
gives wisdom, and from his
mouth come knowledge
and understanding.
My child, listen to me
and treasure my instructions.
Tune your ears to
wisdom, and concentrate
on understanding. Cry
out for insight and understanding.
Search for them
as you would for lost
money or hidden treasure.
Then you will understand
what it means to fear the
LORD, and you will gain
knowledge of God. For
the LORD grants wisdom!
From his mouth come
knowledge and understanding.
In order to set good priorities in life we need wisdom. We can attain the wisdom we need in two
ways. First, we can spend time reading and studying God’s Word, which is wisdom’s starting point
and the source of “knowledge and understanding” (2:6). Second, we need to earnestly seek God’s
wisdom (see James 1:5). Because God’s wisdom is hidden, it takes effort to find it. Finding wisdom
can be strenuous. But when we are on that path, we will discover that true wisdom is God’s and
that he will guide us and reward our sincere and persistent search.
3. Why do we need wisdom for establishing priorities?
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4. If people do not use wisdom to establish priorities, what do they use
5. To what degree have you turned to God for wisdom in setting your
6. What steps can you take this week to attain more of God’s wisdom
for setting your priorities?
Mark 2:13-14
And he went forth
again by the sea side; and
all the multitude resorted
unto him, and he taught
them. And as he passed
by, he saw Levi the son of
Alphaeus sitting at the
receipt of custom, and
said unto him, Follow
me. And he arose and followed
Once again Jesus went
out beside the lake. A
large crowd came to him,
and he began to teach
them. As he walked
along, he saw Levi son of
Alphaeus sitting at the
tax collector’s booth.
“Follow me,” Jesus told
him, and Levi got up and
followed him.
Then Jesus went out
to the lakeshore again
and taught the crowds
that gathered around him.
As he walked along, he
saw Levi son of Alphaeus
sitting at his tax collection
booth. “Come, be my
disciple,” Jesus said to
him. So Levi got up and
followed him.
When Jesus called Matthew (also called Levi) to be one of his disciples, Matthew got up
and followed, leaving behind a lucrative career. Sometimes the decision to follow Christ
requires difficult or painful choices. Like Matthew, we must decide to leave behind those
3 L E S S O N 1
things that would keep us from following Christ. The next time you hear God calling you to
follow him, do it with as much abandon as Matthew.
7. What would be hard for you to leave or give up if Jesus asked
8. What does this tell you about your priorities?
9. Why does Jesus sometimes ask us to give up something that is
dear to us?
10. What priorities do you need to change in order to be willing to
give up anything Christ asks of you?
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1 Peter 4:3-5
For the time past of our
life may suffice us to have
wrought the will of the
Gentiles, when we walked
in lasciviousness, lusts,
excess of wine, revellings,
banquetings, and abominable
idolatries: Wherein
they think it strange that
ye run not with them to
the same excess of riot,
speaking evil of you: Who
shall give account to him
that is ready to judge the
quick and the dead.
For you have spent
enough time in the past
doing what the pagans
choose to do—living in
debauchery, lust, drunkenness,
orgies, carousing
and detestable idolatry.
They think it strange that
you do not plunge with
them into the same flood
of dissipation, and they
heap abuse on you. But
they will have to give
account to him who is
ready to judge the living
and the dead.
You have had enough in
the past of the evil things
that godless people
enjoy—their immorality
and lust, their feasting
and drunkenness and wild
parties, and their terrible
worship of idols.
Of course, your
former friends are very
surprised when you no
longer join them in the
wicked things they do,
and they say evil things
about you. But just
remember that they will
have to face God, who
will judge everyone,
both the living and
the dead.
Peter explains to us that a person whose life changes radically at conversion may experience contempt
or even abuse from old friends. This is because a person who accepts Christ changes his or
her priorities and heads in a new direction. A person’s change in priorities will ultimately lead to a
change in his or her lifestyle, which will make non-Christian friends feel guilty about their activities.
If this happened to you because of your conversion, keep in mind that every person will eventually
face God’s judgment. Endure your non-Christian friends’ criticism and stay faithful to your convictions,
knowing that you will receive God’s approval and acceptance on Judgment Day.
11. How did your priorities change when you accepted Christ?
12. What effect did your conversion have on your non-Christian friends?
5 L E S S O N 1
13. How do an eternal perspective and Christlike priorities help you
deal with negative peer pressure now?
14. With which worldly priorities do you continue to struggle?
As Christians, we need to establish our priorities using God’s wisdom.
We can find his wisdom in Scripture and through persistent
prayer. At times Christ may even call us to reorder or reconstruct our
priorities. When we do this, the world will hate us. But God assures us
that the eternal reward for obeying him will far outweigh the immediate
benefits of following the crowd.
15. What steps could you take this week to begin to evaluate your priorities?
Read 1 Kings 11:1-6.
Although Solomon had clear instructions from God not to marry women from foreign nations,
he chose to disregard God’s commands. He married not just one but numerous foreign
women, who subsequently led him away from God. Solomon’s example serves as a warning
of what can happen to us when we place our own desires and relationships with others above
our relationship with and obedience to God. Compromising with the world is never worth the
consequences. Learn from Solomon’s mistake, and obey God wholeheartedly.
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16. How can our desire for acceptance lead us to compromise our godly
17. When is it most difficult for you to stand up for your beliefs?
18. How can you strengthen your resolve to stand against peer pressure?
Read 2 Chronicles 1:1-12.
Solomon could have had anything, but he asked for wisdom to rule the nation. Because God
approved of the way Solomon ordered his priorities, he gave Solomon wealth, riches, and honor
as well. Jesus also spoke about priorities. He said that when we put God first, everything we really
need will be given to us (Matthew 6:33). This does not guarantee that we will be wealthy and
famous like Solomon, but it means that when we put God first, the wisdom he gives will enable
us to have richly rewarding lives.
19. When have you done the right thing when you could have done
something more personally beneficial?
20. How does having the right priorities make it easier for us to make
good decisions?
21. What priorities do you need to adjust or get rid of in order to make
good decisions?
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Read Luke 23:13-25.
When the stakes are high, it is difficult to stand up for what is right. Had Pilate been a man of
real courage, he would have released Jesus regardless of the consequences. But the crowd
roared, and Pilate buckled. We are like Pilate when we know what is right but decide not to do
it. When you have a difficult decision to make, realize that the right decision may have unpleasant
consequences: social rejection, career derailment, and public ridicule. Then think of Pilate,
and resolve to stand up for what is right no matter what other people pressure you to do.
22. What are some of the consequences of standing up for what is right?
23. How can you renew your resolve to stand up for what is right, no
matter what the cost?
Read Romans 12:2.
Paul calls Christians to resist the temptation to conform to the world around them. Many Christians
wisely decide that worldly behavior is off-limits for them. Our refusal to conform to the
world’s values, however, must go even deeper than the level of actions—it must be firmly
planted in our minds. Only when the Holy Spirit renews, reeducates, and redirects our attitudes
and priorities will we be truly transformed.
24. What are the pressures that tempt us to conform to this world?
25. According to this passage, how can we know God’s priorities?
26. What steps could you take to begin to eliminate habits that conform
you to the world?
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