How do we teach the ones closest to us to make wise choices? Think about the two best choices you have ever made. The kind of choices that affected where you’re at in life right now, like the crucial choice that you made about your response to God and His offer through Christ.
Now, think about one choice you’ve made that you wish you could take back. It could be a choice that cost you a lot of money or a relationship, or in just a quick moment of time it promised a lot of pleasure but delivered a lot of pain.
In reflecting on that choice, right now some of you might be thinking, “That was dumb. In fact, that was worse than dumb. That was biblically unwise. That choice cost me a lot.
Choices matter, don’t they?
In fact, few things will determine the quality and the fulfillment of our life more than the choices we make – for better or for worse.
I have heard someone say that when you boil it all down, you will probably make a half a dozen very major, important choices about God, about your future, about money, and about relationships that will determine all of your life.
So when you think about that person you want to help grow spiritually, whether it’s a child of yours, a grandchild, or someone you’re mentoring in your church, one of the greatest gifts you could ever give to them is the skill and ability to make wise choices.
So, how do you teach the ones you love the most to make wise choices?
First, encourage them to saturate their mind with truth.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5)
The average Christian does not spend personal time in God’s Word and therefore is powerless to break the bonds of sin. As a result many of us are duped and seduced because we’re not armed with the truth.
Second, encourage them to hang out regularly with wise, godly people.
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
Someone wise once said, “You show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.”
Think about the people you are investing in. If you’re in the position where you can supervise their time and activities, then place limits on where and with whom they’re spending their time. This is especially true if you’re a parent.
Third, model for them how to ask God for discernment and wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
It’s really important that you don’t become “The Answer Man” or “The Answer Woman.” Instead, model this passage from James. When you don’t have the answer, say, “You know what, let’s ask God.”
Wisdom is doing life God’s way, according to His design. We just need to ask. And He promises to always show us what to do. It might be through a person, through the Scripture, as we pray, or wise counsel.
Finally, teach them to monitor their exposure to the media.
Do not be conformed to this world. (Romans 12:2)
Teach your loved ones to monitor their exposure to the media and not to be conformed to this present world system that I John talks about: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
What we allow to go into our mind is the most important decision we make every day — way more than what goes into our mouth.
This doesn’t mean you don’t ever watch TV, but it might mean asking yourself: “Is this (TV show, magazine article, website, etc.) good, honorable, right, praiseworthy? Does this draw me closer to God or pull me farther away?”
When we commit to living holy lives before God, He is faithful to help us make wise choices and decisions in every area.
If you’d like to explore this topic more in depth, take a look at the following series: Download, Effective Parenting in a Defective World, or House or Home: Parenting Edition.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip