Principle-Centered Decision Making: Zeal Plus Knowledge

Posted by Tony Pierson on

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge. – Proverbs 19:2 NIV

When making decisions, if a decision runs counter to a higher order principle or conviction, then (without taking an intentional, short-term detour) one should be quite hesitant to head in that direction.

But let’s think about exceptions. Earlier in life, learning and growing should be a higher order principle than later in life. As we start out on our journey, we have so much to learn about life, people, and even ourselves. Later in life, we should be as productive as possible while we still have the chance. As an example, you might chose to become a physician in order to be a healer during the bulk of your life. The years of education and residency will obviously reduce time in ministry, in relationships and with family, but it might allow for a higher order principle in the long run.

Another such example might be the sacrifices parents make to raise and guide their children. Sometimes this can take a toll on marriages and ministries because of exhaustion or lack of time. I would still recommend being very careful about putting children ahead of a spouse. Understand that special needs or special circumstances can make that impossible sometimes, and you don’t always get forewarning about that!

But shouldn’t I be happy? Personal enjoyment is my lowest order principle for a very important reason: Many of my lifetime goals take hard, sacrificial work to accomplish. If I gave up every time my temporary personal enjoyment was impinged upon, I would never reach my goals. Further, I have found that if I am glorifying God, involved in building His Kingdom, strengthening my marriage, loving my family and supporting my friends, I am pretty happy and joy-filled. The reason this works is because Biblical Christianity is a selfless, others-centric lifestyle for which we were originally created! Such a life brings maximum satisfaction.

Submitted by:
Tony Pierson
Blacksburg Ablaze
Blacksburg, Virginia

One-Year Bible Reading
Isaiah 10:1-11:16
2 Corinthians 12;11-21
Psalm 56:1-13
Proverbs 23:6-8

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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are from the Holy, Bible, New International Version, copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society; (KJV) are from the Authorized or King James Version of the Bible; (LB) are from The Living Bible © 1971 by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL; (TM) are from The Message © 1993 by NavPress Publishers; (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publisher, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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