Sunday 10 January 2016

Passionate Decision-Making: Developing the DMTP

Third post of the 'Passion Fruit Series' trilogy! This post will be about making decisions, which I feel has been a big headache for me, as a 20-something year old and also as a young (in terms of age) Christian. Many decisions to be made, on hindsight, are no big deal, but everyone can say only that after it's past after all. In our lives, we want to make decisions that honor God and draw us closer to Him. Specifically during 20-30 years old, in our transition to full adulthood, we have to make many decisions e.g. education, work, romance, finance, family. Many times, we are forced to make them with insufficient information, time, energy etc. Therefore, it is very important that we have an effective Decision-Making Thought Process (DMTP for sure), such that even amidst the lack of resources listed above, we are still able to consciously and joyfully make God-honoring decisions.

Same Page as God's Mind
Before I proceed, I make a disclaimer that having our own DMTP is not in conflict with directly asking God for His decision/will/command. Instead, it complement. Let me illustrate: For university students, let's say we want to discuss the recent haze issue and its environmental impact. When discussing with someone who studies the course as you - environmental engineering, for example, there are much more common exposure, vocabularies and thought processes. Even with opposing viewpoints, a more holistic consensus can be reached faster since there is no need to explain things from scratch,. Thus more time and effort can be spent on discussing the impact and solution for the issues. On the other hand, talking to business students who are unfamiliar with the toxins within the haze would require additional time to be spent on explaining key terms, prior to discussion. And even then, they may not fully appreciate one another's viewpoint due to their differing concerns and emphasis in the haze issue. Likewise with God. Having an effective DMTP is allows us understand, connect with and obey God more easily (we more easily appreciate His reasoning and are thus more convicted to obey) and also faster (perhaps all we need is a go-ahead, and not how to go about doing it).

Why is Decision-Making So Important

Decisions are the great melting pot of all of our being - what we:
  • Know - the understanding of God, His character and His Word
  • Feel -  our personal relationship with God: intimacy, emotional connection and dependence. And our convictions
  • Have - our gifting, environment and resources e.g. relationships we have, network, responsibilities
Decisions act as both a test and also an identification mechanism for ourselves: it tests whether we are true disciples of Christ. At the same time it can also be said that only true disciples of Christ would make decisions the way we do. Decisions made with God in mind are, in my opinion, an expression of our love and desire for God and His Kingdom on earth. On the other hand, decisions made while paying God no mind, ignoring His interests, would naturally be seen as snubbing Him. And as Christians we all know that we don't want to snub/ignore God in our lives. But unfortunately, we still do so time to time, whether intentionally or not. Therefore, having an effective DMTP will be very useful in avoiding and reducing such scenarios.

The second reason that makes decision-making such a crucial part of our relationship with God is that some decisions will have large, long-term consequences, regardless of whether we are aware or unaware of these consequences. Some consequence are reversible, but some are not. Examples that come to mind:
  • King Saul - whose lineage were dethroned because of his disobedience to God. 
  • King David - whose murder of Uriah made his name associated with the sin of lust and idleness for the rest of history on earth. 
  • King Jesus - whose obedience to God on the cross made the way for all mankind. 
And many other biblical characters' whose actions change history permanently, whether for better or for worse. Furthermore, poor decisions not only affect people tangibly, but may also leave emotional scars and trauma. Regrets, broken trust, disappointments, insecurities and much more. These are not easily redeemed, and is really really painful in the meantime, often crippling the person and those around them.

Developing an Effective DMTP

My purpose in encouraging you to develop an effective DMTP is expressed in this letter of Paul to the Colossians:
Colossians 1:9b - 12 NIV - We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 
An effective DMTP is developed by 1) taking on God's lens and 2) building and expanding the metrics and considerations within it. It is an ENDLESS process, because our perspective and considerations can be expanded more and more as we become more exposed to the truths of the Kingdom of God. However, even with the BEST decision-making thought process, we will still make wrong decisions at times, because we are mere mortals after all. But, a more effective DMTP will generally result in better decisions and reduce the number of terrible decisions.

Taking on God's lens, Dropping our scales

Acts 9 talks about the story of Paul (Saul), a very passionate and outspoken Christian in his era and who wrote a large part of the New Testament. But he was originally an equally enthusiastic persecutor of Christians (v2 and v13). However, God changed his lens which he used to view the world. In v5-8, Paul was blinded for a few days and then in v18, "something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again." Immediately afterwards, he began preaching powerfully about the gospel which he was previously persecuting vehemently (v20-22). This is a simple and straightforward story, but yet carries a powerful message: through whose eyes are we seeing the world and making our decisions? Paul is an amazing Jew, starting his rabbinic education of the Old Testament at the age of 5 years old (via cross-referencing from the traditions of that era). He also had Gamaliel I for his teacher (Acts 22:3), one of the most notable rabbi in the 1st century AD. Paul also had excellent Jewish roots and upbringing; a Hebrew of Hebrews from the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5). Despite his upbringing and status as a Jew, the chosen people of God, before he started on the mission as the chosen instrument of God to spread the gospel, the very first thing that God did with him was to change his lens. And after that, along with baptism and a few days of orientation with the rest of the disciples, he was ready to go, and powerfully so. As Christians, unlike Paul, we don't have an almost perfect knowledge of the Word of God, our training in the Word is by far less complete than him. But from this story, what we can certainly observe is that any amount of knowledge is only useful with the change in perspective; with God's lens and a removal of our scales. 

Looking things from God's lens (or having the perspective of heaven) is a common sermon. For almost all of us today, maybe even Paul himself then, not the entire scale have fallen out of our eyes yet. Some more, some less. Regardless, what is key here is that we are aware that there are scales in our eyes, and that it needs to come out, and that whatever we see now is distorted by the scales. Why does the Bible use the imagery of scales in this passage? Why did God not just instantly change Paul's perspective in his mind and instead specifically do a physical, outward transformation? After all, Jesus' disciples had no such description of an experience of a physical transformation. My thoughts are that God wants to draw a clear line, not just for Paul but for everyone else, that there is indeed a before and after, that there is indeed something in our eyes that prevent us from seeing what is truly there and important. Jesus addressed this spiritual blindness in Matthew 13, when His disciples asked Him why He spoke in parables. "Though seeing, they do not see; ...you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused...  and they have closed their eyes.....But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear." Our eyes and ears as Christians can see and hear God, but probably not perfectly; else the lapses of disobedience, self-interest and sin won't happen. So acknowledge it, and work towards removing more and more of these scales.

God's Lens
Even if we are for God and want to serve Him, we must still do it through His lens and ways. Else we may become like Martha (Luke 10:38-42), and miss out on God's personal friendship, presence, and teachings, all of which Mary just by being there. If both of them were doing the 'preparation' work, I personally wonder whether Jesus would have called them over on His own instead. I feel that in this case, Jesus was using a life moment to impress upon Martha (and everyone else) what's best and truly important: the kingdom of God; to seek God and have a personal relationship with Him, and preparation/social customs (of preparing food), good as they are, must not result in us missing out on God. To have God's lens is to see and know what God is ultimately concerned about in every setting. (To know more about this, do read the post 'The Will of God', where I describe in long details of what God's purpose is.)

God's Lens and Ours
But the truth is that its impossible to completely ignore our own "lens" which arises from our own experience, such as our family background; national culture; church traditions; school recommendations - what 'people/society' say. This is fine and good, as after all our relationship with God is also a "partnership" - (Philippians 1:5). Unlike scales, these 'lens' can help us to see things in a new way. However, we must realize how to use these lens and be able to remove them when we need to: when they instead distort what God wants us to see, else they will simply end up becoming 'scales' for these situation. I think God's lens is an optimal/ideal combination of all lens that exist in the world. I make this conclusion based on realizing how our existing upbringing and environment causes us to see an aspect of God more clearly than others: in times of peace, we see God as the upholder of justice and the One who provides. In countries with strife, we may see God as the Deliverer and the Almighty. But it is the same God, and only by talking to others who experience what we do not can we truly see God for who He really is. Thus for us Christians, to eventually possess God's lens, we have to work towards developing more lens and finally having the holistic viewpoint of God. What I list below is mainly from what I gather in terms of my friends in university - different vocation emphasizes different main thought process - as well as my own experiences in university. Try to add unto your current DMPT which lens below that you do not already possess. 

This is my own lens as I study business in university: making decisions become a simple addition and subtraction based on benefits. Most of us are also familiar with it as we very often use it - buying things; choosing part-time jobs; deciding to study in school or at home after waking up late; how much effort to put in for particular projects/assignments and many more. The Bible mentions, on many occasions, this cost-benefit concept:
  • Philippians 3:7-8 NIV - But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
  • Mark 8:36-37 NIV - For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 
  • Luke 12: 33 NIV - Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys
  • Luke 14:28 NIV - Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?
This lens is really straightforward, but it's main flaw is that we ONLY see things from this perspective because it's so simple. If we are not careful, we may forget about loving; forget about grace; forget about justice and become incomparably selfish and ruthless. Another major flaw is that, unlike God, we may not always have an accurate grasp of the actual cost and benefit for our actions, unintentionally overvaluing or undervaluing them. We may also overlook any externalities (additional impact on others) on our community and its unity, authority and values. Thus it is highly inadvisable to use this cost-benefit lens in our DMTP in isolation.

At all Cost or Benefits
As an extension, there are also some decisions which should be (or should not be) made at all costs (or at all benefits). Decisions like following Jesus, honoring God have immediate huge and substantial cost and at the same time, we don't even know what are the exact 'benefits'. These benefits are abstractly labelled as 'treasure in heaven' or 'abundant life' and may not be very appealing to some of us. If this is you, then I encourage you to take such opportunities to build your trust in God, who not only loves you very much, but who is also not poor enough to shortchange you. In fact, He is the Great Investor, who multiplies our effort and produce "many seeds" from a kernel of wheat that dies (John 12:24). 

Present and/or Future
One major thing I inserted into my DMTP in university is to also consider the future together with the present. Previously, at the start of each each summer holiday, I will think of how to spend the holiday. At the end of it, I'll think about what modules to take in the coming semester, and then life goes on. In contrast, many of my course mates would think further ahead: what internship to take half a year later; where to go for exchange programmes a year later; how many internship to take in the entire 4 years. I recall in 2015 May-Aug, my friends asked me if what I'll be doing during the holiday. My answer was: "I don't find things to do, things find me to do." Sure enough, I got really busy, with random and yet fruitful things. But over this semester, as I think more about my future; as I lead my the Christian fellowship in school; as some of my close friends in school graduate and also as God surfaced His long-term purpose for me, I began to think of future and the decisions I have to make. Where shall I work? How should I spend my last year in university? When should I take a long-term sabbatical from ministry? I started to become more sensitive about the long-term, future consequences of any decision I made or will make. I guess this is part of growing up: we need to make decisions about the future - and commit to it.

The Reverse: Living in the Present
However, I believe the reverse is required as well. When I first entered university, I have a friend who is really smart, high-achieving and ambitious. On top of her excellent studies, she has a boyfriend, had several tuition assignments at the same time, and also lived on campus. In our first semester, she started to plan for her exchange programme. In contrast to me, who only cares about the next 2 weeks, this person cares almost entirely about the next 2 years. I used to think she is crazy, until I started became more future-oriented in my DMTP. However, now I am also certain that she is 'living in the future'. Just as the future is important, we need the 'present' to get there. If we set all our sights on the future, the present is missed - and we miss God, who is in our lives 'today'. Then, we may unintentionally end up 'worrying about tomorrow' (Matthew 6:34). We stop training our trust and assurance in God who will provide for 'tomorrow' and miss out on His specific will for us currently: the people and environment, which God desires us to be involved in and influence. Our decisions cannot be always about the future, because after we reach the future we had in mind, we will again look to the future. It's never-ending, and we become dependent almost entirely on our ability to count costs, benefits and also our limited expectations of the future. The Bible has this to say: 
James 4:13-16 NIV - Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
While thinking like an 'adult', we must never forget that we also have to remain childlike, trusting God for the next breathe and be available for the present. Ultimately, it is about the weightage given to the future and present. Different decisions will require different weightage to be given to either the future and present; we have to practise and grow in our discernment of which is more important in making a specific decision.

Along the way as I serve God and study in university, whether in school project groups or in Christian settings, the importance of unity becomes more apparent and vital in my DMTP. Initially, I used to have a more task-oriented mindset. The decisions I make, whether in my Christian community or academic project group settings, would be based on what is best for achieving the purpose of these social settings. When others say/do things which I think is not helpful in achieving the purpose, I would be quick to disagree/comment. After some time, I might even choose to do everything by myself, regardless of their response/lack of response. Ultimately, I got over-strained and felt upset/lonely at the lack of support (which is often something I brought upon myself). However, this mindset changed during a Bible study camp in 2014. I was attending a workshop on 'Denominations of the Christian faith'. After the workshop, I felt that the internal strife of the believers that resulted in the different denominations are due to rigid/unnecessary clinging to traditions and arguments in theology. Somehow, I started to grow resentful of second generation Christians and thought of them as burdens in the body of Christ. But immediately after I thought of that, God rebuked me and said: "How could you judge your brothers and sisters like that?" That sobered me up, and made me realize that regardless of their 'ineffectiveness' (from my point of view), it doesn't change the fact that they are still one body and family with me. There is neither logic nor moral high ground for me to judge them. The Bible says: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:4-6 NIV). Since then, the unity of the community/any social group became a very important decision point for me - if my decision affects unity, I would think twice about it very much. Without unity, nobody can go far or do much and sustain it for a long time. 

Getting more 'Right'
The next addition to my DMTP is - how can I make decisions based on more of the Word? A more 'right' decision. What is right and wrong is pretty clearly written in the Word of God. Initially, I always use the cost-benefit model to make my decisions, but eventually I realized that there are some inconsistencies, based on the Word. An example is using our parent's office materials for printing or taking paper from there for our own usage (obviously without the management's consent), Is it okay for us to do so even if everybody has also been doing that? Even if the benefits dwarf the costs, does it mean we should? Even if the answer is no, we often compromise when inconveniences arise. But wrong is wrong, and right is right. Some aspects of the final decision may be of minor consequence with respect to its effect on the entire decision, but regardless, these seemingly 'minor' things are instead a test of our integrity and obedience to God's standard. Thus, what we should do is to look for what the Bible says. In the above example, I used Philippians 2:4 "not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." I decided to not use paper which do not belong to me in my final decision. It is therefore is more 'right' (based on God's standards), than previously. 

Another example of how we can be more 'right' is in terms of how we to interact with people as we make decisions with/involving them, especially those 'under' us - subordinates, domestic helpers, younger siblings, children. We can treat them as everybody would and 'lord it over them' (1 Peter 5:3), or we can be more 'right' and 'let our conversations always be full of grace' (Colossians 4:6). Ultimately the point is that as we continually grow as Christians, our DMTP must reflect more and more of our knowledge and obedience to the Word.

Treating Others Who Does What is Wrong in Your Eyes
Treat them as you would yourself. Before you discovered that there was something wrong in your actions and decisions, how do you want people to treat you? Not with condemnation, but gently, lovingly and with the understanding that you do not see it the way they do. Let them show you where they are coming from: either through the Word or their personal experience (success/mistakes) or from what God told them directly. And then you go digest, ask God, let them know what you're thinking and clarify whatever needs to be clarified and then finally make a more informed decision.
Author's notes: I wrote 'wrong from your eyes' because it could be our misinterpretation of the Word, or we only think it is wrong because we do not know the details or the full picture.

Application and/or Knowledge 
This is a recent addition to my DMTP in the this semester. As someone who studies business, well-versed in the cost-benefit metric, I naturally value practical application much more than pure knowledge. Also, James 1:22-25 NIV - "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says..." further convince me of that. Business school modules are application based and are almost universally useful, whether in CCA, church, family, talking/ministering to people, managing resources etc. This semester, I took the first Arts and Social Sciences module in my life, which is very different from business modules. Sociology is not about only about application, but also about knowing, understanding and appreciating. Its application is more often used used in a macro-setting, by governments and large organizations to shape society and by extension individual members, but much harder to apply in everyday life. After taking the module, I then begin to question the importance of knowledge with little application potential (back to my cost-benefit roots). But now as I reflect, when I read the Bible and go through parts like Revelations (which consists of lots of symbolism, often for additional dramatic effect) over my recent bible study camp, I realize that knowledge itself leads to appreciation, which is not necessarily useful, but necessary for us to understand God better. Just like knowing more things about the people we love and care about need not necessarily change the way we treat the person, but it is still important to us. Likewise, knowing how good God is may or may not lead us to change the way we treat God, but it is still important in our desire to be closer to God. Therefore, with the insertion of 'knowledge without application is also desirable at times' in our DMTP, we can learn to make decisions that may not yield 'edible fruits', but is also good for our lives.

As I get better at doing the things I have been doing in university, I realize that experimentation is crucial for further progress in effectiveness. Of course, sometimes the tried and tested way is the best, but not all the time. Some less seen and more complex situations require tailored-made solutions, and thus we must be expanding our methods/understandings such that we are ready to make decisions in face of such situations. For example, I need to make decisions about how to mentor my mentee and the people entrusted to me. Of course, there is the usual way of giving them teachings from the Bible, checking on their walk with God and also praying for them. All these are tried-and-tested effective ways to grow people. However, along the way I realize that the people I take care of are all different. Some more willing to submit, some less. Some more enthusiastic about growing, some not. Some will take more initiative, some don't. Some prefer more hands-on learning, some less. And the list goes on. Thus I often have to think of new methods to fit a particular person's preferences and dislikes - this started from going street evangelizing with them, then getting them to write blogs based on teachings I gave, then giving them hands-on practice on taking care of people, then getting them to teach me, and more recently, to learn self-control by controlling their unconscious bodily actions while talking. In your own context, this experimentation can take many other forms: planning and running programs; a more efficient way of collecting information; planning celebrations etc. But I encourage you to consider experimentation - because God Himself is a creative God: He made us all different, and creation itself speaks of the extent of His creativity. And I lastly, isn't it a little dry/boring to the same things over and over again? Ultimately, the paths less traveled yield rewards that are less common!

Emotions and Logic
This is the most recent thing that I built into my DMTP. For most of us, we would think that we shouldn't make decisions with our emotions, especially for important decisions. I would only partially agree. In the Story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15 NIV), in v20: "But while he (the prodigal son) was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." This story is often used to show how much God loves us, because this is the only recorded instance in the Bible of God actually running, and important people don't usually run towards others. The decision to run was made, in this story, by a father's overflowing love and gladness for his son. It was probably difficult for the rich man, wearing all his expensive garment and against the cultural norms of treating one's children (what more a failure of a son), to make such a decision - but his emotions got the better of him and he ran. Wouldn't the story be less touching if he actually calculated and logically think of whether he should run - maybe that'll save him about 10 seconds more from reaching his son? Sometimes, emotions are also important factors for us in making decisions. I'm not writing this to say that we should always act on what we feel, but to uncover the myth that our emotions cannot help us to make better decisions, and that there are times also when emotions are sufficient to make decisions (though not so common).

Deciding in Tandem
Some people argue that deciding with the heart is dangerous because "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV). But I put this verse before them as well: 2 Corinthians 11:3 NIV - "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ". Our minds, just like our hearts, are not perfect vessels for making decisions. That's why I personally feel we should employ both, such that when one fails, the other can cover for it and alert you to reconsider. However, I do agree that for most decisions, logic is mostly enough (and on its own, also more dependable than our emotions) to make good decisions. Regardless, I still think that it is useful to be able to 1) insert emotions into our DMTP and 2) discern, know and when not depend on emotions in our DMTP. If at the moment you make a lot of decisions based a large part on emotions, then develop self-control, and you'll be like Abraham who was able to obey God even in extreme circumstance, being called the 'Friend' of God and became a father of all nations. If now all your decisions are devoid of emotions or that you think it's bad to insert emotions, then see how you can exhibit the character of God in His love, and be able to 'run' as well.

As you add on more and more consideration points/metrics into your DMTP, you will realize that they make your decisions more and more complicated, but also more holistic at the same time. This happens as the different metrics combine and overlap into a matrix. For most of us, we do not consciously think about these metrics (as I have listed above) because they are in a way 'intuitive' to us, and as we grow older and grow in God, we naturally would start to include them in our decision-making, whether consciously or not. However, my point is that we want to be intentionally growing in our DMTP because we want to make the most ideal and informed decisions as young as we can. If you could repeat the same decisions you made when you're in primary school or secondary school with the considerations that you have now, would you make the same decision? Maybe yes, maybe no. But surely there are some decisions you had made poorly due to not knowing or not appreciating a certain decision consideration points before - which explains the urgency for continually building a better DMTP! It may feel foreign or forced at the start, but eventually the benefits will be worth it. This is the same logic as any other thing we do and invest in with God in mind!

Final Comments

Rights or Privileges
Sometimes when we make a decision to get something, we may make that decision thinking that we are are 'entitled to it'. This entitlement often stems from 'everybody having it' and thus 'not fair if I don't have.' This can be many things: overseas trips (exchange and holidays), jobs (research assistant, interns, high-paying jobs), romantic partners, particular talents, a smooth-sailing life with no struggles or pain etc. When I asked people about what if they cannot have/get these, the reply I often get is: "but everybody have it", "only if God says no", "nah, isn't it normal to have". The sense of disbelief from their reply leads me to conclude they have not surrendered their desires unto God, and that they are making these decisions as their 'rights' to get what they want. And when they don't get them, they will feel like God shortchanged them, thus distancing themselves from God or blaming Him or 'try harder'. But what we must remember is that everything we have is a privilege given by God, and we should make decisions 'requesting' God, not 'demanding' God. We have no rights before God after all. And when we find it difficult to accept that we cannot have 'what everyone has', we must remember that the self-sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross is the hallmark of a Christian. We need not be enthusiastic or ecstatic about sacrificing ourselves, our interests or desires, but we must be willing to submit ourselves to God. Not just our time, resources and talents, but also our future, enjoyments, privileges and rights as well. We have to trust that God desires to bless and give us, and that He is ultimately more interested in the submission and obedience, not sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). 

Committing to Our Decisions
Having continuously building our DMTP and using it to make decisions, all this eventually only impacts our lives if we can follow through and commit to our decisions. Jesus tells us to "let our 'yes' be 'yes' and our 'no' be 'no'" (Matthew 5:37 NKJV). Whatever we have decided, we have to follow through, else what is the point of thinking so much? There are many people I know who backed out of their decisions at the last minute, saying: "I have no peace," or "I have some other last minute plans." I do not deny that both are valid reasons at times, and at times in between the time period where the decision was made and carried out, some new information may have surfaced, or circumstances change. But the question that is truly important is: "Are we committed people - able to commit to what we have decide to commit to?" Or are we weak-willed 'infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming?' (Ephesians 4:14 NIV) Or are we self-interested people who only care about what is beneficial and convenient for us? We have to stand firm on the decisions we made, lest we become undependable people whom God cannot entrust anything to. 


The above is the things that I have built into my DMTP. They are the fruit of a continuous process of learning, from successes and mistakes, from my own and others. If you haven't been actively building your DMTP, I suggest you slowly start bit by bit, in steps, from points you're most convicted. Having a more holistic, wide-ranging perspective will result in a DMTP that is more than a sum of its parts. You'll discover that not only will your decisions become much more effective and comprehensive, but that you as a person also become very insightful and are able to discern God's perspective and purposes in things that happen in your life and those around you - because your DMTP is like God's; you're taking on His lens. 
1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV - “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Matthew 22:36-38 NIV (emphasis mine) - “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment."
Making decisions are ultimately hard because we do not understand God well and do not know what He wants. I pray that you will build your DMTP as you build your life, with eternity in mind and to be more like Christ. 

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