A time to tinker, and a time to decide

 Kevin DeYoung, in his book “JUST DO SOMETHING”, uses a great metaphor in the first chapter – he talks about the classic construction game called “Tinker Toys” – a familiar toy enjoyed by many generations.  (OK, I too was a “tinkerer” with this game.  There…I am telling my age!) This was the early iteration of that other popular toy with interlocking parts!

DeYoung makes the case that we should not tinker away our lives into adulthood.  These construction games were intended to point youthful, inquisitive minds toward imaginative thinking, problem solving, and connecting with reality.  Sadly, many young adults are entering their thirties and are still…well, “tinkering.”  Ofttimes, they choose to continue doing what is comfortable out of their fear of making a bad decision.  

I’ve come to see that making NO decision is in itself “making a decision”…just not a good one!  

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In an effort to offer suggestions for making good decisions, let me introduce another author to you…who once offered five succinct steps to take in discerning God’s will in decision making.  Now, this author was long gone before the first Tinker Toy was ever produced.  His name was John Flavell, and he was one of the great Puritan writers. 

These 5 simple phrases shape some succinct thoughts that can help you determine God’s will in any decision.  Here are the phrases, and my editorial on each:

  1. Fear of God – many people withhold making a decision for fear of hurting other people – yet they often don’t consider the opinion of God.  The Bible says that the “fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”.  A good healthy dose of fear for the Almighty is a good starting place for sober decision-making.  Not a morbid fear of God – but a combination of respect for our kind God and an appropriate sense of awe at His holiness.

  2. Study the Word more – a good rule of thumb is taking 10 glances toward God and His Word for every single look at our choices.  One friend of mine once referred to his daily Bible reading as much-needed “face time before the Lord.”

  3. Practice – doing.  We all have a great need to “reduce what we know into practice.” Turn head knowledge into heart knowledge, and be a doer of the word, not a hearer only.

  4. Pray for illumination.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind. Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would lead them and guide them into all truth.  Involve the Spirit daily.  Trust Him.  He is faithful.

  5. Follow providence – good decisions for the future are often predicated on a sober evaluation of what God has already done – in the present.

About the Author

Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers.  In Gainesville, Mike is heard on WTMN – 96.3 FM / 1430 AM. In Ocala, on WRZN – 103.5 FM / 720 AM. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader.  As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.

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