Few years ago, I was saddled with the responsibility of deciding the word that would be inscribed on my 18th year old birthday cake and a friend suggested the word “Legal.” The word resonated with me deeply because of its significance. In my part of the world, according to Nigerian constitution 18 is the age at which a person may legally engage in a certain activity. This is the age of majority (also known as the “age of maturity”), the threshold of adulthood as recognized in law. It is the age of criminal responsibility which means you are solely responsible for your decisions. I thought of what this new phase would hold for me and how whatever decisions I choose to make would influence the direction of my life. And as always the Bible has something to say about being “Legal.”
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
I Corinthians 6:12-13 NKJV
This verse of the Bible made me to understand that although at this age, certain things that at previous times weren’t legal for me are now legal, but this doesn’t make them helpful.
Legal is not always the same as helpful.
Which means I have to be able to differentiate between the things that are helpful and those that are harmful, and this calls for wisdom.
“My son, pay attention to my words and be willing to learn; Open your ears to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; Keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, And healing and health to all their flesh. Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful (lying, misleading) mouth, And put devious lips far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. Consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet, And all your ways will be steadfast and sure. Do not turn away to the right nor to the left [where evil may lurk]; Turn your foot from [the path of] evil.”
PROVERBS 4:20-27 AMP
In case, you didn’t take your time to read the above scripture you will do well to read it again and think about it’s meaning.
Every decision you have to make in life will require that you are wise. And the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10a). The word of God hid in your heart will help you to fear Him and make wise decisions daily. This is why it is important that you spend time with God in His word and in prayer. When you do this your life will bear the rare and beautiful marks of wisdom.
Let’s consider the steps of wisdom.
1. Pause: When it comes to making decisions, try to keep a clear eye on the potential consequences- good or bad, favourable or detrimental- of the choices you must (or might be tempted to) make. This will help you to distance yourself from the emotions involved in the decisions you must make. It will also help you to check your heart. Learn to wait and don’t rush into things.
2. Pray: The first step which is to pause will help you to buy time for prayer. Time in prayer will help you to gain wisdom from God(James 1:5), to wait on the Lord (Isaiah 40:31) and to make peace with what God’s good, acceptable and perfect will is concerning your situation(Phil 4:6-7).
3. Search the scriptures: Often times God leads us through His word. Expect Him to bring specific scriptures to your heart as you acknowledge Him to direct your path (Prov 3:5-6).
4. Ask for wise counsel: No matter what your age is, It’s important that you have an accountability partner. Preferably someone that is older, wiser and godly. Remember, where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counsel there is safety (Prov 11:14).
5. Make a decision: when you’ve gotten a go ahead in your spirit, move ahead in faith. Don’t let the fear of making the wrong decision keep you from doing the things you know God wants you to do.
Lastly, keep in mind the words of Apostle Paul to young Timothy:
Let no one look down on [you because of] your youth, but be an example and set a pattern for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in [moral] purity.
1 TIMOTHY 4:12 AMP
-At what age did you start seeing yourself as an adult?
-What is your decision making process?